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Dog Training/1 year old yorkie who is picky where he poops.


I have a one year old yorkie. I will take him outside and walk around for 20-30 minutes waiting on him to find a spot to poop.  He will act like he is going to by going round and round in the same spot but then the least little noise destracts him and he has to go another 10-15 minutes to find another spot. Some times I will put him outside on a leash for 2 to 3 hours and he will not poop until I let him roam the yard. Yet most of the time he will wait til we get back in the house a do his business there. I had him outside for 3 hours one day and he did nothing, took him in side he went and found a spot 3 minutes later and pooped in the house.  What can I do? Why is he so picky about where he poops?

Greetings, and thank you for contacting All Experts,
Your situation is not at all completely unusual, many dogs wont't eliminate right away and may take their sweet, sweet time. Let's cover a few reasons why some dogs would engage in this type of behavior. This is one of those cases where we would greatly benefit if dogs could only talk to us. Wouldn't it be great if Rover could simply tells us "look I only like to poop in this x spot and on this x surface" or even better, if he could just tell us "look, I really need to poop badly now, please take me out quick!?" This would certainly spare us from spending countless time outside and we would try our best to accommodate the dog's wishes. Instead, we're often left with most of the guesswork. So we can only make assumptions on what is really going on in Rover's mind so following are a few.

Well, for starters let's consider that the world from Rover's perspective is quite different from ours. Pooping in dogs has much more functionality than just eliminating their earlier meals. When humans do their business, it's just that, but from a dog's mindset, pooping entails much more than that; it's serious business! Let's take a look what pooping must feel like from a dog's perspective. Following are some possible explanations:

1) We can say that pooping is The "Canine's Form of Tweeting". Just as you use Twitter and other social networks to leave a message for others to read, in the doggy world, pooping is a less romantic way to communicate. "Rover was here!" is what a dog may be saying when he leaves some stool in a strategic location. Blessed with more than 220 million olfactory receptors in their noses, other dogs will surely be interested in your doggy's daily headlines. Yes, dogs are blessed with the uncanny ability to mark with their poop other than with their pee. So if your dog is taking a long time to poop, it may just likely he is looking for the perfect location where his poop can be noticed, and yes, it must also "smell right." Your dog may be also looking for some leftover scent of another dog so he can happily mark over it and leave his message.

Curios note...Ever wondered why some dogs go around in circles before pooping? This behavior is often seen also before a dog is about to lay down and is an instinctual behavior to crush tall grass to make a soft bed and scare away any unwanted critters such as bugs or snakes. In the case of pooping, this may be so the poop becomes more evident (and isn't hidden by the grass), so nasty critters stay away when a dog is in such a vulnerable position, but it could also be so the scent of the fresh crushed grass works as a bonus attractant. This instinct is so ingrained, dogs keep on doing this even if there is no grass, as seen in dogs who religiously turn around several times before lying down.

2)Not Time to Go Yet

Sometimes, the dog is not being picky, but he simply doesn't have to go. When your dog is fed on a predictable schedule, his poop may come out predictably at the same times every day as well. This is why it's so important for young puppies to adhere to a strict puppy feeding schedule so you can predict when you can take your puppy out to eliminate. So if you take your dog out at the same time every day and he doesn't go, perhaps you want to try taking him out a bit later, when his need is a bit more urgent and he is less likely of making you lose time. In such a case though, make sure you gradually increase the time and keep an eye on your dog if he isn't housebroken yet; he may anticipate you and leave a little present on your favorite Oriental rug!

3)An Underlying Medical Problem

If your dog takes quite a while to poop, you must evaluate if your dog perhaps has some form of a medical problem. It's not uncommon for some dogs to take a lot to poop because they are constipated dogs, have painful anal glands or even have something as serious as an intestinal blockage. In some cases, dogs affected by diarrhea, may feel like they need to poop and will strain inconclusively,-- the medical term for this is tenesmus. In this case, the dog may have a bout of colitis. See your vet if your dog seems to have difficulty pooping, is straining, moaning as he poops or seems in any pain. So make sure you keep a watchful eye on your dog and report anything abnormal to your vet.

4)Not Feeling Safe

It takes some touch of confidence for a dog to decide to poop. In other words, when a dog is nervous about his surroundings, he may inhibit his need to eliminate. For instance, placing a dog scared of noises in a balcony where construction workers across the street and causing a cacophony of loud noises, will likely cause the dog to hide or at least feel uncomfortable enough to make pooping the last thing in his mind. Elimination won't just happen in this case! Make sure your dog has a safe, quiet place to eliminate where he feels safe. If your dog refuses to poop in your yard, but then poops the moment he comes in the house, evaluate if there's something in your yard that worries him.

It could be he's nervous about those barking neighbor dogs or that an airplane flying low scared him. It's not unheard of for dogs kept in yards with electronic fences to be scared of eliminating in the "mean yard" and to eliminate in the home instead. In this case, the dog is not being "picky" but is scared. Since you mention your dog is planning to poop, but then gets distracted by a noise, evaluate if he's "noise sensitive" and see if you can find a quieter location with less distractions.

5)Sticking to Old Habits

Dogs don't like changes too much and dogs aren't great in generalizing . If your dog is picky, it may be he is looking for a certain type of surface or for an area where he has previously soiled. It's a good idea to pay attention to your dog's preferences, especially if this is a newly adopted dog.

As seen, there are many possible causes for your dog to be picky where he poops. Always rule out medical problems if you are unsure, and pay extra attention to where he prefers to soil. So now let's see how to expedite his pooping expeditions....

So you're tired of waiting and waiting and waiting for your dog to poop? Dogs after all aren't that different than humans some times. Many humans after all, enjoy reading the newspaper while sitting on the toilet. In the same way, dogs may like to read the "canine tweets and headlines" left from other dogs on walks. Yet, if you want to speed up the pooping process here are a few tips:

1) Try to figure out at what time your dog is faster to poop. As mentioned, if you take your dog out every day at 5 to walk, and he poops at the end of the walk at say 5: 45, try taking him out the next day at 5:20, then at 5;30 and then at 5:45. Keep a chart on his progress so you can track his progress.

2) Walk your dog. If you take your dog every day to the same potty area in your yard, your dog may not want to poop because in nature dogs are used to walk a lot and walking stimulates elimination. Walking your dog may encourage your dog to poop and will also meet his exercise and mental stimulation needs.

3) Reward your dog for pooping by using high-value treats. Treat after treat, your dog learns that great things happen when he poops so he'll be eager to get that poop going just to get the treat. Make sure you keep your treats hidden in a pocket though, as the sight of a treat may distract. Wait for him to finish pooping and then say "good boy" and give the treat.

4) Train your dog to potty on command. This can be really a great way to expedite the process and will help dogs generalize the potty area. I have taught my dogs to go potty on command and this has helped tremendously when we traveled and the dogs had to poop in unfamiliar areas. The familiar command can do wonders in such a case and to make things faster. To teach your dog how to poop on command you can read this article:

5) Install a pheromone-treated stake and place it in a certain area and see if this helps your dog to reliably poop there. Alternatively, if your dog poops in the home, try taking his mess and placing in a precise spot in the yard so your dog knows that that's his new bathroom area.

These tips should help your dog become less picky and poop more reliably. As mentioned, always see your vet first is something doesn't look right and then once your dog has received a clean bill of health, start assessing the other possibilities and try some options.

If your dog is noise sensitive, meaning that noises scare him and he's unable to focus for a while, read how to desensitize and countercondition him to get used to them, or at least, how to tolerate them better. You can read more about this here:

I hope this helps! Please take a moment to leave feedback when you can, good luck and best wishes!

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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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