Why Does My Potty-Trained Dog Poop in My In-Laws House?

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husky poops in inlaws house

Potty training can be surprisingly tricky business. What do you do when your pup seems to be potty trained in your house, but has accidents everywhere else?

In today’s “Ask a Behavior Consultant,” we cover this exact question. Our reader writes,

My female won’t poop inside at home but every time I take her to play with my in-laws dogs she poops in their house. Even after we’ve taken her outside. What can I do to keep her from doing this?

– Sincerely, Aggravated Husky Owner

It sounds like we’ve got a case of incomplete housetraining on our hands!

Sometimes, dogs learn not to pee or poop inside of just one area, but it doesn’t translate over to all other buildings.

No offense intended, but it’s also possible that the in-laws house smelled like a dog bathroom.

If the in-laws have ever had a dog that had accidents indoors, our writer’s Husky might have smelled that and started going indoors. This could be the case if previous tenants had a dog that had accidents as well.

Here’s how to stop your dog from pooping in someone else’s house:

1. Super-Clean The House.

If the house smells like a Husky outhouse, the Husky will keep having accidents.

Use Clean Carl’s or other pet-specific cleaner.

Normal household cleaners might clean up the spot and smell to human noses, but pet-specific cleaners are necessary to ensure that your dog can’t smell the bathroom anymore.

2. Use the Umbilical Training Method Indoors.

Whenever you’re at the in-law’s house, keep your Husky on a short leash. I use a tether that I can attach to my belt, the couch, or doors.

This allows me to keep very close watch over the dog to ensure she doesn’t go potty indoors.

When you notice your dog circling, sniffing, or squatting, hurry up and get her outside!

If she does have an accident indoors, don’t punish her – this just teaches her that going to the bathroom near you is a dangerous idea. Just clean up and be a bit more watchful next time.

Take your dog outside on a regular schedule – every hour or so. Try to be boring and patient during these bathroom breaks, but encourage some walking to get things moving, if you catch my drift.

If you can’t use the umbilical training method, put your Husky in an exercise pen or crate. Close doors and ensure she can’t sneak off.

3. Reward Heavily for Outdoor Bathroom Breaks.

When your Husky does go potty outdoors, reward heavily for that. I like to trade pork for potty.

If you’re not paying her well for going to the bathroom outdoors, she can’t know that that’s the goal!

Incomplete potty training is pretty common.

If you treat each problematic area like normal potty training and start from scratch, though, you’ll quickly see success.

6 thoughts on “Why Does My Potty-Trained Dog Poop in My In-Laws House?”

  1. I strongly disagree with the in laws house smelling like a “potty”
    My brother two dogs come to my moms BRAND NEW built house that NO pets have ever been in, and they both poop on the floor.

  2. My small dog is 14 months old & so far he has pooped in 2 relatives’ homes. Because of covid he’s hardly been to many other homes. My daughter has a young cat and as soon as we arrive the two of them play crazily together. But shortly after our guy will poop, usually in a bedroom. We always run him and have him do his business before we go into the houses but it seems to make no difference. He has a ball there but I’m wondering if its the excitement? Somewhere I read if the dogs get really excited (not just anxious) they might poop. Any thoughts on this theory? (the cat has the run of the house & I hate, as a guest, to make them segregate their pet in the hopes ours won’t poop)

    • Hi Joanne, it sounds likely that your pup is either not 100% puppy trained to generalize to all other indoor spaces (VERY common at this age), or is too excited. Does the problem happen even if he’s not playing with the cat and all excited??

  3. My dog goes everywhere with me. We stayed over at friends and family’s house quite a few times, even at hotels and she doesn’t use the potty. At my mom’s old house and now even at her new place she uses the bathroom indoors. I just simply think that my dog doesn’t like her.

  4. My sisters 8 year old dog has always pooped and peed in every place I’ve ever lived. She also poops and pees inside at my parents house. We keep clean homes and the dog seems potty trained at other places. What’s her issue?

    • Hey Alec — there are a few possibilities. One is that the dog simply needs to be reinforced for pottying outside in these new environments. Some dogs struggle to generalize all indoor locations as non-pottying areas, so simply go back to the basics with new locations. It could also be that the dog is stressed in these new locations and is having accidents due to stress.


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