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For background, I have a 2 year old Siberian Husky and she is the love of my life, we hike a lot and have another dog she plays with throughout the day PLUS daily walks and play time in our backyard.

My first main problem is that she will excessively go potty in the house, she knows and has gotten me to ask to go outside (stands in my doorway, I ask if she needs to go potty ~outside~ and she gets excited), but I think it’s the word "outside" that gets her happy. But if I can’t go out right away, like if I’m in the middle of painting and need 2 minutes to finish up, she will not hesitate to go down stairs and pee and poop (mostly pee); she seems to do it just out of spite. And then she comes right upstairs and hides under my bed (that’s her safe place and where her bed is, I’ve made it a rule to not touch her or mess with her when she’s under there for boundaries). She also has a crate that we rarely use in my room as well. Anyhow, when she does that I know immediately what she has done.

Now, my question is: what can I possibly do? I’m planning to move in September, and I don’t want to leave her behind, but no apartment will except a dog who does this! I feel like I’ve done EVERYTHING, when we first started potty training we had an actual trainer and we were bringing her out on the leash and staying in the same circle for her to go potty and it worked, but then her behavior started not soon after once again. And it seems to be like: one month she will be good and the next she isn’t. We’ve resorted to crate, to making her sit and watch me clean it, to acting like she didn’t do it and bring it outside in her usual potty spots, there are no known health problems at all.

She’s otherwise a great dog, except for at night. Which brings me to my next question. How do I get my dog to listen to me when it’s bedtime? At night, we go outside and I can usually get her to pee and then we go upstairs she knows the routine, I turn on an enrichment robotic toy she loves for about 20 minutes (it’s automatic) and I lay down in my bed and then after she will lay down in hers. 5 minutes will go by and she’s up by my door staring into my soul. And I mean STARING and pacing if I ignore her, so it makes me think she needs to poop so I bring her outside once again (she never goes and we stand outside in the same spot for 30 minutes). And she will do this at least 3 times before I lose it and just put her in the crate and that usually does the trick and I unlock it while she’s asleep or finally calm, so she can wake me up in the morning. However, it is really tiring at night to keep doing this. It happens maybe 3-4 times a week.

Added things to say, I guess, is that she has all her shots, is fixed, has a great diet of meat and kibble with fish oil (she gets this in the morning, but only kibble and fish oil later on in the day).

We don’t have a potty schedule, but we do go out around the same days, first thing in the morning 6:30-7:00, and the noon she goes out whenever she wants or whenever my elderly dog wants which is often, and then before bed. PLEASE HELP ME. I am definitely considering getting a behaviorist, but if I’m being honest I don’t think I can afford it at all.

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    Hi welcome to Pets, I don't have an answer, but I have to say that she definitely doesn't do anything out of spite; it isn't dogs' trait, they do it to express anxiety, fear, medical problems, etc. I believe that her behavior is frustrating, but please don't attribute malice to it. – lila Feb 25 at 3:39
  • Also, getting her to watch you clean the urine and feces later nor anything done in that manner (I mean, with a time interval in between) won't work because dogs are not mentally capable of associating the two events that are separate in time like that. Dog cannot connect the lines and deduce that the second event of you cleaning her waste is a result of the first event of her having released the waste; any behavioral corrections must be applied while or immediately after the act to make her realize the connection. – lila Feb 25 at 3:41
  • Yes I know that now, we’ve stopped that awhile ago, the thing is she’s super sneaky when she does this and there’s no way to catch her in the act. I just added some things that we’d done in the past to show we’ve tried everything we know. Right now we’ve just been silently cleaning up and leaving Poop outside in her circle and leash walking her outside not allowing her to play or giving her attention till she goes and she’s gets a treat and “good girl” but it’s us standing out there at least 5 hours I day I swear – CareRich Feb 25 at 13:24
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Let's tackle the second problem first, it seems easier.

You taught her a routine:

  1. When it's evening, you go out to potty
  2. When you come back inside, you play a very, very fun game for some time
  3. When the game is over, you go to sleep.

Your dog is simply trying to start again at step 1 so she can have step 2 again. She is very intelligent and manipulates you into letting her go outside (she clearly doesn't need to) in hopes of getting the toy again as a reward.

As with small children, I would avoid too much excitement at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Either stop giving her the toy in the evening, or crate her immediately after the game ended.


To the peeing inside, that's more complicated.

First you need to understand that dogs are roughly as intelligent as a toddler who cannot speak yet.

Dogs don't do anything "out of spite". They simply don't have the mental capacity for spite. Letting her watch you cleaning up the mess is utterly useless because your dog also doesn't have the mental ability to feel guilty about what she did. She does recognize that there's a puddle of pee on the floor, but she's not aware (anymore) that she is the reason why the puddle is there.

The reason why she hides immediately under the bed is to avoid your reprimand. Not because she knows that she did something wrong, but because she knows you get angry every time you see pee inside the house. She simply doesn't want to be around when you see the pee. She doesn't want to be crated when you see the pee. She doesn't want to be made to sit and watch you clean it. She cannot comprehend that you wouldn't need to get angry if she didn't pee in the house.

Keep your new apartment clean

Unfortunately she learned that there are 2 places to go potty: outside and downstairs. She's not aware that she's not allowed to downstairs. That's why she doesn't wait for you to open the door. If the master bathroom is unavailable, she simply uses the guest bathroom.

What makes a place to a dog bathroom is the smell of urine or feces. Your new apartment doesn't smell of either, and you must keep it that way. If she goes potty in your new apartment, clean it with an enzymatic detergent that destroys the smell.

Establish a routine

Dogs love routines just as much as humans. If you schedule a few potty times and always let her out at the same time every day, the chances that she goes potty inside are much lower.

You don't have to wait until she did her business. If she doesn't need to go, there's no point in waiting. But just a 5 minutes break outside is enough to at least offer her to do the right thing.

Reward doing her business outside

You already know she absolutely loves the automatic toy. Why don't you reward her for going potty outside with a few minutes of play with the toy? Of course you must not reward her for soiling the house. That gives her a strong incentive to go outside instead of peeing inside.

Don't let her wait too long

Are you honestly not able to interrupt your painting for the few seconds it takes to open the door? If you really need to go 2 minutes feel like an eternity. Please try to accommodate her needs a little more, especially if she has a history of soiling the house.

Of course it would be more convenient to let her wait just 2 minutes until you're finished with whatever you're doing, but compare that to the inconvenience of cleaning up her mess afterwards.

Make sure she doesn't use an alternative potty place

In addition to all the above, you can teach her to sit and stay at the door until you open it. That's an easy way to make sure she doesn't turn around and pees inside the apartment, but it only works if she's obedient and it won't work for too long (you cannot make her wait for half an hour like that).

Are there unknown medical issues?

Lastly, please consider getting her checked for any UTI. If she has a mild urinary tract infection she might not display any symptoms, but it would make holding her pee painful for her. That could be a possible reason why she doesn't wait for you to open the door.

If everything else fails

If you cannot get her out of the habit, you can at least protect the flooring in your new apartment with potty pads. But there's always the problem that she needs to pee in the apartment at least once for you to know where the pad needs to be placed. And then there's the risk that she still misses the pad... This is also a financial matter.

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