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Dog Training/Potty training


I have a seven month old male shih-tzu who hasn't been neutered, and he's been "potty-trained" for a while (i.e. we haven't used puppy pads for a few of months, and he mostly goes outside), however the past couple of weeks he has had an accident every few days. Last night when we got home and were about to take him out, he pooped on the carpet, when he had been out 4 hours prior. He pooped on the carpet again today only 30 minutes after pooping outside. We have him on a pretty regular potty schedule, and he knows he's not supposed to go on the floor because when he does he always tucks his tail and lowers his head and goes to his home(crate). He is a very loving dog and is normally very good and obedient in all other aspects. Is he just trying to show us he's dominant or should I be worried that it's something else? How long does it normally take for a dog to be fully potty-trained?

Hi Alli.  You dog isn't being dominant!  I'll wager that he doesn't have a way to tell you he has to go outside.  Teach him to ring a bell to get you to open the door to go out:

Since he's suddenly having accidents, I wonder if he's feeling OK.  Have you changed foods recently that might cause digestive trouble?  Any other stressors that might be upsetting to him?  Extra commotion around the holidays?

By 7 months a dog should be fully housetrained, but accidents do happen.  During this time, keep him crated when you can't monitor 100% of the time.  

Let me know if you have questions or follow-up comments or concerns.  Good luck!

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Barb Gadola, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP


I can answer questions related to problem dog behaviors, teaching polite manners, puppy raising, and any type of training-related issues. My website page, offers a wealth of information on training and behavior issues as well.


I've been training dogs since 1989 and own and operate Distinctive Dog Training LLC in Keller TX. I specialize in providing practical and positive solutions for families through personalized training in their home.

Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner
Victoria Stilwell Positively! Licensed Trainer
Association of Pet Dog Trainers
Association of Animal Behavior Professionals
Truly Dog Friendly Coalition

BS in Education
Graduate work in Behavioral Psychology
Karen Pryor Academy Dog Training Program
Certified Professional Dog Trainer

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