Can you help me get my beagle puppy to poo for me?
May 13, 2005 7:50 AM   Subscribe

Can you help me get my beagle puppy to poo for me?

My beagle won't poo for me. She's about 13 weeks old and will poo outside for everyone else in the family (my wife and 10 & 9 year old sons). Her parents were both shown and have won various dog show awards (if that matters.) We've had her for about 14 days and she has peed for me.

My vet tells me I'm doing the right things:
-Outside right after eating for 10-15 mins
-If no poo, right back to the crate
-Wait 30 minutes, repeat
-Put box in crate to cut the size in half so she won't poo in there a 4th time. :-)
-Always go to the same spot in the back yard

I think the dog may be intimidated by me (6'3" w/ a deep voice) and the Vet agrees that could be it. Though I play with the dog, rub her paws and generally act like a little kid around her.

The Vet suggested going from 1/2 cup of food 3x/day to 3/4 cup 2x a day. Today is our first go with that.

Yesterday, our son got him to poo after his brekkie and I had him for the rest of the day (off-work), he went out with me over eight times and didn't poo. Until he put a steamer on the floor at the vet's office around 7p last night.

posted by UncleHornHead to Pets & Animals (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
First I thought I was being insulted, but this is an interesting question.
Have you tried going out with other people for whom the dog will poop? Or being in the proximity? It seems to me you need to work at getting the dog to be comfortable doing her business when you're around. Try being 20 -30 feet away, then closer, etc.
And, when she does it for the other person, you, not the other person, immediately offers praise verbally and physically. This should get her past her hangup about you.
I would really try to avoid during this break-in period to have to take her out yourself. If absolutely necessary, try using one of those long retractable leads and have her be able to get away from you.
Dogs can actually be trained to poop on command, which is kind of necessity for seeing-eye and other assistance dogs. Some voice prompt from you whenever you arrive at the pooping territory will eventually accustom the dog to think about pooping whenever you want her to.
posted by beagle at 8:15 AM on May 13, 2005

Pooping on command: we've been working on the poop-on-command thing for a while now without luck, but our trainer told us that it can be done in a week or so if you're consistent about it.

Make sure you pick a word you're not likely to use in conversation (our dog's word is "boojum") -- "poop" is a lousy poop command because people tend to say it around dogs a lot. Hang around outside when you know your dog has to poop, and when she starts her routine, say the word. Praise in a soft voice the minute she starts to go. Praise like crazy when she's done.

You also mention your voice... you may have to learn to use a high, excited voice when you want her to do stuff (as recommended by Uncle Matty). I do that sometimes with my dog. I was self-conscious about it when I started using that voice on my dog, but I got used to it pretty quick. It signals to the dog that something good is happening -- high voice = good, growly voice = bad. It gets results, so it's worth it for me.
posted by gurple at 8:41 AM on May 13, 2005

Paging biscotti. Biscotti to the thread, please.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:54 AM on May 13, 2005

I've heard great things about this book but haven't read it myself.

Whatever you do, please don't stick matches and sticks up the dog's ass as many books and trainers recommend.

Also, unrelated to poop but related to a new dog in your life, do some checking around and learn what Clicker Training is. It's an excellent skill to acquire and will make living with your dog a much happier thing.
posted by dobbs at 9:06 AM on May 13, 2005

I'm also 6'3" w/ a deep voice. The best advice in addition to good training is to learn to get your voice up high when praising your dog (which you should do a lot). Your dog, and all dogs, will love it if you sound like a 10 year old girl. I stopped feeling stupid when I talked like that after about 2 months :)
posted by tayknight at 9:34 AM on May 13, 2005

It sounds like you are doing the right things already. You need to keep the dog in his pen (crate) or on a blanket with a short lead. Attach the lead to a chair leg or something to keep him on the blanket. Give him squeaky toys to chew (not rawhide) to keep him busy. He shouldn't ever go to the bathroom in his pen, so making it smaller is the right thing.

When he goes outside you can try leading him on the leash in the yard or let him on his own. The leash can be distracting until he gets used to it.

Now the important thing is to recognize when he is about to take the poop, and praise him right when he makes the decision. He will probably walk a little differently when he is about to go, and certainly will be sniffing the ground a lot. My word for the praise is "good potty" and the order to go is "go potty". She will always go if she has any. I always use these words and always give praise for going. Dogs have short attention (esp puppies) so if you praise after he may not even remember what he did! Praise right when he 'gets into position'.

Of course it's never that simple. Your dog may stop pooping as soon as you say "good potty" and run over to you. You may have play with the timing. It takes a ton of patience but is worth it.

There are good resources on the net for getting along with a new puppy. Make sure he knows you are the alpha dog.
posted by jockc at 9:39 AM on May 13, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the great responses.

I always try to use my high excited voice to praise her for peeing and will do so when she poos as well. I know the voice as I have a toddler son.

I've read about the use the spacial "poo word" command our kids has a brain injury. I'll still be giving it a go.

Dobbs, good call! I though I was going to have to buy more matches. (Please tell me you were joking :-))
posted by UncleHornHead at 10:45 AM on May 13, 2005

The Happy Voice is a critical part of dog training. If anything you do makes them wiggle around excitedly, use it, no matter how silly you may feel, sound, or look. My dogs are thrilled when I crouch over halfway, sticking my butt out, and talk to them directly. I don't know why, but it works.

Gurple's spot-on with training a cue word.

Combine the Happy Voice with a "good girl, you cured cancer" style of praise, and she'll be pooing for you in no time.

Another trick: don't end the walk after she relieves herself. Let her sniff around, or play with you a bit, afterwards. If pooing means the end of the walk, a dog may hold it so they can explore and sniff more. She's a puppy, and a hound; running around investigating new smells is the best thing in the world.
posted by cmyk at 11:25 AM on May 13, 2005

A trick I use with dogs of all ages: try a good hard run (most puppies will chase if you run away from them, and with little short puppy legs you're not going to drop before he does). A little exercise and excitement will often promote poop.

And while I generally agree with going to the Designated Poo Spot, dogs love a crap on someone else's yard (especially, it seems, if the owners are watching). So you may need to grab a leash and a poopbag and hit the road, at least until he learns you're happy about the pooping. Plus, again, the exercise, excitement, and new surroundings may distract him from your awesome powers of constipation.

I'm in the throes of new puppyhood too, and the running or the front yard (exotic, you see, and he doesn't know it's his just yet, I don't think) on a leash are working pretty well when I go home at lunch and need him to take care of business within a few minutes.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:05 PM on May 13, 2005

UncleHornHead, no I was not joking. A number of dog books recommend putting items in the dog's bum "when you know he needs to go" so that he will naturally squat and try and force it out and "the bad stuff will follow". It's a trick often used at dog shows as well so the dog doesn't relieve himself while being judged.
posted by dobbs at 12:23 PM on May 13, 2005

I was going to suggest just keep walking - after X amount of walking he'll just have to go.
posted by petebest at 6:32 PM on May 13, 2005

I might suggest that you concentrate on other fun things with the puppy for a while, maybe even some which she ONLY plays with you, to build up her confidence in, and relationship with, you. Try clicker training, playing gentle games of tug (which you let her win at least half the time for now, which should encourage her to come back to you to continue the game, remember that tug is normally a cooperative behaviour, you can't play it alone), spending some time sitting on the floor with her. I agree with the suggestion about you accompanying someone whom she WILL poop for out to the yard, and you being the one to reward her. Personally, I don't agree with effusive praise the second the dog starts taking care of business, I use slow, gentle praise along with the cue word I want to use (I use "get busy" (because it's a phrase I never use in casual conversation), so I'll say "goooooood get busy, gooooood get busy", things like that) until the dog has just about finished, THEN I have the playing, dancing around party time. Many dogs will just stop what they're doing if you go overboard on praising them before they're done. Your schedule seems good, in general you want to take the dog out after every sleep, every meal, and every play session, or every 2-3 hours, whichever comes first. And remember that, just like people, dogs have different poop schedules and not every dog actually NEEDS to go every time it goes out, there's nothing wrong with this, it's normal, and some dogs need more wandering and sniffing time before they get going, this is also normal (10-15 minutes might not be long enough for your particular dog, remember she's a little baby and is only just starting to get control of her body). Finally, since puppies tend to urinate pretty frequently, perhaps start by being the one to take her out for that, and work up to poop patrol (I use a different word for each "function"). Teaching a cue like this is a great thing, it's the single most useful thing I've taught my current dog and I will do it with every dog I own in future, HOWEVER, don't make it into too big a deal, if she doesn't have to go, she doesn't have to go, and as long as she's emptied her bladder, there's no reason to be keeping her crated until she poops as long as you're supervising her, taking her out as appropriate, and taking her out pronto if you see her acting like she might have to go (don't scold if she starts going in the house, just say "AH!" or something to interrupt her, scoop her up, take her out, and praise like mad when she's done). Sounds like you're really trying to do everything right with this pup, good for you, enjoy her!
posted by biscotti at 7:02 PM on May 13, 2005

I'll add that if you're feeding a high-quality dog food, most of the food goes to making more puppy, not to poop, so it's often the case that dogs poop a whole lot less than you might expect. Small stool volume usually means the dog is using the food it's eating well, and this is a good thing. Large stool volume means most of your dog food budget is ending up on the lawn, which is why feeding high-quality food is actually more economical (not to mention better for your dog).
posted by biscotti at 7:04 PM on May 13, 2005

I'll add that you might unintentionally be intimidating the puppy with your body language when you're trying to get her to poop. Standing facing her full on and looking at her might be too much. Try having only your side towards her and don't stare--this can also help other times to get the dog comfortable with you. Crouching/squatting/stooping can intimidate her too. Also, if she's been scolded for going inside, she might have some fear/confusion about going outside.
posted by lobakgo at 11:04 PM on May 13, 2005

Picturing all of you outside, with your dogs, praising and encouraging them in a crazy falsetto voice for pooping, is cracking me up.

No offense. This just isn't something I've ever given any thought to, not being a dog owner and all.
posted by autojack at 5:29 AM on May 14, 2005

Response by poster: Success! The night I posted this she pooped without much of a problem and did the whole weekend too.

posted by UncleHornHead at 7:17 AM on May 16, 2005

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