Signs of trouble 

Coprophagia

This is a condition in which dogs eat their own stool. The pup’s mother used to do this intuitively because they’re preprogrammed to get rid of the evidence of puppies for fear of a predator getting their hands (or teeth, technically) on them. Once the puppy is old enough to move away from the den to eliminate, the mother stops doing this.

Some puppies come home with us from the breeder and eat their stool as it can become a learned behaviour – in these cases, we just have to be faster than puppy. Praise and party before puppy turns to snack, encourage them away and reward them, and quickly clean up the mess. They should outgrow this in a month or two if you are consistent in avoiding a slip-up.

Sometimes coprophagia is a sign of illness or malnutrition so ensure your puppy is on a healthy diet by booking a consultation for a Basic Feeding Plan for just $79 USD with our fabulously qualified Canine Nutrition Consultant, Sabinë Contreras.

Excitement urination

Puppies can often get excited and suddenly there’s a “cleanup in aisle 3!”. This is quite common. The trick is to predict the exciting moments, get your puppy out and “emptied” just before, and then try to tone down the excitement to a level that does not cause a leaking puppy. You may have to coach your visitors to do the same and if they are not compliant, crate your puppy until the visitors have settled.

Submissive urination

Submissive urination is often misdiagnosed as “excitement urination” but the two are very different. One is a loss of control from excitement and the other is a behavioural challenge based in fear and anxiety. The difference is in the body language. Submissive pee-ers will often have a low or tucked tail that can be either still or stiffly wagging, pinned ears, a lowered body – often rolling onto their back and showing their belly, and sometimes even a smile-like grimace or excessive licking of the person or dog with whom they are interacting.

Many people get frustrated with this and punish the dog, but this is guaranteed to make it worse. Instead, instruct anyone meeting puppy to stand and ignore the puppy for the first few minutes. If they do interact at that point, the person should squat, turn their body to the side and speak quietly and calmly. Avoid touching the puppy or making eye contact. Let the puppy come to you. Once the dog has had their initial greeting and it has gone well (no leaking!) they will likely be able to interact with the person in a normal capacity, but it’s a good idea to remove them and bring them out to eliminate as their bladder will certainly be triggered and need some relief.

Puppies often outgrow excitement urination and submissive urination, however, if your puppy is still doing this at the age of 6 months, enlist the help of a qualified trainer who uses only positive reinforcement and humane methods to modify behaviour. Not sure? Contact us in the community! 

So many dogs are relinquished to shelters for housetraining issues. Don’t let this be your story. Let’s be consistent and build a great set of habits to last a lifetime!

You’ve got this.