Potty training is a fundamental skill every dog owner must tackle when bringing a furry friend into their home. Nobody wants to deal with their beloved pet leaving surprises on the floor or their belongings. Although puppies tend to have more frequent bathroom breaks, even adult dogs can leave their mark 1-3 times a day depending on various factors such as diet, breed, age, and activity level.
While some dogs catch on to potty training faster than others, it still requires consistent effort to train them to do their business outside properly. So, what happens when you’ve put in the hard work and your dog is consistently pooping outdoors, but now they’re choosing unusual spots like on top of things?
Even the tiniest dogs have an uncanny ability to find the most peculiar places to relieve themselves, whether it’s on fences, rocks, trash, or even walls. This behavior can be extremely frustrating, especially if your dog decides to leave their mark on top of your belongings inside the house as well.
But why do dogs have this strange habit of pooping on top of things?
Understanding the Reasons Behind This Behavior
There are several reasons why dogs choose to poop on top of things. By exploring these reasons, you can gain insight into your dog’s behavior and find ways to manage it effectively. It’s important to remember that while this behavior is typically harmless, it can occasionally be a sign of an underlying medical issue.
Reason 1: Marking Their Territory
Dogs often poop on top of things to mark their territory. Whether it’s random spots or a specific area, they are trying to communicate to other dogs that they lay claim to that particular territory. This territorial marking behavior is not exclusive to male dogs who lift their legs; female dogs also engage in marking behavior, including pooping on top of things.
Dogs mark their territory with their scent, using urine, feces, or scratching. Pooping on top of things is particularly effective because it exposes their scent to more dogs, establishing a clear message. If your dog is pooping on top of things indoors, especially in new surroundings, it’s likely their way of claiming that space.
Reason 2: Communication and Anxiety
Dogs, lacking the ability to communicate through language like humans, resort to other means to express themselves. Pooping on top of things is a common way for dogs to communicate, both with each other and with their owners.
While most dogs engage in this behavior to mark their territory, they may also do so when feeling anxious or seeking a mate. Anxiety and marking tendencies often go hand in hand. When in a new environment, dogs can experience stress and a strong desire to mark their territory simultaneously. Pooping on top of things becomes a stinky way to convey their anxiety to you.
Additionally, dogs can also use their poop as a means to detect if another dog is in heat or looking for a mate. By pooping, they release pheromones that can be detected by other dogs, providing vital information about the reproductive state of the dog that left the mark.
Reason 3: Seeking Security
For dogs, pooping can be a vulnerable moment. They are in a crouching position and less able to defend themselves. Hence, when they feel insecure, they may seek out barriers, such as walls or fences, to provide extra protection during the act of defecating. By doing so, they rely less on their owners for protection.
If your dog is pooping on top of things like walls or fences outside, they may be utilizing these barriers as a defense mechanism. Dogs who appear stressed while pooping outside might benefit from a schedule that allows them to enjoy quieter moments in the neighborhood.
Similarly, if your dog is pooping on top of things inside the house, it could be a sign of insecurity. Has anything scary happened recently? Loud noises, such as fireworks or hunting seasons, can make it challenging for dogs to relieve themselves peacefully outside. As a result, they may resort to pooping on your bed, piles of clothes, or even on you.
Reason 4: Bathroom Emergencies
When nature calls, dogs must answer! In case of a pooping emergency, whether during the day or at night, dogs may be more prone to pooping on top of things. They don’t have the luxury of time to find the perfect spot, leading them to choose unconventional places like clothes, furniture, or even your bed.
There are various reasons why dogs might experience a bathroom emergency. Some dogs dislike going outside in bad weather, causing them to hold it in all day. Older dogs may experience loss of control, while others might have ingested something that doesn’t agree with their stomach.
Excessive diarrhea can indicate stress, infection, parasites, or food allergies. If your dog frequently poops on top of things and has diarrhea, it’s crucial to consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Managing the Behavior
If your dog is fully potty trained indoors but insists on pooping on top of things outside, it’s essential to revisit the basics of potty training. For instance, dogs who are not accustomed to grass may feel uncomfortable walking and pooping on it, leading them to seek higher ground. By rewarding them and playing with them on the grass, you can gradually acclimate them to the appropriate location for relieving themselves. Remember to reward them when they poop in the desired spot, reinforcing positive behavior.
Spaying or neutering your dog can also help reduce territorial marking behavior (including peeing and pooping on things) by up to 50%. Unless you plan on responsibly breeding your dog, consult your veterinarian for advice on spaying or neutering.
When to Seek Professional Help
If your dog’s behavior persists despite your efforts to manage it, or if you suspect there may be underlying health issues, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian. In some cases, dogs may have agitated anal glands, causing discomfort and leading to unusual pooping habits. Most dogs naturally release their anal glands when they poop, but some may require assistance from you or your veterinarian.
Don’t worry; anal gland infections can be easily treated with antibiotics and routine expression. This will make your dog happy, keep their poops normal, and prevent them from choosing unusual spots.
Whether your dog prefers elevated spots for their bathroom breaks during walks or inside your home, it can be a frustrating situation. It makes cleanup more challenging and can be quite an odd sight. However, dogs have no shame when it comes to pooping on top of things. They do it to mark their territory and communicate their intentions to other dogs, or simply because they feel more secure in certain spots.
Pooping on top of things outdoors is not necessarily bad behavior and can be addressed through consistent training and positive reinforcement. For indoor incidents, revisiting potty training basics or consulting your veterinarian for health concerns, such as parasites or impacted anal glands, may be necessary.
Remember, accidents happen even with well-trained dogs. If you find yourself stepping in it, you’ll need to know how to remove dog poop from your shoes!
So, embrace your dog’s quirks, and with patience and understanding, you can work together to overcome this behavior. For more dog care tips and information, visit Katten TrimSalon, your ultimate guide to keeping your furry friends happy and healthy.