My old dog learned a really bad new trick
November 6, 2011 2:01 PM   Subscribe

My sweet 12 year old labrador has decided that he's old, he's entitled, and he would much rather take dumps on our living room rug than go outside in his nice fenced yard.

He is in pretty good shape otherwise. He has Cushings which we treat, and some arthritis, but he is still consistently enthused about life, food, us, other dogs, etc. I have no idea why he's suddenly no no longer consistently housebroken? It just seems to have started in the past six months or so. It doesn't seem to be connected with going too long without access to the outside, because he will often dump in the living room literally within minutes of having been out and being let back in. I'd appreciate any wisdom on why this is occurring and how to make it stop.
posted by Cocodrillo to Pets & Animals (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This happens with one of my parents' dogs. She is allergic to grass, and refuses to go potty in the grass. Could he have developed an allergy?
posted by two lights above the sea at 2:05 PM on November 6, 2011

Is it possible there is a smell in the living room which is triggering the behavior?

Perhaps an extra vigorous cleaning with Natures Miracle might help?
posted by NoDef at 2:12 PM on November 6, 2011

How is his mentation? At age 12, he might be experiencing some senility.

Try encouraging him to go when he's outside, as if you were potty training a puppy. When my two go outside and get sidetracked from doing their duty, I tell them to "hurry up if you've gotta go" because it's the phrase I potty trained them with. When they hear it, they remember, and usually go.

This worked well when one of my dogs decided she was too dainty to go out into the yard to do her thing while it was raining. She'd plaster herself to the door, then come inside and relieve herself on the floor. But if I remind her why she's out there and encourage her to go, she will, rather than wait until she gets back inside.

Has your dog had a vet visit since this began to rule out any additional health issues?
posted by Seppaku at 2:46 PM on November 6, 2011 [5 favorites]

Our lab had Cushings. You can see some of our my past posts for his story. We had to put him down this spring.

In the 2.5 years that I was actively engaged in Cushings forums as well as my own dog's decline, I'd (sadly) like to point out that this might be a Cushing's or demented/senile thing that might not be easily worked through.

If you're not already, I'd go see an IMS vet to talk about any health issues that are going on.
posted by k8t at 3:13 PM on November 6, 2011

Response by poster: You are right, Seppaku -- he definitely needs a visit to the vet to rule out health issues. His mentation seems pretty good still, tho he exhibits some occasional confusion.
posted by Cocodrillo at 3:14 PM on November 6, 2011

Is he even aware that he's going? Our older dog (13) with hind leg/hip issues can feel when he needs to urinate, but the poops just kind of... fall out. We have found that walking him a block or so stimulates the bowel, while simply letting him out into the yard and then back in had been providing just enough activity to make him poop as soon as he got back indoors. Nerve issues might be something you want to have your vet take into consideration.
posted by bunji at 3:45 PM on November 6, 2011

Are you taking him on walks? A few times a day? Or just letting him out in the yard?
posted by barnone at 5:04 PM on November 6, 2011

I also vote for the vet. My dog developed the same problem when she was old--still enthusiastic (though slower), still happy, yet unable to tell in time that she needed to poop, so although she would head for the door, the poop ended up in the house. The vet told me it was just an aspect of aging, but maybe it's something else for your dog.
posted by ceiba at 8:14 PM on November 6, 2011

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