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Let's Talk About "Dirty Dogs"

For those in the dog training or dog professions, you may already be familiar with the term “Dirty Dog,” but this blog post will be more geared towards those pet owners unfamiliar with the term.



The term “Dirty Dog” refers to a dog that has learned to be comfortable urinating and defecating in its living space. These dogs may also be okay with stepping in, laying in, and even eating their own feces.


Pretty gross right?


The reason why “Dirty Dogs” are such a big deal is because of a few reason. It is really annoying to constantly have to clean up pee and poo out of your dog’s kennel or living space. Its equally annoying to continually have to bath your dog when they get poo or pee on themselves. And the last reason is because fixing this problem is extremely difficult.

On average, we can potty train a normal dog to go to the bathroom in appropriate areas such as grass, gravel, or even a potty station in 2-7 days. Dirty dogs often take longer to relearn where to go potty, and it also takes much more participation on the part of the person doing the training.


Your average adult dog will get potty breaks regularly throughout the day, often in conjunction with their training sessions. Puppies will usually go out every 1-2 hours throughout the day and maybe a couple times at night.


Dirty Dogs will likely receive many more potty opportunities. The goal is often to give the dog as many opportunities to successfully potty in an appropriate area and then reap the rewards of the behavior! Training is all about providing positive feedback for good behavior.



The biggest obstacle for training dirty dogs is that they have learned that going potty in the kennel is appropriate. Many dirty dogs will intentionally hold their bladder until they are returned to their kennel and then immediately relieve themselves. This is what can make retraining dirty dogs so difficult and frustrating at times.


Why do some dogs become "Dirty Dogs"

Normally, healthy dogs will not want to touch, step in, and especially not lay in the mess of their own making. However, unfortunately it is almost always human error or neglect that teaches dogs that this is appropriate.


Many cases of dirty dogs come from hoarding situations, puppy mills, or other situations where dogs are left in their kennels at all times without access to a potty area. These dogs learn that where they live is where they potty.


In addition to the fact that we have to reprogram the dog to understand that the kennel is not an appropriate potty area, and also generalize that all grassy areas are appropriate potty areas, we still have some of the difficulties with training any dog.


These difficulties include determining what motivates that dog and what does that dog value most. For many dogs, a tasty treat is a great reward, while other dogs may not care much about the treat. While working on kennel training, many dogs long for the great out doors and a exuberant play session, while other dogs may hate the outdoors, especially if its is cold or rainy outside.


So, if you are having problems with your dog pottying in an inappropriate place, and you are struggling to help your dog get it right, you are not alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help.



At Airborne K9, we are willing to spend the sleepless nights and the numerous potty breaks in the rain and snow to help your dog learn the appropriate places to potty.

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