One of the biggest struggles for pet owners is getting their dog to toilet in the right area. House-training is only half the battle. You probably don’t want poop on your porch any more than you want it in your living room.
The good news is that you can train your dog to poop in the area you choose. First, you should know why they are pooping on concrete.
Why is my dog pooping on concrete?
Dogs poop on concrete for a few reasons. It’s often a habit for them. Other times, it’s a way to leave their calling card.
Dogs use pee and poop to send messages to other dogs. Dogs have very sensitive noses, and each dog’s poop has its own unique scent. They may also paw the ground where they poop, because they have scent glands on their paws.
Poop can be partially hidden in grass. Concrete makes the poop easily noticeable. For dogs, this is like a neon sign. The dog may also prefer the smell of their poop on concrete vs on grass.
Puppies prefer to poop on the surface they are used to pooping on. This is known as substrate preference.
People have a similar habit. If you’ve ever had to go in the woods, it probably felt awkward or uncomfortable. If you’ve ever used a porta-potty, it was a far cry from your home toilet, and not nearly as enjoyable. In fact, some people go to great lengths to avoid using the toilet anywhere but their home.
Dogs develop substrate preference early on, at about 8 weeks. A dog raised with newspaper in their potty area will prefer to go on paper. A dog that was raised in a kennel with a concrete floor will prefer concrete. A dog that was raised in a wire cage may also prefer concrete.
If your dog has a substrate preference for concrete, you can train them to go on the grass. It will just take some time.
Dogs are creatures of habit. If you watch their behavior, you’ll notice little rituals. Maybe they go for a run immediately after a bath. Maybe they have one area where they hide their treats. Maybe they wait by their food bowl at the same time each day, expecting to be fed.
If your dog started pooping on concrete for any reason, they may continue to do so simply out of habit. Perhaps it was raining so they didn’t want to leave the porch. Perhaps they were confined at some point with a concrete floor, and no other toilet options. Maybe they simply waited too long and couldn’t make it to the grass.
The more often the behavior is performed, the more ingrained it becomes. In most cases, this is more important than the specific reason your dog began pooping on concrete. They continue out of habit, and the habit will need to be broken.
How do I stop my dog from pooping on the concrete?
If you want to stop your dog from pooping on the concrete, it will require some work. However, once your dog is trained not to poop on the concrete, it will no longer be a problem.
Define the potty area
First, you’ll want to choose where you want your dog to poop. Instead of choosing a large area, like your yard, it’s best to designate a small area. Choose an area with dirt or mulch. Some dogs prefer privacy and quiet, so keep this in mind when selecting the area.
Setting Up For Success
The process will be easier if you set yourself up for success. Keep poop off the concrete. If the dog poops on it, pick up the solid poop. Then spray it with soap and water or use an enzyme cleaner. This will prevent the dog from smelling their poop, which will tempt them to keep using the area.
You can also use citrus or vinegar. Spray the concrete with a mixture of half vinegar and half water, or add some lemon juice concentrate to water and apply that. Dogs don’t like these smells, so it should discourage them from pooping there.
You can also bring some poop to the area where you do want them to potty. This gets their scent in the area and lets them know it’s ok to poop there.
Determine When They Poop
You will need to bring the dog to the area where you want them to poop when you think they will need to eliminate. If you are unsure, watch your dog for a few days. Don’t scold them, no matter where they poop. This can cause them to hide from you to eliminate.
You may find that they show signs, like sniffing around the house. You may find that they prefer a certain time, first thing in the morning, the evening, or a set amount of time after a meal.
Bring the dog to The Potty Spot
Bring the dog to the potty spot when you think they are ready to poop. You may want to leash your dog so you can guide them to the proper area. This also prevents them from going to their usual spot.
Don’t get frustrated or try to force them. Simply bring them to the spot and keep them there until they do their business. If they don’t go, take them back to it after a break.
When they potty in the designated spot, give them a treat. Do this every time at first. Once they are comfortable pooping in the area, slowly wean them off the treats.
Monitor Them Closely
It’s important to monitor your dog closely when poop training. Since dogs are creatures of habit, if they poop in the area they are used to, it can set them back. Be consistent and try to prevent accidents.
Why doesn’t my dog poop on the grass?
Most people believe that dogs naturally prefer to poop on grass. However, their preference will actually be whatever they are accustomed to, or their substrate preference.
Fear of New Surface
If grass is unfamiliar to your dog, they may be afraid of it. Have you ever seen a child who is scared to walk on a surface they haven’t seen before? Maybe they are afraid to walk on ice, or a sewer grate. It’s natural to be afraid of a new surface, and dogs are no different.
Again, your dog may not want to poop on the grass because it’s not their preferred substrate. This can occur because of the substrate they used when they were a puppy. If your dog is used to an urban area, there may not have been any grass available.
Fear of Something in the Yard
Your dog may be afraid of something in the grass or yard, and not the grass itself. They may smell a predator, like a snake. The area might be noisy, which can cause anxiety in some dogs.
Dogs have a strong associative memory. They may not remember why they dislike the grass. Instead, they simply remember that something unpleasant happened.
Perhaps they were punished in the grass. Perhaps they were injured by another dog or stung by a bee. Even experiencing an upset stomach in the grass could be enough to put them off.
Is it ok for dogs to poop on concrete?
This is really up to your preferences as the owner. If your dog poops on concrete, it should be cleaned up as soon as possible. If you are walking your dog, be sure to scoop it up immediately. If it’s at your home, you’ll want to pick it up when you spot it. Keep a bottle of cleaner and some water handy to wash off any residue.
Some owners actually prefer their dogs pooping on concrete. They state it is easier to clean up, because you don’t have to deal with grass. It is also much more visible, so you don’t have to worry about finding a hidden landmine with your shoe.
There are no health concerns for your dog if they are pooping on concrete. The only issue is sanitation, which is also an issue with poop in your yard.
Bacteria and parasites can live in dog poop for weeks or even months. Even after the poop is gone, they may remain in the soil. It’s best to clean up your dog’s poop no matter where they eliminate. You can also put lime on the poop. It will dissolve it within a few days.