Monday's dog is full of poop
November 13, 2007 5:56 PM   Subscribe

How do I get my dog to stop pooping in the house on Mondays?

My dog, who is a two year old adopted beagle mix that we got in July this year, came to us house trained. For the most part.

We've noticed, however, that during the day after a day when we were both not at work, she will poop in the house at some point. Case in point: we both had a long weekend this week, so we were home yesterday. She got walked at 6:30, 3:30, and 10:00 yesterday. Today, the dog walker came (as always) between 2:30 and 3:00, after she'd been walked at 9:00. She didn't poop with the dog walker, but did poop sometime between 3:00 and 6:00, when I got home. On the rug.

She does this every Monday morning, or the first day we go back to work. FWIW, she's fine on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I've taken Fridays off to hang out with her, so Fridays are great. On average when we're at work, she gets walked at 6:30 a.m., 9:00 a.m., sometime between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m., 6:00-7:00 p.m. when I get home, and then again between 10:00 - 12:00, before I go to bed. She gets fed Merrick's food, and I don't think there's anything wrong with her alimentary system. What's weird about this is that when we're both at home, she actually gets less frequent (but much longer) walks than when we're at work. On average, she poops twice a day.

Rationally, I know that she's acting out in some way, but I have no idea how to fix this. We love hanging out with her all day but, as I said to her upon discovering her most recent accident today, we've got to go to work to keep her in kibble. What gives, and how do I deal?
posted by lassie to Pets & Animals (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
maybe crate her on Mondays?

Maybe get the dog walker to spend some extra time to encourage her to poop before she's allowed to go back into the house?
posted by bottlebrushtree at 6:12 PM on November 13, 2007

Have you tried crating her? Whether it's an issue of spite or separation anxiety, I think limiting her access the the majority of the house would probably make a difference.

Also, do you free feed her (leave her food out) rather than feed her at specific times of the day? Obviously, you need to rule out any sort of medical issue. However, since it only happens once you and your partner return to work, that's likely not the case. Once you're sure she's not sick, I'd switch her over to two meals a day and start crating her. Be prepared for some serious howling and protesting if she's not used to being crated at 2yo. And there's a whole method to crate training, but it shouldn't take long (maybe a week at most). When she can demonstrate that she knows how to behave in a crate, you slowly give her more freedom within the house. If she's able to go longer without having accidents, fine. But you need to be willing to restart the crate process if she backtracks.

Frustrating, yes. But, at 2yo, she's still very much an 'adolescent'.

One other thought, if you have the financial ways and means, you may want to consider looking into an animal behaviouralist.
posted by dancinglamb at 6:15 PM on November 13, 2007

maybe you need to keep her on a more regular schedule? if you feed her at the same time every day, maybe you need to make sure you always walk her at the same time every day.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:23 PM on November 13, 2007

I think you're experiencing a post-weekend post-exercise situation there. The one of ours who is more likely to poop inside usually does it after exercise (either a long walk or a hard play in the yard). It's worse on rainy or busy days when she doesn't get as much exercise, so as soon as she does get some, 10 minutes post-activity she goes off.

You may have to play with her food-walk timing.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:28 PM on November 13, 2007

Best answer: When do you feed her, and is there any change between weekends and weekdays? Mealtimes and poop times are usually closely related. Does she get fed anything different when you leave? (on preview: what Lyn Never said)

It's unlikely to be "acting out", dogs don't really do that in this sort of way (or rather, it's rarely helpful to ascribe this kind of motivation to behaviours, since it can get in the way of you figuring out how to change the behaviours).

That said, crating in conjunction with food-walk timing adjustments are likely to be the cure (but do NOT crate her if she ends up pooping in her crate, because that will give you a whole other problem to deal with).
posted by biscotti at 6:39 PM on November 13, 2007

Best answer: Dogs don't poop out of spite, they poop because they have to poop. Dogs also really love routine and it sounds like you have a pretty good one going. Crate training does wonders for housebreaking. I would recommend crate training, not just for Mondays, but also when you are home with Beaglette. Do you feed her on a schedule or let her free feed from a bowl left out? Scheduling her feeding twice a day with exercise shortly after may also help.
posted by pieoverdone at 6:41 PM on November 13, 2007

Response by poster: To answer one set of questions, we don't free feed her, by and large. She "works" for her food, through Kongs, normally about four medium ones a day at regularly spaced intervals. However, we do treat her regularly, particularly on long walks to the park. The only time her diet varies from kibble is when we give her carrots or other fresh veggies for her breath, about once every two weeks or so. Sometimes she gets deli-sliced fresh turkey as a special training treat on the weekends.

Now, with regard to crating, I must admit that I'd prefer not to. She's a really good dog, even without crating. I know that some dogs actually prefer to be crated, and see the crate as a place of comfort and safety, but she's never displayed any behavior since we got her that made me think she should be crated. She curls up on the sofa when I leave in the morning, under her comforter, and seems to be fine there. She's not anxious, nor does she tear up the house.

I think those of you who are talking about regularizing her food-walk schedule might be right. I think we should perhaps pay more attention to streamlining her schedule, especially between Sunday and Mondays, if not every day of the week. I'll try that and see if it works. Thanks a lot to all, and free feel to chime in with more ideas.
posted by lassie at 7:33 PM on November 13, 2007

I've found that beagles like a routine even more than other breeds, in my limited experience.
posted by Pants! at 8:23 PM on November 13, 2007

lassie, I am also not a fan of crate training. I am delighted for the people who find it works well for their canine families, but I just wouldn't do it.

When we were working on a similar issue with a dog new to our home, we chose to babygate the pooch in our lino-floored kitchen (with all her stuff) whilst working out the dog's routine. No idea if that would be of any help to you. Good luck!
posted by DarlingBri at 6:08 AM on November 14, 2007

lassie, crating might not be a bad thought regardless-- crates aren't meant to be punishment or disciplinary but give the dog their own space. (This is coming from someone who previously never had wanted to crate train a dog because I thought it was mean at the time, FWIW) Although my dog does totally need a crate when I'm away (she would most likely find her way onto the kitchen counter or accidentally get stuck in a room and get upset), the crate is her 'room'-- we leave the door open and she just goes in and out whenever she wants. It took a little while for her to get used to the idea of it, but she is ultimately a lot happier for it. In fact when I bought a carrier to travel with her she got incredibly excited-- it was like her 'bachelorette pad' away from home.

I definitely think making feeding/walking a routine is important though. You may not have much of a problem then-- I know when I feed my dog, she knows exactly what time it is for meals, and as soon as she's done she's raring for a walk. So perhaps routine will sort her out. Good luck!
posted by actionpact at 12:24 PM on November 14, 2007

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