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I have a 1-year-old female husky and live in a house with my girlfriend. She works from home and I'm in the office most of the week, so she does most of the dog duties while I am gone (feeding breakfast and dinner, walking, potty, etc.) On the weekends I take over as much as possible, but over the past several months the dog has stopped pooping for me. She will pee just fine, but then will wander around (leashed) sniffing things and trying to eat leaves and grass and will not poop no matter how much I try to encourage it. I've even tried walking her around the yard a few times to work it out but still have no luck. My frustrated girlfriend will then take the leash from me, do nothing different than what I did, and within a minute or less the dog has pooped.

The only thing we can think of is that she doesn't respect me for some reason, but I don't know how to fix that because I feed her 2-3 days out of the week when I'm home and I play with her daily. What is causing this behavior and how can I fix it?

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It's probably just a matter of a different routine with you.

Do you have a command to poop? Maybe your girlfriend tells her to poop in not so many words, which your dog has learned as a command. Go out with her and listen for it.

If you don't, start using one. (Mine is "go now".) When your girlfriend expects her to poop, she can watch her and say "Go now" (if she doesn't already have a phrase your dog picks up on) when the dogs starts getting in position, every time. Soon the dog will relate the command to the activity.

When you take her out, don't use the command unless you've just fed her or it's time for her to go. If you see her start to get into position, use the command.

If she doesn't poop, bring her in, and take her out again later. It will be easier when you both use the same command for the activity.

Eventually, you can get them to poop on command.

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  • We do actually have a command for it, and I have watched my girlfriend do things and made sure to imitate her as closely as possible, but no success. She used to poop for me just fine, it's only recently that it's become an issue. I want to at least try out your suggestion about just taking her back out later if she doesn't poop, maybe that will train her to know she's only got a limited amount of time to do it. – thanby Dec 1 '14 at 13:46
  • You can try to take the leash from your girlfriend as soon as the dog starts to potty and give her verbal reward for a start. – Huangism Dec 17 '14 at 15:18
  • It may also be a matter of how willing the human is to wait... – keshlam Oct 2 '16 at 20:04
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One thing I notice about your question is that you're actively encouraging the dog to poop.

If this encouragement is taking the form of praise ("Good boy! Nice job! Keep going!") then the dog is probably hearing that praise and assuming you want him to continue doing whatever he's doing at the moment, which is not pooping.

If the encouragement is happening in the form of a command ("Go now! Poop here! Get it done!") that the dog hasn't learned yet, then he's probably either completely baffled about what you're trying to communicate or he just assumes you're talking gibberish.

I suggest not giving any praise unless and until the dog does what you want (to prevent a situation where the dog sees no reason to do what you want), and I also suggest not repeating a command unless you're at least mostly certain that the dog will comply with it (to prevent a situation where the dog unlearns the command by dissociating it with the desired action).

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I find that my son's dog, who works with me everyday at the office, has the same type of behavior. He has a routine, gets dropped off, I get his kibble ready and he eats and then he goes outside for a potty break. He will pee and poo for me, sometimes poo a few times, which makes me believe that my son isn't taking him enough, or he feels safer pooing for me.

If you ever notice that a dogs will look at you when they are pooing to make sure that they are covered should there be any kind of threat. Trust is a big issue because this is the most vulnerable time for any animal and they look to see if you are there to protect or shield them from a predator. Not that this is common but its "PACK" instinct. Look up why a dog looks at you while they poo to get the full definition.

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