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Is Your Adult Dog Forgetting that He Should Go Potty Outside?

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Bolt, Yorkie-Poo guest columnist: I’ve had it!  I have absolutely had it!  My roommate, a five-year-old Wheaten Terrier, has recently begun to poop in the house again.  Sadly, this has encouraged poor behavior on my part.  Even though I am two years old, I now have this feeling that if HE can poop in the house, so can I.  It seems our humans, though, think otherwise.  I know they get upset when they continually have to clean up after us.  We do try to limit it to one area of the house, and we really are sorry when someone steps in it barefooted, unaware we just left our mark there.  Help!  What can we do to break ourselves of this horrible habit before our humans ban us to the basement?

I did some research at, and here is some handy advice if your older dog has begun to “let loose” inside once again:

  • Make sure your pet does not have any health problems that might be contributing to this nasty habit.  Medical problems such as urinary tract infections, prostate problems, neurological incontinence, pain when squatting, intestinal parasites, etc., may cause your pet to poop in the house.
  • Treat the premises to get rid of odors form past accidents, including those that only dogs can smell.  Use a bacterial enzyme odor eliminator, or, if possible, go for a professional cleaning.  You may need to repeatedly use the enzyme product until the odor is fully removed.  Otherwise, the dog’s natural instincts will just irresistably draw him back to the same spot.
  • Figure out where you want your dog to go potty outside and how he is going to get there.  Plan on giving your pet access to that area once an hour when you are at home and awake.  If that is not possible, perhaps enlist the services of a reliable pet sitter (we do know of one!), dog walker, neighbor, relative, etc., to help out during the day.
  • If your dog has been successfully housetrained in the past, he stands a better chance of being re-educated in this regard.  It will take a while to break those bad habits, however.
  • When you let your dog outside to go potty, go with him to ensure he does eliminate, and go to the same spot each time. Then, praise him for his efforts.  If you do catch your dog in the act inside, immediately usher him outside to finish his business, but do so without punishment.  Dogs need positive reinforcement.  Punishing the dog can cause setbacks in his progress.

While re-training a dog that has lost sight of the house rules of potty time, it’s not entirely impossible.  You just need time, patience, and dedication.  As for me, well, I just need a better role model in that older dog in the house.  He needs to learn correct potty habits so I can, too!


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