22 answers

My Dog Is Going to the Bathroom in the Basement.

My dog has been continuesly using the basement as her bathrroom. She did not start this until she got really sick one day around December, and there were multiple areas in the basement where she went. Since then, sick or not, she has continued to use it as her bathroom. There are very few days when I have come home and there has been nothing. I let her out in the morning before work and I have watched her go to the bathroom, I even tell her "go potty" and watch her go. I spoke with the vet and they said its a sign of seperation anxiety. She is on Clomacalm. Family has even gone to my house during the day to let her out and either find something, or I do when I get home. I have a naughty corner that she goes in when I get home if I find something. She knows she has done something wrong too. When I get home and walk downstairs, because it smells, she follows me down with her ears back and immediately runs upstairs, Any suggestions?

A little bit about our situation. I work a full time job. I got my dog from Anti-Cruelty in March of last year. Everyone who meets her says she was an abused dog. When I would come home from work prior to the bathroom useage, she would chew, even though I would provide her with plenty of bones. I take her to training, now two times a week, to socailize her and to help her. Her punishment for doing something bad is the naughty corner. I do not hit her, though sometimes have a tendency to raise my voice. She is a great dog when I am at home. She follows me around and just wants to be loved, which she is!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi N.,

I don't think it is separation anxiety, I think he just needs more trips out doors then you can give him. Have you considered "doggie day care"? When my dog was getting older, I took him to day care so he could go in and out as much as he needed....


More Answers

My dog is a former puppy mill guy who suffers from anxiety due to a lack of socialization. He had issues with using the house as a bathroom and we decided that when he was home alone he would be crated. He seems to feel more comfortable in his crate where he's safe.

I make sure he goes for a 30 minute walk in the morning and another 30-45 minute walk after dinner.

2 moms found this helpful

Have you tried using a kennel in the basement for a few days? Most dogs will not potty where they have to lay/sleep. Of course, I am not suggesting that you keep it in there forever :) But sometimes, kenneling will break a bad habit. I have had to do it a couple of times with my dogs (usually after I go out of town because the person who watches them while I am gone lets them out on a different schedule and they get thrown off) and it does the trick.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

my grandma had an old dog that was incontinent and went in the living room more than once. Every time she got a dog after that, it always wanted to go in that same spot, because it smelled like the pee, even after she'd cleaned the carpet. This didnt stop until she had the carpet and pad both replaced. Until then, she put a gate up to keep the dog out of the living room. I would suggest a gate on the stairs to keep your dog from going downstairs. We kennel our dog because otherwise she pees on the floor, then knowing she's in trouble, makes herself vomit. It's just easier for everyone for her to be in her kennel while we're at work. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

It sounds like you're doing all you can do. I do want to point out one other possibility, though.

I had a dog who I loved dearly growing up. She was housebroken, but in her later years, she started using our basement to go to the bathroom because her bowels and bladder were weak and she couldn't hold it like she used to. Even with a dog walker, she still did this, until she was too old to get down there.

Like your dog, my dog knew what she was doing. But I just got an understanding that she picked the basement because she knew there was no carpet and it was easily cleaned up and very far away from where the living space was. In her own little way she was trying to be good and respectful.

Perhaps take your dog for a vet check and see if there is something medical going on. Just a thought.

1 mom found this helpful

Our first dog had severe separation anxiety.

We crated him when we left and it was so much safer for him and our home.

Some people see a crate as a punishment. Don't force her in. It is her "safe" place. Perhaps she only gets a special treat when she goes in the crate. It might take her a while to get used to going in, be patient with her.

In the mean time, I would definitely get the stains/smells out of the carpet in the basement.

Good Luck.

Make sure the area is cleaned with enxymatic cleaner such as Nature's miracle. if she can still smell it chances are she will keep going there. Also if it is stress/anxiety related it can be much harder to stop. You can try shutting into a smaller area or crate while you are gone. She may be more comforatable in a samller area too and feel safer while you are gone.
It's great that you have family to let her out during the day. Personally the naughty corner doesn't really work when you are coming home and finding something, she is probably reacting to your behavior-voice, tension in your body, etc. Make sure to use lots of praise when she does go outside. Maybe try some extra exercise in the morning before you leave to.

I'm sure since you have a trainer and have talked to the vet they have given you some helpful hints on separation anxiety. Try changing how you leave the house and don't make a fuss over her when you are doing so, leave her with a kong or something before you go. Also you can try acting like you are getting ready, but not leaving the house or getting your keys and walking out for a brief second and then back in. Then increase the time to help break the cues, so she does not get worked up when you are leaving. When you come home try and ignore her for a few minutes if she is excited until she calms down.

If she is drinking more than she used to, you may want to have some bloodwork or urine checked. You are right it sounds more behavioral, but you may want to have her urine checked if you haven't already if it continues just to be on the safe side.

sounds like maybe a crate is in order

I'm no dog expert, but I think she has figuured out her potty spots. Whether it's anxiety or whatever, she has made her potty spots. This is something you will have to break her from.
If you're getting her out enough, that's a good thing.

I wish you the best.
I like dogs but I would never have one. My friend's dog tears the whole house to shreds even if they just go to the grocery store for 15 minutes. I mean ripping the screens, chewing the furniture, peeing everywhere, jumping on the counters and knocking everyting off. A BIG dog, mind you.
Watch "It's Me or the Dog" on Animal Planet. That lady has some great gentle training techniques.

Best wishes!

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