Odd puppy bathroom behavior--cause for concern?
August 16, 2018 9:31 AM   Subscribe

Our 11-month-old golden retriever --who has been solidly potty-trained for most of his young life--has now peed once and pooped once in places he shouldn't (and wouldn't normally) go. What's going on?

This is an 11-month-old male golden who is very well-behaved and has always been good about doing his business on grass or bark, whether it be in our yard or on walks. He is not yet fixed, if that makes a difference (we are waiting till the one-year mark, per our vet's advice).

Yesterday on his evening walk, he was sniffing around and squatted (he always squats) to pee right in the middle of someone's concrete driveway. He has never, ever done this before. We figured maybe something else peed there and he just felt the need to mark his territory in this odd spot. Whatever.

But this morning, during his normal backyard morning poop, he pooped right on our brick patio, 2 feet away from one of his normal spots on the grass--again, never done this (even when he was first potty-training). Everything else about it was normal (e.g., no diarrhea or straining, etc.)

None of this bad behavior in the house (yet??)

I'm inclined to chalk this weirdness up to his squirrely age/lack of neutering/hormones, and for now, we will just keep an eye out for signs he's about to do his thing, and encourage him to relocate. He's been very easy to train in general so I am guessing this will probably resolve itself. BUT I am asking around just in case, because I know that unusual bathroom behavior in cats can be indicative of UTI's and the like.

Interested in hearing from current/former dog owners about whether you've seen this before. Thanks in advance!
posted by lovableiago to Pets & Animals (5 answers total)
I've always heard that "teenage" dogs tend to experiment with pushing limits: maybe he is testing out whether it's okay to go on hard surfaces outside. If you don't want him to, I think if you correct him the way you did while originally potty training, he will accept it.
posted by ohsnapdragon at 9:42 AM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

The peeing was absolutely some kind of Peefilter thread he needed to comment on, that's just the way of the outside world where there are many fascinating smells. A large breed dog that size may also, in the throes of a growth spurt, not have a super great idea of where his butt is in comparison to his nose*, but may also just not have a super-firm grounding on what is "outside" and what is "Outside" for pooping. Just correct him, and when our dogs were teenagers the occasional patio hit would be pointedly moved off the patio and put a good 6' from it just to make a point of "please don't shit right next to us when we're eating dinner, bud. Buffer zone!"

*Most dogs are vaguely unclear on this, but some dogs really have no idea they are larger than their heads. One of mine has been tragically bad at peeing on specific things his whole life.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:10 AM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

I also suspect he's just testing the boundaries of his world, and some dogs to seem to prefer to eliminate on harder surfaces (my 9-year-old pup thinks that gravel is just THE BEST and will hold her pee on walks until her favorite gravel patch).

If I wanted to brainstorm medical reasons for his behavior if it continues, it's possible maybe he's developing a grass allergy and it irritates his paws to stand on it long enough to do his business, but if that were the case there would be other symptoms like licking, rash, or hair loss.
posted by muddgirl at 10:33 AM on August 16, 2018

Some ideas.

Grass allergies. This time of year my dog hates grass because it makes his feet itch terribly as it's releasing lots of pollen. It's worse if the grass is damp like in the morning. Dogs tend to develop these allergies as they hit adult hood. Check between his toes for redness & irritation.

It could also just be coincidence, twice isn't really a pattern. Or it could it's more stable, not wet from dew or rain or he has as tender feet or a sore on his feet & the grass irritates it or he just likes it more.

If you don't pick up his poops regularly then the dog will move to find new spots to poop/pee in the back yard. Some dogs don't like to walk through poop to poop as it were & like some distance between their poops, if the ground where he normally poops is getting smelly too from too many pees & poops he may move to a cleaner area. One of my dogs is super fussy about never pooping near one of his or my other dogs previous poops he needs a 5 foot radius (luckily I have a big back yard) other dog doesn't even notice.
posted by wwax at 10:42 AM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

My Great Dane goes through phases where he decides his new favorite place to poop is on any hard surface. Not only the street on walks, but in the yard he will leave Great Dane sized piles on the sidewalk leading up to the house. It's mortifying when people or delivery guys come over before I notice. And then he'll go back to pooping in the grass for a while for no apparent reason.

It's just kind of his thing. I wouldn't worry about it too much unless it becomes a pattern.
posted by thejanna at 6:44 AM on August 17, 2018

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