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Ask the Trainer: Why Is My Dog Going Potty Inside?

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Dear Kevin,

My 5 year old neutered cocker spaniel, Zane, potties in the house only in the evening when I am home. My husband is home all day and no problem. When I get home from work, he will pee and poop in the same place oftentimes right after he has been taken out. I believe it is behavioral as he is a timid dog. There are 3 other dogs in the home and all get along well.


Hi Susan,

With the information you provided, this is how I would recommend handling it:

When you get home, leash up Zane and take him for a walk. I recommend walking him until he empties himself. This will help him if he really needs to go. If he goes outside, in theory, he won’t relieve himself inside once you get back.

If you walk for 15-20 minutes and he just wont go, put him in the crate for 10-15 minutes. When the time is up let him back outside to make the right decision. If he doesn’t, put him back in the crate and repeat continuously until elimination has taken place outside. An alternative to the crate would be using a leash and tethering him to you or your husband.

Another important thing to do is use high value food rewards to serve as positive reinforcement for the wanted behavior. As soon as Zane gets out of the squat, you want to give that high value food reward. (e.g. cheese, hot dog) Repetition of this results in the behavior you’d like.

And finally, make sure that you are using a cleaner that breaks down the enzymes in the waste. If you are not, Zane can still smell it and may think it’s a good place to go.

If you need help with leash walking, check out this video:

Thanks for your question!

Kevin Duggan CPDT-KA

Kevin is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT.org)  and is a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator through the American Kennel Club. He currently resides in Ohio with his dog, V, a six-year-old Shepherd/Lab mix, where he operates All Dogs Go To Kevin, LLC, specializing in helping build positive relationships between humans and their canine companions using clear communication, not pain and fear. For more training tips and tricks, and to meet his amazing dog, V,  follow him on Facebook by clicking here.

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