Problems Housebreaking a Dog?

I have a Dutch Mastiff (Pug). He's house broken for the most part. We feed a mix of dry and Alpo Selects canned. We walk him from half an hour to an hour after eating and walk him on a regular basis. He only poops when it's convenient for him.


Sometimes at least once a day, and the minute we leave (all of us) that's when it becomes convenient to him to poop. We have tried everything. Please help soon or I will have no choice, but to surrender him to the humane society.

By Lance from Kenosha, WI

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May 13, 20100 found this helpful

I'm no dog expert, but the way we handled this was to use a cage. No one like to poop where they have to live. Put the dog in the cage when you leave the house, at night or any other times when he's gotten into trouble. If he does poop in the cage, it is unlikely he will do it more than once. This will teach him to take the walks seriously. Eventually you can remove the cage. After a year and a half we removed the cage, and oddly our dog still retreated to the spot where the cage was to sleep or any time we'd leave the house. Good luck!

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May 13, 20100 found this helpful

You need to let your dog know where its good to potty. Reinforce the good when he goes where you want him to...this may be in a potty pad in the house (try placing some of his poo on there when you leave so he gets the idea) and start slowly moving the potty pad to the back or front door when you come in and noticed he hasn't peed take him immediately for a walk soon enough he will be waiting at the door at the same time everyday knowing you will take him to potty by him sitting in that same place.


Also make sure you are staying outside long enough for he little guy to not feel pressured. I have a Boston terrier and she won't go if she knows I am expecting her to go so I have to plan to water the garden and distract myself so that she can potty in peace. Good luck to you.

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May 13, 20100 found this helpful

Crate train your dog, I've never had a dog not housebroke this way.

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May 13, 20100 found this helpful

If this is a constant, repeating action... it is your dogs communication that he is upset with you all leaving him alone. Do you speak to your dog before you all/or the last person leaves the house. For example, "I'LL BE BACK". If you try teaching him this by doing it several times an evening, everyone going out of the house at the same time. Sit outside for about 5 mins, then come in and praise him for being good (that is if he doesn't potty). Or if he does, repeat bad boy, and do not give any positive attention for 5 mins. Dogs have no concept of time, so 5 mins to him is the same as being gone for the day.


Dogs are like children, any attention is welcomed. And this is his way of saying he is not pleased that you all leave him alone. When he learns the phrase, you'll be surprise how he will just lay somewhere and watch the door for you to return. Note: a dog who is taught words, learn fast. It is a key to success for any training. Keep the words short in the beginning. Dogs can learn/have a vocabulary of/up to 200 words. Just be consistent in the word! And until he learns words, your phases of more than 4 words won't work. GOOD LUCK.

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January 17, 20110 found this helpful

I am having similar problems. I have a small shih tzu that used the pads I would leave out when I stepped away for both short and long periods. Now she ignores the pads and sneaks off to a random place to pee and sometimes poop. She was a perfect puppy but 10 months in this behavior kicked in (now a year old). I walk her 3-4 times a day.


I think she is doing it in spite. For instance I will walk her then 2 hours later I will step out to pick up dry cleaning or some other errand. She was walked 2 hours ago! Why pee when you just went a short time ago? I don't know what to do at this point. I put her in the crate out of frustration when I should be putting her in there when I step out for a few minutes.

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September 16, 2011

I have an (estimated) 8 month old Husky that I rescued from the Humane Society. I am having the hardest time housebreaking her. I can't understand why. We go on several long walks a day, and yet it seems she waits until we get home to use the bathroom. Sometimes she will wait and go in the yard, but usually she goes in the house. I cannot force her to potty when we are on our walks. I have her on a very routine schedule as far as going out, eating, and walking, yet she continues to defy me. Any suggestions?


By Christina P


September 17, 20110 found this helpful

I had the same problem with a young doxie I just got. The vet suggested I keep him on a leash in the house. I got a 6 foot leash and put it on a leg of my coffee table which is heavy. This has worked amazingly well. I let him out with the other dogs frequently. I am retired and home all the time, so it is not hard for me. Sometimes I crate him.

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September 18, 20110 found this helpful

This is a random thought, but was she maybe living in a kennel her whole life? It may be that she just doesn't "know" how to go on the grass. Dogs can be funny about surfaces. Does she go on the carpet or the tile? Maybe you could try putting down a rug or a linoleum remnant in the yard to see if she'll use that.

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September 19, 20110 found this helpful

My family used to raise huskies, and they can be hard-headed this way. You will have to be specific and firm, but gentle in letting her know what you expect. You can try crating, as they usually do not go where they sleep - unless raised in a kennel or puppy mill- and then let her out and tell her -for instance- peepee potty- etc...


when she does, repeat what a good girl she is. My Poms know when I tell them peepee potty exactly what I mean, and poopoo Potty too. Seems silly but they do associate the words with the actions.

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September 19, 20110 found this helpful

I always have a potty party. It may sound silly but it does work.

Find a treat that is so special to your dog that it would move Heaven and Earth to get it. Some of my dogs liked Hot Dogs and others really liked cheese.

Anyway, when you take your dog outside to do her business once she does, you reward her and just get as super happy as you can get before the men in the white suits come for you.

I also always tell my dogs to "Go Potty" when training them and when they get older they realize "Go Potty" means just that.

I'm working with a Husky / Wolf mix now and Huskies in general are very stubborn and thick headed. Even at dog shows, you just never know if the dog is actually going to listen or be side tracked by a bird or squirrel.

I didn't know much about the breed except watching handlers work their dogs in assorted Obedience Classes. Apparently if the dog doesn't respect you, it's not going to listen to you. It's almost like the breed tests the owners to see if they're good enough to be their owners.

Don't give up, some dogs take longer than others but eventually they figure it out. The dog might of been left alone for hours and in it's mind it believes it should go in the house.

The happier the Potty Party the faster she'll learn. What ever treat you use can only be used for the potty training, it has to really stick out.

I clap and am just the happiest person you've ever seen when I have my "Potty Parties".

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September 25, 20110 found this helpful

My son brought home a 10 week old female husky almost 8 years ago. We trained her with bacon treats she was wild about. She also loves bread and knows the sounds of the plastic wrap and will about tear the door down if she's outside and hears the bread bag. It is so funny! We always used the same word-potty- every time we took her out.

She soon learned that potty meant to go outside and "go potty". She also knows "outside" means the same. She has learned many words over the years and is the sweetest and most gentle of dogs. She has never messed in the house and it seems no matter how long we leave her for; she always waits to go outside. I always tell him that she's the best $50.00 he will ever spend in his life. It just takes time to train and all animals are different.

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Answer this Question...

August 6, 2011

I have a 7 or 8 month old Miniature Pinscher. He was a rescue, and the person could not tell me his exact age. I got him at about 5 to 6 months old.

He only ever peed in the house twice and never again. I was ecstatic! He did continue to poo in the house and has only stopped doing this a few days ago. From the second night I had him he would hold his bladder for 8-9 hours a night without doing anything in his cage.

Okay, so my problem is this. My Miniature Pinscher has to be crated when we are not home. I went out for only the 6th time since we have had him, and he pees in his crate every time. Even if we are only gone for an hour. What can I do? On average how long can these dogs hold their bladder? By the way I walked him for 30 minutes before I put him in is crate, and he had done his business. Thanks for any help you all can give me!

By Marie


August 20, 20110 found this helpful

The pet seems to be getting a lot of fluid to drink and of course that's going to create more potty breaks in the day. Cut back on the water intake when you are going away for an hour and then give the dog water when you return.

Or, if you can make a fenced in dog lot in your back yard for him to stay when you're away, the heavy drinking wouldn't matter as you give him a potty break before coming back inside. Another idea would be to have the dog wear a belly band for incontinent problems when indoors when you leave the house or place a pee pad in the crate so it holds the liquid.

I have an older female who uses doggie pants as she's incontinent from having been frequently bred in her younger years and when we got her it didn't take long to find out the washable panties saved a lot of extra cleaning behind her when indoors.

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May 13, 2010

My dog only pees and poops in the house. Any suggestions?

By pauline burkhart from Jacksonville, FL


Problems Housebreaking a Dog

Take the dog poop outside and place it in the yard and let sit. Then constantly let dog walk around the yard until he finds his own spot. There may have been another dog before yours that had lived in the house that's why he keeps marking his territory. I had the same problem, but stopped as soon as we moved. Weird I know. (09/10/2009)

By Michael

Problems Housebreaking a Dog

Do you have any dog parks in your area? Try taking him where other dogs have gone and maybe he'll get the hint. Praise him when he goes outside. Don't scold when he goes inside. Try to catch him in the act and immediately take outside, praising him. (09/13/2009)

By anne

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September 10, 2009

We adopted our dog Scruffy (hes a Bichon Shih Tzu) about 6 months ago from another family. He was in rough shape when we got him; lots of mats in his hair, didn't know how to play, and didn't want to be inside at all, and when he was inside he used it as a bathroom. Well now all he does is play, we have him shaved, and loves being inside with us, but still uses the bathroom inside. We have really been trying hard to find solutions but every time he gets better, he seems to fall off the wagon so to speak.

For example, he had stopped using the bathroom inside at night, so we allowed him more freedom inside the house, but a couple days later he started using the carpet as a bathroom, so we had to restrict him again. I have been reading online quite a bit but it almost seems like he's a special case because of the amount of time it takes him to go, if we let him outside, he takes at least 15-30 mins before he will actually do anything, so it is hard to reward him for going outside. If we leave him alone for 10 minutes inside, he will go to the bathroom inside the house. I just have run out of ideas! If you could give me some advice, I would greatly appreciate it!

Drew from Edmonton, AB


Problems Housebreaking a Dog

Hi Drew -
Sorry you're having such difficulty. Would need a bit more info to more accurately assess where he is in his situation.

1. How old is he?

2. Sounds like he was an 'outdoor' dog before you got him. If that's the case, and since he's older than pups who usually get trained, then it is necessary for you to go back to absolute square one in training. I suspect if he was an outdoor dog, he was never house trained, and you're just trying to 'brush up' his manners.

Bichons are notoriously hard to house train, so if he got the 'not-so-great' part of the Bichon in his mixed heritage, you're going to put in a lot of work to get him to be a properly trained house dog. It's not hard to do, it just takes time, patience, clear communication getting inside the dog's thinking.

When we get in an older Bichon Rescue pup or adult dog who is not house trained, we go into "No Freedom" mode. First we allow the dog ZERO freedom in the house. We put a 'bellyband' on the males so that if they should get a couple drops of urine out before being noticed, it doesn't get into the carpet, furniture, etc. (Prevention is #1 important. Clean ip with white vinegar is #2 importance)

I really prefer the 'tether' method of house training because you can catch them getting ready (or actually doing) to go pee or poo in the house. (Hook the leash on the dog and attach the leash to your belt/around waist or loop. This leaves your hands free to work, but dog is always close by to watch. Leave enough leash to allow dog to move about, but not so much it trips you up.)

When the dog begins to sniff like it's going to mark or needs to poop, say something like 'OOOPS!' or 'OUT" ... and immediately take them outside to an area in your yard that you want them to use. After they go pee/poo, praise them with both your voice and a tasty treat (keep in your pocket for quick availability).

You mention it takes the dog a long time to do his business, you can shorten up that time AND give yourself a healthy gift by taking the dog on regular, twice daily brisk walks. This helps the muscles to move the food and fluid through the system, gets the dog's metabolism - and yours, working as it should. I can't emphasize enough the quality of life that can be added to a pet's life and ours, by regular, brisk exercise.

We've had Bichon Rescue foster dogs who were surrendered with awful stories about their poor manners and unwillingness to learn. Exercise daily changed the dogs overnight! (08/03/2007)

By Joyous

Problems Housebreaking a Dog

I can only suggest patience, love, and kindness. Your new pet is learning something new, just like we did when we were potty trained. I have 2 maltese and a poodle housebroken. We trained our oldest maltese to ring a sleigh bell we had attached to the front door knob, my poodle took a little longer. I was like you, wondering if it would ever happen, but our patience paid off. Now she will sometimes drive me crazy crying to go outside. Showing her praise with a special treat and one on one play was what helped her. Just hope you find what works best for your new love. (08/05/2007)

By Angela Hunter

Problems Housebreaking a Dog

Dog door, I've said this before on this site. I believe in dog doors. The only thing is, you need a fenced in yard. It won't take long for the dog to learn and they kind of feel a sense of freedom. They can go and come as they please. Only took a couple of days to get them all using the door.

My older dogs didn't like it at first, the younger ones loved it. Now it's just "Ho Hum" for them. (My 5 year old cat "JUST" learned how to go out the door 2 months ago so, I've taken him in for rabies shots and flea and tick protection on him also.)

I have 4 dogs and a cat, all indoors. They have different times to potty and a dog door is a Godsend. Of course, my cat does have a litter box. All my kids are vaccinated and have the proper flea and tick prevention. I highly recommend a dog door. (08/07/2007)

By Penny Stoehr

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August 3, 2007
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