Don’t Rub Their Face In It


Sometimes in the world of dog training I come across advice that is old, out dated and just plain ridiculous. I wonder how this ever became a “thing” to do. The issue on my plate today is why would someone rub their dog’s face in urine or stool? Because this is something people still use as a training technique.

First off – please don’t rub their face in anything! It’s gross and it doesn’t communicate the point you’re trying to make to your dog. All that happens here is that your dog may become scared of you, may associate your presence around urine or stool as a negative (which makes house training even harder) and/or encourage your dog to consume stool.

House training can be tough! I understand that 100%. I’ve had rescue dogs who had their start in a puppy mill and felt that standing in their own urine or stool was acceptable. It takes time, patience and a good deal of supervision to train a dog.

The main thing to remember is that dogs go to the bathroom because they need to and doing so feels good – just like humans! For them it doesn’t matter whether it’s inside, outside, etc. They just need to go so they do. Depending on where they started in life they may have even been encouraged to go inside with the use of pee pads or paper.

Dogs may also engage in marking behaviour. This often presents in anxious or intact dogs. Both females but more commonly we see males doing this. Once again it can be trained away but takes time and patience.

Basic rules for house training:

  1. Reward your dog for going where you want them to go – so there’s a reason for them to go there. They aren’t mind readers and they can’t speak english. They need reinforcement to go in a special area.
  2. Supervise your dog ALL the time. When you can’t use a crate. If your dog acts like they are about to go (sniffing, tucking around to a place where they have accidents, etc.) Immediately take your dog outside and wait. If they don’t go within 10-15 minutes then put them in their crate for a few minutes and try again. Develop a schedule that you keep a record of so you can begin to anticipate your dog’s needs.
  3. If your dog has an accident and you’ve missed it – oh well! Clean it up and reprimand yourself for not supervising. Dogs do NOT house soil out of anger towards you. They house soil because they need to go to the bathroom and they don’t see a difference between outside and inside. Do not rub their face in it.
  4. If you catch your dog in the act try to interrupt the behaviour without scaring them and take them outside. Many people feel like the dog should have a consequence in order to learn however research has shown that focusing on the positive will result in faster training. Take your dog immediately outside and reward if they finish outside. Do not punish them. Training a dog who is fearful to eliminate in front of an owner is tedious! It took me over two years to fix this issue in one of my rescue dogs as she had clearly been punished for eliminating in front of people.
  5. If you’re struggling with house training then a trip to the vet to rule out a urinary tract infection or other medical condition is crucial.

An experience professional can help get you off to the right start or help solve an ongoing house training issue. Reach out for help if you need it. Some dogs are extremely hard to house train for a variety of reasons but it is possible.

I offer both in person and Skype consultations for house training. If you need help please contact Where’s Your Sit.

About Where's Your Sit?

Where's Your Sit? is a dog training company based in Nanaimo, British Columbia. Owned and operated by Jade Zwingli who has over 15 years' experience working with animals of all kinds.
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1 Response to Don’t Rub Their Face In It

  1. Joy Matthews says:

    Great article, THANK YOU. Really clear, easy to follow and helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

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