I Use to Teach Dogs to Pee and Poop in the Bathtub

Say Whaaat?

That’s right!

Way before the sparkly new fandangled indoor doggy “cat boxes” we use to have to teach our Service Dogs to urinate and defecate in the bathtub.

I know you are curious as to WHY anyone would do such a thing?

Well, it was because we would send these working dogs out on cruise ships with their disabled owners.

Cruise ships don’t have an “outdoor doggy” area or grass so working dogs are kind of left out in the cold when it comes to cruise ship fun time, and no one wants a “mistake” while they are out on a cruise; so we use to have to teach these dogs to go in the shower/tub.

This made for simple clean-up for their owners and gave the dog a spot that was socially acceptable; although I bet most people don’t even reckon about Service or Guide Dog potty habits while they are off with their owners!  Now people can use indoor potty facilities…for more on that click here. 

We would cut a bit of fake grass, take it outside for a few weeks and have them potty on it, bring it indoors and then cut it down and place it in the bathtub or shower area.

Then the dog was NOT allowed outside for a few days and was only taken to the new indoor spot to poop and pee.

This was not simple work!

Dogs that are taught to go potty out-of-doors much rather it to going potty indoors, but like I discussed previously, that isn’t much of an option on a cruise ship.

After reading that we will now have some people mentally deciding that it would be nicer to leave the dog at home.  But that is because they have never worked closely with working dogs.  Working dogs live to be with their owners and would die without them; so leaving them home isn’t a fantastic option.  Not to mention the fact that the person in fact NEEDS the help and help of their dog to be more independent!

So we (as trainers) would go through the painstaking ritual of taking the dog to the “shower” every few hours for potty breaks.  It would have been much simpler to just let the dog outside sometimes, rather than getting up at 2 or 3 in the morning and fumbling to the bathroom with the dog!

WHY is this Vital to You?

Because potty training is HARD work!

If I can teach an adult dog, who’s habit and foundation is going outside, to jump into a confined, usually detested interval to urinate and defecate, you can teach your puppy or adult dog to go outside (if that is what you desire)!

Sometimes what seems like the most simple task is in fact the toughest.

I recognize that adult dogs or dogs that have been imprinted to have accidents in the house are conditioned to fail.  For more on conditioning (habits) read this article.  But I also know that it can be changed if you are willing to do the work involved!

These Service Dogs had also been conditioned to go outside.  Was it hard?  YES!!! Yes, yes!!

I reckon sometimes the problem is that we give up on training or work that is hard.  It is simpler to let the dog poop in the house, than it is to get up with them at 1 a.m. or it is simpler to let them sleep on the bed (because that is what we want) than to have them sleep in a crate.  Crate training is not always a terrible thing, for more on that click here.

But you have to choose: which do you want?  Sometimes we don’t get to have both!  So only you, as an title-holder can choose which is more vital to you.  The key is that then you don’t get to complain unless you train!

Personally, I would rather have a dog in a crate overnight than a dog that has an accident nearly every night.  I don’t want to condition this kind of negative behavior, because after a while, it will be much harder to fix.

You can negotiate and have your dog snuggle with you on the bed for an hour or two as you watch TV prior to falling asleep but place him in the crate if he hasn’t earned the privilege of being out loose in the house.

As your dog or puppy is thriving, he gets use to holding his bladder etc. and not having accidents in the house or at night; so after a few months you may be able to try leaving him out again.  If he does have another accident you will have to regress and go back to crate training or keeping your dog on a leash or tether if it is during the day.

Is it a lot of work?


Is it going to be quick?


But some of the best things in life take a lot of work and determination and I reckon potty training is one of them!

Other Tips

If your dog is having accidents at night:

  • Try feeding him earlier in the day so that he doesn’t have a full tummy to defecate at night.
  • Take the water up if he has tribulations urinating at night.  If he doesn’t have a full bladder he is less liable to need to pee.
  • Exercise your dog before you go to bed!
  • Exercise makes the bowels do their job and can get your puppy or dog to poop and pee before it is bed time.
  • It will also make your dog or puppy so tired that he will be more liable to sleep during the night.

During the Day

  • If you can’t keep an eye on your dog, use a crate!
  • Using a crate is simpler than cleaning up a mess and it is better not to condition terrible behavior.
  • If you can, just keep an eye on your dog.
  • Shut him in the computer room with you or in your office.
  • Give him a job (down stay) or something to play with or chew on and you will be conditioning excellent behavior!
  • Train him; just spend two 10 minute sessions working on his obedience each day and I guarantee you will see a difference.
  • Exercise is just as vital during the day as it is at night for conditioning excellent behavior and ensuring a tired dog.

Don’t Give Up!!

If you give up, so will your dog and you will both fail!

And, many people give up and these dogs end up in shelters or passed from person to person until they are irrevocably euthanized because the behavior has lasted so long.

Do everything that you can to ensure excellent behavior and after a small time your dog will be conditioned to excellent behavior, ringing a bell, and not having accidents in the house!

I Use to Teach Dogs to Pee and Poop in the Bathtub is a post from: Dog Obedience Training Blog

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