Are you making the problem worse?
Be careful how you handle your dog’s misdemeanors. Any normal person will growl when they discover a foul deposit and, for the poor Pooch, that is when the confusion starts. From that time on, the pooch is likely to become evasive and will sneak off to soil so that you find the problem later. This makes you angrier and the dog even more confused and the little vegemite then ends up becoming paranoid about its soiling – not knowing what to do. This is especially so if the pooch perceives that there are many barriers preventing it from going outside.
Have you prepared a toilet spot?
Now you need to remove the smell of the dog’s mistakes from the house.
Cleaning the mess
If you clean a dog’s mess with an agent that does not remove the smell, the soiled area remains scent-marked as the dog’s toilet and the dog will return.
However, if you clean the mess with an agent, such as a strong disinfectant, that leaves its own smell behind, that will cause a different problem.
Dogs, especially male dogs, have a strong tendency to over-mark any scent left by another dog. This is why a dog will lift its leg at every tree along the street. In some cases, dogs perceive the cleaning agents used inside the house as being equivalent to another dog’s urine and they will mark over the scent of the cleaning agents with their own malodorous signature. Any cleaning agent with a strong perfume is a problem but the worst are those cleansers that contain ammonia.
To solve this problem, mop up any urine or feces with paper toweling. Now clean the area with an enzymatic, low-perfume laundry detergent such as Bio Attack or a product specifically designed for this purpose.
Have You Protected the Soiled Areas?
Once the area has been cleaned, prevent it being abused again.
Close the doors to target rooms and cover the now-clean area with black plastic or a painter’s plastic drop sheet until the problem is fully resolved.
Place an article of furniture or some other object on top of the soiled area so that the dog cannot reuse the area again or buy a battery-operated visitor chime from an electronics store to alert you when the Pooch visits the taboo area.
If the problem occurs overnight, consider restricting the dog to the laundry at night time if it will tolerate this, or place it in a comfortable den or crate that you could have beside your bed to give the Pooch night-time company.
Have You Toilet Trained Your Pooch?
Having attended to all of the above, the last step is to re-toilet train your dog. Unlike teaching a dog to SIT or COME, where you can create the behavior you want so that it can be rewarded, you can’t ‘manufacture’ soiling behavior. Therefore, training a dog to soil on command is more difficult.
If your dog regularly soils when being walked, when it shows it is about to soil, simultaneously throw a suitable command (such as ‘DO WEE’) at the dog. If it completes the action, praise it liberally. (Be sure to scoop up any mess if it soils in a public place).
In this manner, the dog will quite quickly learn what the word means.
Also predict the need. Your dog is more likely to need to soil after eating, drinking, sleeping or exercising and of course, when it hasn’t ‘done one’ for a while.
At these times, take your dog to the prepared toilet pit and issue the ‘DO WEE’ command. Gently squeezing the dog’s abdomen just in front if its knees will increase abdominal pressure and make the dog more likely to want to go to the toilet. Use only light pressure when doing this – about the same pressure you would use to feel a ripe peach.
Remind yourself to take your pooch out to the garden by setting an alarm (e.g. your microwave timer) to ring every hour during the day. In this way, you will be almost certain to catch the desired behavior and will then be able to reward it.
Lastly, don’t forget to install a toilet post in the toilet pit for any male dog you may have. Marking this post with ammonia or better still the urine of another male dog (!) may stimulate the needed behavior too.