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Why Does My Dog Poop on Concrete? 8 Possible Reasons

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Labrador pooping on a sidewalk

Your dog may be smart and took no time at all to house train, but then you notice them pooping on the sidewalk. You shrug it off as a one-time occurrence and carry on. If it begins to happen repeatedly, it looks like your dog may have found a new bathroom!

If this isn’t something your dog has done, you may not see the big deal. However, when a dog uses concrete for its bathroom, it looks terrible, gets stepped on, and gets all over your car tires if it’s on the driveway.

Below, we will take a look at eight possible reasons your dog may be using concrete as their bathroom. For each reason, we will suggest a potential solution. Then we will discuss how you can build good bathroom habits with your furry family member.

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Top 8 Reasons Dogs Poop on Concrete:

1. Marking

dog peeing on concrete
Image Credit: Kwan Kajornsiri, Shutterstock

We often associate dogs peeing with marking their territory. Pooping is another way they do this. By leaving their poop, a dog lets other animals in the area know that the space belongs to them. Dogs are clever animals, so they know that leaving poop on concrete versus the grass will get noticed, and the smell is stronger.

While it’s often a territory thing, marking can also be a form of communication between dogs. When they leave their scent, they are saying, “I was here.” And it’s gross, but sometimes if a dog rolls in another dog’s poop, it’s almost as if they’re saying, “No. I was here,” back at the other dog.

Possible Solution:

It’s pretty hard to prevent a dog’s natural tendency to mark its territory. However, there are products on the market that you can spray to act as a deterrent for specific areas.

2. Bad Habits

Dogs are creatures of habit, and when they are used to going to poop in a certain place, they will choose similar areas to poop and pee. For example, if you live in a rainy climate and the dog has the option to poop on concrete out of the rain, they may choose to poop there instead of in the yard.

Even after the rain goes away and life gets back to normal, those habits might stick, and the dog may then choose to poop anywhere it finds concrete.

Possible Solution:

The best way to break a dog’s bad habit is to build new ones with it. So, instead of getting your dog in trouble for pooping on the concrete, redirect it and build new habits of doing its business on the grass instead. Also, make sure you’ve cleaned up the concrete, so the dog doesn’t associate the scent with a bathroom area.

3. Tall Grass

Vizsla dog sitting in tall grass
Image Credit: Ivanova N, Shutterstock

Sometimes life carries on, we lose track of the yard chores, and the grass grows out of control. Some dogs enjoy a bathroom break in tall grass. It gives them privacy and keeps them out of sight. However, most dogs won’t want their butt being tickled by grass while going to the bathroom, especially if you’ve previously always kept the grass short. It comes back to the routine thing—if short grass is the norm, that’s what your dog will expect.

Possible Solution:

If the tall grass is driving Fido to the concrete walkway, cutting the grass is the simplest solution.

4. Grass is Wet or Frozen

Ever used an outhouse in the middle of the winter? If you haven’t, we wouldn’t recommend it. Many dogs are uncomfortable in cold temperatures, especially if the grass is wet or frozen. Some dogs are stubborn, and they will hold their poop until conditions improve, while others just find somewhere else—like your cement walkway or the driveway.

The biggest thing here is comfort because many dogs don’t enjoy getting their paws wet, muddy, or cold. So, if it’s wet or cold, the grass could be uncomfortable for them.

Possible Solution:

There isn’t anything we can do to control the weather. However, if there is a spot in your yard that doesn’t get as much rain or isn’t frozen, encourage your dog to go to the bathroom in those spots.

5. Age

chocolate and white havanese dog standing on a concrete floor
Image Credit: Shane Coughlan, Shutterstock

If there isn’t any apparent reason your dog has begun pooping on concrete, and they have usually done their business on the grass, age is a potential issue. If your dog is young, you can rule this one out. However, bathroom training may only be one problem if your furry friend is getting up there in years.

Just like humans, dogs can also get dementia. When their cognitive function declines, they start to do strange things and act out of character—where they go to the bathroom, for example.

Age-related illnesses like this demonstrate the importance of taking your dog for regular checkups at the vet. A vet will be able to determine if cognitive decline is the root of the issues your dog is having.

Possible Solution:

We can’t cure old age for ourselves or our pets, but we can give them love and support to make them comfortable in their old age.

6. Arthritis

Typically, arthritis is another problem we would expect to see in an older dog, but it’s not limited to age. Pooping on grass may be the easiest thing to do for your dog. It might be hard to imagine, but if they are in a lot of pain, walking out into the yard could be difficult because it is soft and uneven. So, they choose to use the sidewalk as a bathroom instead because it’s flat and hard.

Possible Solution:

There is no cure for arthritis, but if you think your dog may be suffering from it, you can talk to your vet about medication to ease the pain. Other things that help with arthritis pain are a good diet and gentle exercise.

7. Untrained Puppy

puppy sitting near poop
Image Credit: cunaplus, Shutterstock

Puppy does what puppy wants. This extends to their bathroom habits. If you’ve ever owned a puppy, you’re probably familiar with training pads and accidents around the house. Training outside is no different. If you take a puppy outside, they will poop and pee wherever it strikes their fancy until you show them where to go.

Unfortunately, unless you bought your dog from a reputable breeder, there is a good chance it was originally from a puppy mill. These places don’t give new puppies the option of grass. The puppy usually lives in a concrete area and is given a newspaper to do its business. So, when you bring the puppy home, the most familiar thing to them may be your sidewalk.

Possible Solution:

House training a puppy takes commitment and diligence. Once you train your puppy to use the grass as his bathroom, you should be good to go unless one of the other problems in this list pops up.

8. Negative Experience

When something bad happens to us, we learn to associate certain things with bad experiences. This idea is no different for dogs. Your backyard is filled with creepy crawlies that bite and sting. You probably wouldn’t like it if your ankle got bit while you were taking a poop! If this happens to a dog, they could relate the negative experience to pooping in the grass. Then pooping on concrete becomes the safer option for them.

Possible Solution:

You can gently encourage your dog to use a different area of the yard as its bathroom to break this habit of concrete pooping.

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How to Yard Train Your Dog

Maybe you’re trying to figure out how to get your dog to stop pooping on the concrete, or perhaps you want to train it to use the lawn before you have that problem. Either way, here are three tips for getting your dog yard trained.

french bulldog training outdoor
Image Credit: Nannycz, Shutterstock

Move Their Poop to The Lawn

If your dog has already picked up the bad habit of pooping on the sidewalk, one way is to move their poop to the area you want them to use. The dog will smell their own smell and associate the spot with a safe place to poop.

Don’t forget to clean the concrete well when you do this. Even after you move the poop, they will be able to smell it. If this becomes a problem, cleaners are available that will neutralize the smell better than washing it away with water can. An enzymatic cleaner is a great option to effectively eliminate odors.

Accompany Them Outside

It’s more convenient to open the door and let your dog outside to do their business. But a great way to train them to poop on the grass is to go out with them. If they are obedient and come when they’re called, keep calling them to you where you want them to poop until they do. If a tougher approach is needed, keep them on the leash until they poop.

When they poop where you want them to, ensure you’re giving them extra love and praise, so they associate doing their business in that spot with praise from their human.

liver cocker spaniel dog ongoing training
Image Credit: Shirebrook Photography, Shutterstock

Pee Pads Aren’t Only for Inside

If you have a puppy, you probably have some extra pee pads kicking around; if not, they aren’t super expensive to purchase. If your dog already has the bad habit of pooping on the sidewalk, place a puppy pad down. As it uses the pad for its business, move the pad further into the yard until you have the dog pooping where you want.

Again, the key here is to praise the dog when they do what you’re asking, which is using the pee pad at first, then when they are using the spot in the yard they’re supposed to.

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As we’ve seen, there are several potential reasons that your dog has decided to start pooping on concrete. It may even be a combination of a few reasons. Dogs may not be able to understand us and have a conversation, but they can certainly learn things. As long as we have the patience to correct their behavior, we can do it lovingly without causing more problems.

Featured Image Credit: a katz, Shutterstock

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