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Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Night terror

I don't know whether you'll be able to help, or ask someone (!), but over the past few months, my three-year-old Collie has taken to pooing during the night.

I feed her at about 6pm, she goes out before I go to bed and I have even taken to using a spray on the mat/floor in the kitchen to deter her, but no good. I am at the end of my tether and have no idea what to do!

Any suggestions would be gratefully received!

Julia Graham, via Facebook


  1. Without knowing what time you go to bed & get up, I feel unable to properly comment, but I do have some suggestions: -
    Feed her earlier?
    Have her sleep in your room so she can wake you?
    Get up earlier to take her out?

  2. Instead of trying to solve the problem, I think you need to look more into what is causing the problem. Has something changed that may have stressed her? Have you had her checked by a vet? How late do you take her out and get up?

  3. Both the above comments are worth looking at, but also is she pooing when you are not around, perhaps because she is worried about going when you are present.

    I would personally ignore any accidents that are left you, taking her away from that area before cleaning it up. Use something like a biological washing powder to clean up, as this will not leave traces of smell from where she has been, and therefore should not entice her to go in the same place again.

    Don't comment at all when she has left a poo there, as she could be associating the presence of the poo with your reaction to it, and therefore going when you aren't around.

    Now this may take a long time, but worthwhile doing, and that is to teach her to go on command, in a designated area, and then rewarding for doing it. This could involve standing around for a long time, but perhaps if she does go earlier in the day, put a command to it, and then reward.

    For overnight, dogs don't generally like to foul near their sleeping areas, so make that area as small as possible, perhaps with furniture moved to enclose or a cage or pen. Don't make this into a prison but somewhere your dog enjoys going, so perhaps feed in this area, and throw titbits into it.

  4. I have a similar problem with my dog, although she was not house trained when i got her, aged 2. I found that her food made a huge difference. Anything too rich and she will always go overnight. That included brand name complete foods. Eventually we settled with Burns which suited us fine. Now we are down to soiling about once a month max (9 years later) and that is usually when she has found something unsavoury out on a walk.

    My first question would be - has something changed - diet, walk, access to scavenging opportunities. I guess you will have taken her to the vet to rule out any medical issues...

    What I do now, recognising that my dog is an occasional poo-er, is put down a towel or paper every night in the place where she is apt to soil. That way, I don't have to worry about my own reaction as I am not bothered one way or another. If there's a mess, I'll clear it up, if not, put the towels away for another night. We have lino (the carpet was unbearable after the first 2 weeks!!)

    I realise that for some this is not ideal. People have suggested crating. However, the compromise has worked for us - I know that my dog prefers not to soil in the house, but that she will do so if she is uncomfortable. Therefore I take precautions that mean I don't have to worry either way.

    For what it's worth, i have tried feeding earlier and later, but it all seems to boil down to what she has eaten. If her stomach isn't "upset" at all she will easily go 14 hours without a toilet stop (on occasions where she has told me, in no uncertain term that she does NOT need to go when out on her pre-bedtime sortie) . In my mind, if she is uncomfortable, I'd rather she got it out, hence somewhere that it's ok to go. If my stomach was uncomfortable, I'd rather not wait until the morning... I taught my other dog to "ask" to go out, but since this happens so often with dog1, I'd rather she just get on with it and leave me to sleep!