Having your dog poop on the couch is one of the most annoying and unpleasant things they can do. Not only does it create a big mess, but that strong odor can linger for days, leaving your furniture disgusting.
This is an issue many dog owners face, but with the right training and preventative measures, you can put an end to this behavior.
Why Dogs Poop Inside
Before learning how to stop your dog from pooping on the couch, it helps to understand what causes dogs to eliminate inside in the first place. Here are some of the most common reasons:
Lack of House Training
Puppies under 6 months old typically don’t have full bladder or bowel control. They may have accidents because they physically can’t hold it. Older dogs that aren’t properly house trained will also poop and pee inside. They simply don’t know they’re meant to go outside.
Certain medical conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), colitis, or diarrhea can make it difficult for dogs to hold their stool. Urinary tract infections may also cause them to have accidents. Getting a vet checkup can help rule out underlying health problems.
Anxiety and Stress
Anxious or stressed dogs may lose control of their bladder and bowels in moments of panic. Major changes to their routine, loud noises, being home alone, and unfamiliar guests can all trigger anxiety pooping.
Lack of Exercise
Dogs that don’t get enough daily exercise and mental stimulation are more likely to have pent up energy and eliminate inside. Bored, under-exercised pets often develop frustrating behaviors like inappropriate pooping.
Unneutered male dogs may mark territory by pooping around your home. It’s a way for them to spread their scent. This behavior is driven by hormones and can be curbed through neutering.
Senior dogs often experience a decline in bladder and bowel control. Conditions like arthritis also make it difficult for them to hold their poop until they can get outside. Accidents become more common as dogs age.
The Dangers of Dogs Pooping on the Couch
Allowing your dog to turn your couch into a toilet comes with several risks beyond just a smelly mess. Here are some of the dangers:
- Spread of parasites: Hookworms, tapeworms, roundworms and other parasites can be present in your dog’s stool. These can spread to humans through accidental ingestion.
- Bacterial infections: Harmful bacteria like E. coli and salmonella found in dog feces can lead to illness if they contaminate furniture, carpets, bedding, etc.
- Property damage: Dog poop can stain and smell up furniture, carpets, and other household items, leading to costly replacements or professional cleaning.
- Relationship strain: Disgusting over a partner not properly training their dog or cleaning up after it can damage relationships. Lack of respect for shared space is problematic.
Clearly, allowing repeated indoor pooping incidents to occur puts you, your family, and your home at risk. It’s crucial to take steps to resolve this problem right away.
How to Stop Your Dog from Pooping on the Couch
The key to stopping couch pooping is twofold: preventing access and rewarding correct bathroom habits. Here are the top training techniques and tips recommended by dog behaviorists and trainers:
Restrict Couch Access
The simplest way to stop the behavior is to not allow access in the first place. Use baby gates, crate training, or close doors to rooms with couches to keep them away. Provide plenty of alternative places to relax, like dog beds.
- Use baby gates: Installing baby gates across open doorways blocks couch access without restricting overall space. They can jump over, however, so combine with training.
- Close doors: Keeping doors to rooms with couches closed only allows access when you’re there to monitor. Doesn’t work for open concept homes.
- Crate train: Dogs won’t poop where they sleep. Crating prevents accidents when you can’t watch them directly. Don’t crate too long.
- Limit with leashes: Keeping dogs on leashes indoors when you aren’t actively watching prevents sneaking off to the couch.
Diligent House Training
You must reinforce consistent bathroom habits by taking dogs out frequently and rewarding them for going to designated areas. Never punish accidents – that can backfire. Stay patient and vigilant.
- Take out every 2 hours (or after meals/naps) for young dogs and those needing house training. High-risk times are first thing in the morning, shortly after eating, and before bed.
- Choose a bathroom spot outside, bring them there with a command like “Go potty,” and reward them immediately after with treats/praise when they go. This teaches them where to go.
- Respond to signs they need to go: pacing, circling, sniffing, whining. If they start to poop inside, urgently bring them to the bathroom spot to reinforce where it’s acceptable.
- Clean accidents with an enzymatic cleaner to remove odors that draw dogs back. Vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda also help. Avoid punishment – it can scare dogs and delay progress.
Add More Daily Exercise
Dogs are less likely to have accidents, including couch pooping, when they get adequate exercise and stimulation. Aim for at least 30-60 minutes of activity daily to meet their needs.
- Take at least two brisk walks per day, ideally 20-30 minutes each, to help your dog relieve their energy and bowel. Mental exercise also helps.
- Provide interactive toys like Kongs stuffed with treats or puzzle toys to occupy them when alone so they don’t get restless. Rotate different puzzles to keep it interesting.
- Teach new tricks and reward their training efforts with praise and healthy treats to provide mental stimulation between walks. Even a short 5-minute session makes a difference.
- Play fetch or tug-of-war in the yard or dog park. Chase games also tap into their natural instincts for physical activity.
- Take training classes together like agility, obedience, or nose work. Classes challenge them mentally and build a strong bond.
Address Any Underlying Causes
If your dog suddenly starts pooping on the couch when they are house trained, bring them to the vet to check for issues like anxiety, UTIs, diarrhea, or loss of bowel/bladder control. Medication or treatment can help resolve underlying causes of indoor accidents. In senior dogs, speak to your vet about options to help manage incontinence or mobility difficulties. They may recommend medications or doggy diapers.
Getting long-term success stopping couch pooping requires reinforcing desired behaviors constantly, not just when actively training.
- Give praise and treats for going potty outside, even years after initial house training. This helps maintain the habit.
- Correct and redirect immediately if you catch them in the act inside. Urgently bring them outside to reinforce where to go. Don’t punish after the fact.
- Clean accidents thoroughly with enzymatic cleaner. Don’t let odors encourage repeats.
- Stick to a consistent daily schedule for feeding, walks, playtime, etc to promote regular bathroom habits.
What to Do When You Catch Your Dog Pooping on the Couch
Despite your best efforts, you may catch your dog dropping a pile on your couch before you can stop them. Here’s the best way to immediately respond:
- Interrupt them loudly and urgently with a firm “No!” or a loud clap. Startle them into stopping as quickly as possible.
- Immediately bring them outside on a leash to their potty spot. Use a command like “go potty” to reinforce where they should finish.
- Praise and reward with treats as soon as they finish pooping outside. This links the positive association.
- Clean the mess thoroughly. Use an enzymatic pet odor neutralizer and wash any cushions, blankets, etc. Consider hiring professional couch cleaning.
- Restrict couch access and supervise closely until the issue is resolved. Limit opportunities for repeats.
- Do not punish your dog physically or verbally once they have moved away from the scene. This can cause anxiety and worsen the problem. Redirect and reinforce the right behavior instead.
Cleaning Dog Poop Off the Couch
Once your dog soils the couch, it’s crucial to fully eliminate odors and residue. Here are tips for cleaning dog poop off couches:
- Act quickly! Fresh poop is easier to clean than dried-on stains and smells.
- Remove any solids first using gloves or bags over your hand. Try not to break up the poop.
- Pre-treat the area with an enzymatic pet cleaner. Let it soak in for 5-10 minutes.
- Scrub the area with clean rags or paper towels. Use a carpet or upholstery cleaning brush for fabric couches.
- Rinse the area with clean water and soak up excess liquid with towels.
- Apply a 50/50 vinegar and water solution. Vinegar helps counter odors. Let’s sit briefly.
- Scrub again with enzymatic cleaner, then rinse and blot dry. Allow the couch to fully air dry before using.
For tough stains or odors, consider hiring professional upholstery and carpet cleaners. They have commercial-grade cleaning solutions and tools.
If your couch has removable cushion covers, take them off and machine wash them according to label directions. Use enzymatic laundry boosters in the wash cycle.
Preventing Repeat Couch Pooping Incidents
Consistency and prevention are key to permanently ending your dog’s habit of pooping on the couch. Here are some extra tips to stop repeat occurrences:
- Feed your dog on a predictable schedule rather than free-feeding. This promotes regular bathroom habits.
- Stick to a daily routine that includes walks, playtime, and training. Dogs thrive on routines.
- Avoid scolding or punishing your dog after the fact for pooping on the couch. They won’t connect the punishment to something that has already happened. Redirect them next time instead.
- Rule out medical causes like UTIs, diarrhea, and loss of bowel control. Your vet can provide treatment options.
- Use baby gates, crates, leashes and doors to prevent couch access when you can’t actively supervise. Limit opportunities.
- If behavioral issues are suspected, consult an accredited dog trainer or behaviorist for customized guidance.
- Be patient! For dogs lacking house training, it can take 4-6 months of consistency to break old habits.
FAQs About Dogs Pooping on the Couch
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about dogs pooping on couches:
Why does my dog only poop on the couch and nowhere else?
Dogs may preferentially poop on soft, absorbent surfaces like couches and rugs. They likely find it comfortable compared to bare floors. Some dogs also pick a particular piece of furniture to treat as their toilet.
What home remedy will get rid of dog poop smell?
Enzymatic cleaners work best to neutralize odors and residue from dog poop. Home remedies like vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda also help remove smells when used properly. Avoid ammonia-based cleaners.
How do I locate all the poop stains on my couch?
Check for stains in cushion creases and along the bottom/inner sides of couches where dogs can sneak away. Blacklights illuminate dried urine and feces stains so you can pinpoint areas to clean.
Why does my senior dog suddenly poop on the couch?
Loss of bowel control is common in older dogs due to declining mobility, cognitive issues, and medical conditions. Talk to your vet about medication or doggy diapers to manage incontinence issues. Restrict couch access in the meantime.
What professional service cleans dog poop out of furniture?
Look for local professional companies specializing in deep cleaning carpets and upholstery. Make it clear you need pet waste removal services. Be prepared to pay extra for them to sanitize and deodorize furniture.
The Takeaway on Dogs Pooping on Couches
Dogs pooping on the couch can turn your furniture into an awful, smelly mess. While frustrating, this problem is fixable with consistent training and management. Prevent access, reward outdoor potty habits, add exercise, clean thoroughly, and get veterinary help if it persists. With time and effort, you can break this nasty habit for good! Just stay patient and committed to maintaining clean, healthy indoor living with your furry friend.
Hopefully, this comprehensive guide gave you all the tools needed to permanently end couch pooping. The key is addressing the underlying causes, whether it’s inadequate house training, medical issues, or lack of exercise. Combining prevention, positive reinforcement, and veterinary guidance, most dogs can overcome this understandably disruptive behavior. Just remember to always redirect and reinforce the right habits. With a lot of love and patience, both you and your dog will be able to relax on a clean, poop-free couch once again.