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Dog Won't Defecate in it's Own Yard

    • 146 posts
    October 26, 2016 10:13 PM EDT

    This question submitted for Dr. C. during our House Soiling in Dogs webinar: 

    Ideas for dogs that won't defecate in their own backyard, but only on walks? Is it safe to just wait them out?

    • Moderator
    • 60 posts
    October 26, 2016 10:27 PM EDT

    It depends on the case whether it's safe to wait them out.  Some dogs won't defecate in the yard off-leash but will on-leash.  Others won't defecate in the yard on- or off-leash.  

    First, question I would ask --- Is it medically OK with this dog's vet to consider "waiting it out."

    Second (and really a concurrent question) -- Is there a reason this dog won't defecate in the yard that I can identify?  What's the dog's learning history in this yard?  In past yards?  What substrate is in the yard vs the house?  What substrate does the dog actively choose to eliminate on during walks (some walks may have many different substrate opportunities).  What does the owner do when the dog urinates or defecates on leash?  What about when the dog urinates in the yard?  What other behaviors / activities does the dog show / do in the yard?

    Could there be an underlying anxiety problem contributing to this dog's unwillingness to defecate in the yard?  Is he OK urinating in the yard?  Could defecation on walks be put on verbal cue so the dog could be cued to go in the yard?

    Remember - Waiting this dog out could be quite stressful for the dog (it's essentially a type of flooding if the dog is at all anxious in the yard), so I would be looking at other options if possible.  AND I would be darn sure to be there if this dog ever DID defecate in the yard so I could reward the heck out of it.  Of course, you would need to ID the dog's strongest reinforcers well ahead of the "movement" you are looking for.  HA!  I crack myself up ...

  • October 26, 2016 11:20 PM EDT

    Thanks!