Please help... my 6 year old dog won't stop pooping on the floor!

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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I'm a lover...- not a biter!
Barked: Tue Jun 22, '10 10:45am PST 
Hello Dogsters!

It's been a while since I've been on here, and life has been great... until very recently that is. My 6 year old pittie mix, Blu, has recently started defecating on the floor out of spite. Now I know what you're thinking... how do I know it's spite? Well, he is a VERY intelligent dog and he is absolutely housebroken. I have had him for over 3 years and he has NEVER had a problem holding it for even 8 or 10 hours.

Recently I got a part time job so I've been away from home more often, and I think he has been missing me. It's gotten to the point now where I can leave home for fifteen minutes to run to the store - and when I get back he will have inevitably pooped on the floor. It's some sort of protest to me being gone, I know. I have been extra dilligent with letting him out more often that usual, but it's almost as though he won't poop outside anymore.

I've had himn to the vet and they have told me he is in great health and that no medical ailment could be causing this.

HELP! My roommates are rightfully getting VERY upset and I don't know how to fix this. I don't want to kennel him. Suggestions?

we will dance in- the ring without- words
Barked: Tue Jun 22, '10 10:50am PST 
Google seperation anxiety.

I'm a lover...- not a biter!
Barked: Tue Jun 22, '10 10:52am PST 
Oh, I know that he has separation anxiety, absolutely. I was just wondering if anyone out there had experienced this, or had any suggestions?


we will dance in- the ring without- words
Barked: Tue Jun 22, '10 11:11am PST 
If your dog is eliminating due to SA, it has absolutely nothing to do with spike or getting even. It is stress related.

Think about how you feel when you are anxious. Does your stomach get upset?

I always find it sad when people interprete the symptoms of SA as revenge.

There is a book called I'll Be Home Soon written by Patricia McConnell that may offer some insight. In extreme cases, and this does not sound extreme, Lily offers Prozac under the name of Reconcile to help dogs with SA.

Noise Police
Barked: Wed Jun 23, '10 7:14pm PST 
The best thing I've found is to give Hazel treats that will take awhile to work on. This is usually a stuffed frozen kong or treat dispensing toy. Actually if I give her the frozen kong, she needs another treat that is more of an instant gratification to hold her attention for a few minutes before she settles in to work hard on the kong. The point of the treats is simply to give the dog something to keep them busy long enough that they forget to freak out about your departure. It's honestly just a band-aid for Hazel because after all these months she still hasn't learned to be calm *without* treats. But, it keeps her quiet.

You may also need to work on desensitization. Watch the dog's language as you are doing your morning routine. If he starts getting nervous as you are brushing your teeth, putting on shoes, or picking up keys, then you need to do these tasks frequently while you are home and not intending to leave, so these things are no longer associated with leaving.

If you crate the dog or shut it in a room when you leave, you should practice doing so when you are home. Get the dog comfortable being alone in its designated spot when you are home so that it's not as big a deal when you leave. Also don't let the dog be hyperattached to you when you are home.

I'm A Good Dog,- I Just Do Bad- Things
Barked: Wed Jun 23, '10 8:37pm PST 
Agreed with Asher. Your dog is not being spiteful, he is stressed. Marlo will occasionally poop on the floor but only when I am not home and hubby has taken our other girl for a walk. He's not angry at being left behind, he's stressed, and that sometimes affects the body in very physical ways.

For Marlo I spend a lot of time getting him used to his crate. (Please know that this doesn't mean plunk him in a crate and leave for 8 hours if he's not used to it. Dogs need time to "learn to love" the crate) He ALWAYS gets at least one chewy or treat when we take Becky out...something delicious and longish lasting. I also leave either the TV on for him or the Through A Dog's Ear CD.

Fritz, cats are- fun when they- run
Barked: Thu Jun 24, '10 3:59am PST 
It takes a human being to be spiteful, dogs aren't.

If your dog is that anxious when you leave, give him a kong or other treat/toy to keep him busy and consider crating him. Take Asher's advice and get the book to learn about what is really going on with him.

Only my cover is- scary. Read my- book.
Barked: Thu Jun 24, '10 3:50pm PST 
Defecating 15min's after you leave is separation anxiety, not spite. Your worlds changed, now his has changed as well. ANY change can upset a dog when their routine is altered. They're not sure what to expect in their day anymore. Knowing what to expect everyday keeps a dog calm and feeling safe. Know what I mean?

You may have to crate him while you're gone. SA is a hard one to fix, but there are steps you can try.
Separation Anxiety

Barked: Thu Jun 24, '10 8:11pm PST 
Cooper does this. He can poo outside seconds before I leave and still, within minutes of closing the door behind me he can miraculously come up with more lol. His poo place was the pillows on my bed, lovely right? And they were never his nice little normal nuggets, his tummy would get so fraught with anxiety and he'd get so upset it would be straight up ****** through a screen door consistency. For awhile it drove me mad because I like leaving my boys have free run of the house, even when I'm gone. I thought I was doing them all a favor allowing the free access, but unfortunately it's just too much for my puggy. My solution was to simply crate him when I leave. He obviously feels much safer and more comfortable confined as he never has accidents in there and will lay down happily as I'm walking away instead of racing around all upset as I exit.

I tried offering toys to distract his mind from my absence, as well as desensitizing him by leaving for very short periods of time and trying to up the duration. His threshold despite a ton of work on it is and has always been about 10 minutes. I could never be gone longer than that without a mess.

Just my experience. Not sure it helps if you're not interested in crating but I thought I'd mention it just in case you don't want to go the drug route. I suffer from horrible anxiety so I sympathize with him immensely. Every dog that deals with it is going to find relief in different ways. This is just what worked for Coop, I hope you find a way to help your boy be more comfortable so you don't have to deal with the mess anymore.

I'm a 50-pound- lapdog :)
Barked: Thu Jun 24, '10 10:08pm PST 
It definitely sounds like separation anxiety. My dog had it really bad for the first 6-9 months after we adopted him. There are a number of things that can be done. To start, make sure the floors or carpets are clean from the feces. On carpets, Nature's Miracle is the best cleaner on the market - expensive but very effective. If your dog is urinating use white vinegar with a carpet cleaner. You need to make sure your dog can't smell it anymore. He's more likely to defecate again if he smells previous accidents.

1) Crate him when you're gone - Even with separation anxiety, he won't mess his crate. Of course, that could change if you're gone for extremely long periods of time (10 hours) and he, physically, cannot hold it. Many dogs will actually end up feeling safer inside the crate, during periods of anxiety. If your dog isn't used to a crate, make sure you get him accustomed to it before leaving him alone in it
for a long time. If the crate isn't an option, isolate him to one room like a bathroom.

2) Like others have said, leave out MANY chew toys. A favorite of mine is the Kong which can be filled with treats. Of course, not all dogs will play with them while you're gone, especially if the anxiety is really bad (that's how it was with mine). Regardless, always make them available.

3) Natural calming aids might help - Comfort ZoneĀ® with D.A.P (i.e. diffuser), calming pheromone dog collar, natural calming treats, Bach Rescue Remedy drops. I've tried all these products and the D.A.P. diffuser and pheromone collar have helped the most. Remember, they won't stop the separation anxiety just help it, a little.

4) Anti-anxiety medicine - Go to your vet and see if they can prescibe anti-anxiety medicine. I currently have my dog on "clomicalm" (http://ww.clomicalm.novartis.us/) and it makes a huge difference. I'd ask your vet for an actual anti-anxiety medicine as opposed to a sedativetranquilizer medicine. In the past, sedatives were used for dogs but now, they have actual anxiety medicine. Remember, this must be used with some form of training for it to be truly effective.

5) Training - Find a good dog training school that offers classes in behavior modification. Talk to them before signing up and ask if they offer a class that will help with this issue. If classes aren't possible, do home training - Lots and lots of positive reinforcement training. When you return from work, NEVER EVER scold him for making a mess. Scolding him increases the anxiety. When he pees or poops outside, give him lots of praise, every time and sometimes use treats. This is key and I found it to be extremely effective. There are many good books and online resources that can help you with this.

6) Tire him out before you leave - This is one of the easiest methods. If possible, give him him 15-20 minutes of rigorous exercise before you leave. Throw a ball around or play with him for a little while. My dog trainer always said "A tired dog is a good dog!" and that is definitely accurate.

I'd recommend using a combination of these methods. For my dog, lots of positive reinforcement, crating only when I'm gone and anti-anxiety medication were the most helpful. I did this for many months and eventually he got much better. Now, we don't need the crate and his anxiety medicine has been decreased significantly (maybe 1-2 timesweek tops). I continue with the positive reinforcement which can be used for all aspects of dog training. I still keep the crate out because he likes to sleep in it, sometimes. It's not going to be fixed overnight but if you invest a little extra time now, in the future you will have a well behaved dog and much happier roommates.

Good luck!

Edited by author Thu Jun 24, '10 10:11pm PST

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