One of the most frustrating aspects of dog ownership definitely has to do with the less pleasant duties, like cleaning up the yard…
So many dogs like to poop in various spots in the yard rather than in one designated area.
Dogs poop all over the place because they mark their territory and communicate with other dogs. Getting your dog to poop in a designated area requires turning pooping into a command, making a specific area, taking the dog out on a leash, and commanding to poop in one spot. Over time, the dog should understand.
In this article, I’ll teach you how to get your pup to poop in just one spot in a simple 4 step process.
Ready? Let’s dive in!
Relieving ourselves for a human has little meaning beyond ridding the body of what it does not need. For dogs, however, going potty holds more significance.
Similar to the reason dogs sniff each other’s behinds, peeing and pooping is a way to communicate with other dogs. It’s like a physical text message, so to speak; a dog can mark their territory, express what their life is like, and announce other forms of communication by relieving themselves.
Because of this, your dog can take eons to find a good pooping spot. A dog will usually sniff all over a yard before finding a place conducive to what your dog wants to express (physically and communication-wise). This is also why many dogs won’t poop in the same spot and will travel around your front or back yard.
Some dogs take a long while to find a good spot because they may have anxiety about it. If you’re out there watching, this could cause some performance issues in more timid dogs.
The final, and arguably the oddest, reason dogs take a while to find the perfect spot could have to do with the earth’s magnetic field. According to a study published in Frontiers in Zoology, dogs may prefer to poop in alignment with the North-South axis. Dogs are still animals and hold many biological instincts in this way.
Now, because getting your dog to poop in the same spot every time is not an innate, natural habit for them… a bit of training is involved! But don’t worry, this training shouldn’t be too difficult.
First thing is first; the easiest way to alter behavior is to turn it into a command and control it! As such, you need to turn pooping into something you can tell your dog to do.
Start by going outside with your dog with high-value treats and a command word in mind. Then, whenever your dog poops, immediately say the command and offer a treat. High-value treats are food items your dog absolutely adores and has difficulty resisting.
Do this over and over until you can say the word, and your dog will poop. Remember to (for the rest of your dog’s life) validate your dog’s good behavior with praise and positive reinforcement. The reason our dogs are so obedient is that they want to please us and receive our praise!
For some dogs, especially those older, it can take a bit of time to get it. Remain patient and positive; you don’t want to associate pooping with negative feelings (as this can undo potty training).
The next step is to create a designated potty spot for your dog. Make sure to offer enough room based on your dog’s size - small dogs can use a smaller space than large dogs. Planning according to your dog’s needs helps the process along tremendously.
Some dog owners prefer to segment a designated area with a fence or some barrier, which can make the training process easier as your dog will be restricted to the zone by default. However, this isn’t mandatory.
The next phase of the training process is to show your dog their designated area. Even though by now you have gotten your dog to relieve themself on command, there can still be difficulty directing the proper pooping spot.
The easiest way to mitigate this problem is to take your dog outside on a leash and go directly to the specific place. Once there, command your dog to poop. Rinse and repeat this process until you feel you can start to take your pup off of their leash and navigate them to the area.
If your dog poops in the wrong spot, don’t stress. Try again during the next outing!
To help your dog understand the pooping zone, you can revert back to a common yucky potty training trick; soak a towel in your dog’s pee, or move some poop over to the designated area. Letting your dog’s scent fill the spot can help.
Dogs are smart- and creatures of habit. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your dog will understand that the zone you designated for them is where they need to poop! In no time, you’ll be able to open the door, and your dog will run to the correct area.
As mentioned, remember to continue praising your dog for doing a good job, boosting both their confidence and their mood.