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Dog Training/Rescue dog pooping


Good morning,

My family and I adopted a month ago a 4/5 yrs terrier mix from a local shelter. They told me that they walked her 3 times a day, and that she also went on newspaper occasionally. I take her out 3/4 times a day, and she poops and pees outside. I have been trying to get her to go on command, by saying "Go Potty" everytime she goes, and treating her after either with food or a praise. I am doing this in order to get her to go on a newspaper on the balcony #we live in an appartment#, in case its raining too much, or if she needs to go and we cant take her out, basically, to avoid accidents. So far, she has'nt gone on the newspaper. She sleeps in the kitchen at night, with the door closed, and she never pees or poops during the night, so she can obviously hold it for an 8 hr stretch. However, she has twice pooped on the same spot on one carpet, and peed 4 times on different carpets #she loooves carpets!#. We have never managed to catch her while she's doing it, so I cant tell if she does
She is almost never alone at home, there is always somebody around. She is otherwise a healthy dog.
Is there a reason why she does it ? How can I get her to stop doing it, other that crating her ? Is it reasonable of me to think i can get her to both go outside and go on newspaper ?

Thanks for your help

Greetings, and thank you for contacting All Experts,
Major changes such as a new owner and a new place with all its array of new smells, new sounds and new sights often creates setbacks in potty training. Add on top of that a new schedule and you have the perfect recipe for a dog that has accidents in the house. This is what I would recommend doing:

1) If you haven't done so already, put her on a strict feeding schedule. Same time every day. When the feeding is predictable, bowel movements also come out at a predictable time.

2)Schedule her outings. Take her out first thing in the morning. This is when most dogs pee and poop reliably. Don't come back inside until she has done both number one and number two. Also, note the time she has previously pooped or peed in the house and see if there's a pattern. It could just be the previous owners had a specific schedule and you are taking her out at totally different times. Keep a note of when these accidents occur and try taking her out during those times.

3)Clean up all areas she has previously soiled using an enzyme-based cleaner. You mention she has pooped twice on the same spot on the carpet which can be an indication that she smells her previous poop there. The smell of a previously soiled area to a dog is the equivalent of a human bathroom sign. In other words, just as you can locate a bathroom in a department store by seeing the universal bathroom sign, your dog relies on smell to recognize that "here is my bathroom." The enzyme cleaner should remove traces of smell.

4) Good idea to train her to go potty on command. Looks like you are doing a good job. This has helped my dogs tremendously as it help them generalize potty areas when we go on trips. Here is an article I wrote about it:

5) Since she is never alone, management is on your side. Try to keep her always in sight. In other words, don't give her the whole run of the house. As tedious as this work is, it pays off once your learns. It looks like she knows she isn't supposed to potty in the home, so to avoid being caught she does so secretly, out of your sight. If you always keep her in a room with you and under your supervision, she can no longer secretly eliminate, so hopefully in this case, she'll give you advanced signs she needs to go. Keep an eye on sniffing, whining, turning in circles, or going towards an area she previously soiled.

6) Alternatives to crates are small rooms, exercise pens or keeping her on an umbilical cord. More about these confinement options in a link below...Dogs by instinct don't like to soil where they eat, drink and sleep. So if you place her in a small space or an exercise pen with water, food bowls and bed, she should be reluctant to eliminate there and more likely to whine and give you signs of needing to go potty (make sure you're always nearby to catch these signs!)  Alternatively, you can tie a long leash to your belt or around your waist so you can always have her near you so to keep an eye on her.

7)Consider feeding her a premium food. Cheap, store bought foods are more likely to make dogs poop more and in larger volumes than usual. Premium dog foods tend to make dogs produce less waste. Consult with a nutrition expert about this. Your local pet store should have an aisle full of premium dog food choices. While these foods cost more, consider though that you also feed less of it.

8) Sounds like she was sometimes going on newspaper before with the previous owners. Things to evaluate are the following. Can it be your balcony is too noisy? If she is nervous out there, she won't potty. Could be she doesn't like to stay there if she is left alone there and wants to come back inside. Also, consider that dogs are not good in generalizing. If she did go on the newspaper with the previous owners in a certain location, she may have a hard time using newspaper in another completely different location. Training her to go inside is somewhat challenging though as mentioned as it's difficult to train a dog to go indoors when it has learned to go outdoors and on certain surfaces. Here's a great read about indoor potty training, you may be interested in method 1:

Last but not least, consider seeing a vet if she is going potty more than usual. Sometimes a medical condition may be causing more frequent elimination. Best to always rule this possibility out! I hope this helps! Please let me know if you need any further assistance. Best wishes and kind regards,
Adrienne Farricelli

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Adrienne Janet Farricelli CPDT-KA


I can provide advice on training and behavioral problems ranging from minor issues such as potty training to serious issues such as aggression. I cannot give out veterinary advice as this is obviously out of my spectrum, but I may recommend veterinarian visits for behavioral problems that may stem from a possible health problem.


I am a published dog expert writer since 2006 and a certified dog trainer specializing in positive reinforcement training. My favorite specializations are clicker training and the sport of canine freestyle. I also attended various seminars on solving behavioral problems and am the current dog training and dog psychology channel manager for My bookshelves are full of books on dog training, dog breeds, dog care and dog behavior.

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