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  October 24, 2013
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Q&A on a Dog that Poops in the House

Q&A on a Dog that Poops in the House

Questions about a rescue dog that poops in the house answered by Ed Frawley.

October 24, 2013   |   2 Minutes, 57 Seconds

Leerburg Q&A
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Question: I've been working engagement training for 2 months and my dog whines a lot. Should I correct him for this?


I have worked for past 2 months using your "engagement" methods, which I feel is the right way to train. But my 17 month, high energy male lab mix whines far too often that is very disappointing. He whines in the house, he whines when we visit neighbors while he is on leash, he whines on walks on leash. Is it still all about "engagement"? To date, I have not really corrected his whining, although I really feel like some very hard corrections is what is needed, is it? I use a prong collar. I do have a dominate collar, but have not used, as I don't want to go there yet. Any advice? He is a great dog, loves to play fetch and run. As I type, he is whining at the front door. Thanks for your help.

Cindy's Response:

Have you tried crating him in a quiet area away from any activity. Whining is typically a sign of anxiety and over stimulation. It’s nearly impossible to correct away. If you use a prong, you’ll likely make it worse.

If he’s under command (i.e. down) does he still do this? Did he do a lot of whining before you started engagement training?

Cindy Rhodes

More Information:

Thanks Cindy,
when in crate, he might whine for a short time, but then calms down. Overall in crate, he is well behaved.

The whining most happens when on leash walking and he sees other dogs (or people), that is the biggest thing I've been trying to work on for the past 4 months (using treats mostly).

 He whines when visiting neighbors on leash, or when the house door bell rings, etc. It is excitement in my mind as well. I've been working on desensitizing him and wonder what else I can do.

The prong collar does excite him more when I did try to correct him a few times, but then realized that is not the right thing to do. I do have a dominate dog collar, but have not tried it as I do not what to use that type collar in a wrong manner. 

I do marking training with him (targeting) and he does very well. 

He is a very smart, high energy dog, lab mix. Some say he has Plott Hound in him.  He is a rescue dog, I got him at 12 months, and have had him now for 6 months. I did the foundation type training per your video. He knows the basic commands. although I have not started really hard core training yet, he just picks it up in day to day activity with him.  He does 30 minutes of treadmill a day and loves that. 

I have been doing tug work with him and have the videos on that. 

Any other advice/ideas would be greatly appreciated, thanks much for all your great work.

Cindy's Response:

I think you just continue with what you have been doing. For some dogs this is a lifelong management issue and there aren't really any shortcuts to working it out.

You may want to try a higher value food treat than you have been using to make it more MUCH more appealing than the distraction that's getting him excited (i.e. Steak, chicken, bacon, etc).

Engagement is what you should work on (as outlined in the training with food video you have).

The reward you have needs to be much more valuable than whatever is going on around him for it to work. I hope this gives you some ideas.

Cindy Rhodes


Much thanks Cindy ... engagement continues to remain the key, I appreciate the added reminder. I've used higher value treat (chicken) before, but not that consistently. They do make a difference at times. Will keep at it, thanks much.

My dog is what he is, and I appreciate his personality. In total, he is a very smart and energetic dog.

For more questions on this topic, see our Q&A on Training with Food.

We get a number of Q&As every week, if you would like to read this week's Q&As, click here and check out the 'Recent Questions' section!

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