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Penelope is 7 1/2 months old, and was spayed Monday. The last few days she's developed a habit of saving her big poops for our bathroom floor.

She's not soiling her playpen or crate when she's in them, and she's also no longer pooing outside. She'll pee outside, but act like she doesn't have to poo. Then I find a present in the bathroom later.

I've cleaned it up with the enzyme cleaner each time, and tried to take her out more often, but she's evidently got it in her head that this is what she's supposed to do now.

I was mystified, but then my husband put the pieces together -- when we got her from the family who had to give her away, she was afraid of our bathroom. We came to the conclusion that they used to lock her in their bathroom either as punishment or for long periods of time. His theory is that was where she poo'ed her whole life before us. So really, she's just doing what she thinks is o.k.

I caught her in the act today, but it was at the very end, and she couldn't make any more when I got her outside. Then five hours later, she did it again, this time we just found a nice fresh warm one.

My routine has been to have her outside for pee and poo at waking, after breakfast, after morning nap, and before and after dinner and at bedtime.

Do you think this is just some stressed out behavior from the spay? Should we just close off access to the bathroom and hope she doesn't find a new indoor spot? Should she be put back on her original house training regimen of poo or go back in your crate/potty outside = out of crate for 30 minutes?

I'm wondering if there's a way to extinguish the training that the bathroom floor is a great place to take a dump, while I reward her for going outside again.

TIA,

Amanda & Penelope Peanut aka the Phantom Pooper
 

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I'd go back to potty training 101- out every hour to two hours, big praise for going, and no free roaming, either she's tethered to you or in a crate. I'd also call the vet. The area they work in to spay is close to the rectal nerves, so I'd ask the vet if the spay may have caused it.
 

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I would block her access to the bathroom (just keep the door shut) and go back to housetraining basics for a few days. I don't think you need to go back to the crate regimen you describe, necessarily, but keep a very close eye on her and take her out on a more frequent schedule. If you take her out and she doesn't do her business when you think she needs to, don't just let her wander off - keep her close to you on a leash and then go back out 30 minutes later to try again. If you can't watch her, then crate her. Basically, wait her out. When she does go outside, throw her a parade and give her a treat. If you don't give her the opportunity to have accidents, and you reward the behavior you want (outside business), she'll learn that outside is the only good option.

I think it will go quickly, since she was doing better before her surgery, and older puppies learn housetraining fairly quickly. Remember that she is probably in some pain, too - I do think it probably has to do with stress, but whatever the cause, housetraining 101 will fix it. Good luck!
 

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I'd go back to potty training 101- out every hour to two hours, big praise for going, and no free roaming, either she's tethered to you or in a crate. I'd also call the vet. The area they work in to spay is close to the rectal nerves, so I'd ask the vet if the spay may have caused it.
Plus one on this. One of my dogs was sneaking around doing the same thing. It wasn't a medical issue, she just preferred going indoors. Kept her on a leash attached to me and used childproof gates to limit her free range indoors and the problem was solved. Good luck.
 
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