Does Rubbing a Dog's Nose in It Work?

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Whether you're housebreaking a puppy or have an adult dog who is experiencing indoor soiling issues, one thing is certain: rubbing his nose in his "mess" isn't effective for getting his behavior on track. Some owners also try this method of discipline with destructive canine behaviors such as knocking over the kitchen trashcan.


If you rub your dog's nose in his urine or stool matter as a way of indicating to him that he did something wrong, you might accomplish nothing of the sort, instead only causing your pooch to be terrified of your company. It might cause your dog to perceive you as being not only menacing, but also erratic. This action sometimes scares dogs so much that they resort to "running away" any time they feel the urge to eliminate. If your dog thinks that it's scary to urinate or pass bowel movements in the middle of the living room, he might make a beeline for your master bedroom, instead.


Rubbing a canine's nose into his waste an hour later isn't a helpful act, either. If your pup had an accident and doesn't even remember doing it anymore, putting his nose on the stuff will probably just serve to confuse him. His brain won't associate the potty incident with what you're doing right now. If you ever notice your pet in the midst of the soiling, however, you can give him a firm, yet calm "no" and then, without a second of hesitation, bring him outdoors -- a way of teaching him the right spot to potty. Don't ever rub his nose in his accident under any circumstances, however.

This also applies to destructive household behaviors. If you rub your dog's nose into the mess of garbage he made by zipping through your kitchen tipping things over, he might have no idea what the problem is, well after the fact.

Fierce Behavior

Not only can making a dog apprehensive by rubbing his nose in his elimination bring upon lots of running away, it can also sometimes lead to aggressive, antisocial and fierce patterns. If a dog is full of angst and frustration, the pent-up emotions could cause him to react fiercely toward members of the home, whether kids or fellow pets. This is not at all safe. Seek prompt assistance from a professional pet behaviorist if this describes your pet's behavior. Importantly, don't let your aggressive pooch get close to any children or animals in your home. Aggressive canine behavior can be extremely perilous, which is why it's so crucial to leave training and solving the issue to the pros.

Health Conditions

Never jump to conclusions about why your pet might be having potty woes, whether he's a tiny puppy or an adult who previously handled housebreaking just fine. A lot of different health conditions can bring upon these kinds of problems in canines -- think urinary tract infections or inflammatory bowel disease, to begin. Schedule a checkup with the veterinarian to figure out if that's indeed what's going on, the quicker the better.