How To Train A Dog To Potty In One Spot

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Picture of Puppy - Tipnut.comChoosing one area in the yard for your dog to use for potty breaks helps keep the rest of the yard nice and green, clean for kiddos to run and play in and your garden area urine free.

Here are a few tips to potty train dogs in one area:

  • First choose the area to best serve this purpose. The size of the area needed will depend on the size of the dog. A little poodle isn’t going to need the same space as a German shepherd. No hard and fast rules, but try setting aside about 6 lengths by 6 lengths (1 length = the length of dog). This gives them a little room to roam a bit as well as provide some clean area for the dog to work with if you can’t scoop between each potty break.
  • The area can be covered with grass, mulch, gravel or a surface that the dog will accept–some have no problem with just concrete or patio blocks.
  • Can an adult dog be trained to a certain spot? Yes! It’s easier with a new puppy just being house trained, but adult dogs can learn quickly too.

Training Method

  • After choosing the best location, place a scoop or two of the doggy’s ‘doo’ within the area. Make sure there are no other droppings in the yard and water the rest of the lawn very well to remove traces of past urine spots.
  • Choose a command that the dog will understand as potty time, such as “time to go potty” or “do it”, and use this command consistently.
  • When your pup shows signs of needing to go potty (like sniffing around or lowering his butt to go), attach a leash to his collar, take him outside and lead him to the area. Give the command “time to go potty”. For new pups, usually 30 minutes after meals, after exciting play time, before bedtime and first thing in the a.m. are times to go. For adult dogs you know his schedule, work with that.
  • Tip: Take the dog to the spot first thing when letting him outside and don’t let him run around to play in the yard until he’s done his business–keep him leashed. This teaches him to get his business done right away and will pay off for you down the road.
  • Each time the dog performs within the area, give lots of happy praise, playful pats and a treat. Whenever he shows signs of wanting to go in an area that’s off limits, say “no” or “not there” and lead him to his area.
  • If there’s a slip, give no praise, no treat, no attention and no play. Make sure to clean up immediately and water the area well so he won’t smell that spot.

Being consistent and watchful is key and you’ll have to hover over your dog and keep him leashed when outside for at least two weeks to make sure he consistently goes in that spot. After two weeks you can try letting the dog out without his leash and watch. If he goes directly to his spot first to take his potty break, you know the training is working. If not, keep the leash on for another week and then try without the leash again.

After a solid four weeks of perfect performance and close monitoring, you can relax and be confident that the habit is being set successfully. Still keep your eye out though and correct mistakes immediately.

Important

  • Be sure to keep the assigned area clean. Dogs aren’t too happy tip toe-ing through stacks and piles of poo and urine. They like their bathroom areas clean like we do. During training you’ll want to keep a scoop or two within the area so the dog has an idea where to go, but be diligent in keeping the rest of the area clean. Water the urine spots well with water and scoop the poop as it happens, do a daily cleaning and watering if possible. After the habit has been set, you’ll still need to do your part in maintaining the potty area or the dog will start looking elsewhere to do his business.
  • Keep affirming the behavior each time with treats and praise for at least a couple months.
  • Take regular walks with your dog so that he’s also accustomed to doing his business in back alleys or side roads and fields (remember to bring the doody bags to clean up after him). The one thing you don’t want to do is train your dog to think that there is only one spot he can ever go to the bathroom. This will be a real problem if you travel with him or have him stay elsewhere when you’re away–the dog will suffer and absolutely not go potty until his body physically forces him to. The idea is to teach your dog there’s only one place in the yard he can go, not just one place no matter what.

Be diligent, be watchful and consistent. A few weeks of training will provide a lifetime of benefit to you as a dog owner :).

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Published: March 15, 2007

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48 Comments to “How To Train A Dog To Potty In One Spot”
  1. Janelle says:

    do NOT go to the spot where the dog has pooped days before or hours even this is a comon habit but does not work

  2. Cheryl Robbertse says:

    Dog urinates and poo’s on furniture and bed. Odour impossible to get rid of. Please help, she is a delightful puppy of six months old and I find that she does it more often if I have left her alone for any length of time, even if she has access to little garden.

    Your advise would be greatly appreciated,

    Regards.

    C

    • mary says:

      THE VERY BEST, LEAST EXPENSIVE, AND ABSOLUTELY FAIL-SAFE IS A DILUTION OF ADULT (HUMAN) SHAMPOO MIXED WITH WATER. YOU DO NOT WANT TO MAKE IT TOO CONCENTRATED . IF YOUR DOG URINATES ON CARPET, FOLD A BATH TOWEL IN FOURTHS, PUT IT OVER THE SPOT AND STAND ON IT. THIS GETS MOST OF THE URINE. NOW POUR THE DILUTED SHAMPOO ON THE SPOT AND RUB IT IT. ITS ALRIGHT TO DRENCH THE SPOT(DOWN TO THE PADDING) BECAUSE NOW YOU WILL TAKE SEVERAL FOLDED TOWELS, STAND ON THEM ON THE SPOT. THE WETNESS WILL BE ABSORBED BY THE TOWELS AND ABSOLUTELY NO SCENT OF URINE WILL REMAIN.

    • rajat says:

      same prob with me ;but now i am training it in the way given at tipnut.com

    • Sonja says:

      If you want to keep the dog off of your furniture and bed (to avoid any future accidents) trying purchasing a small roll of the heavy plastic carpet runners found at the home improvments stores. You’ll want to cut off a section large enough for the particular piece of furniture. Lay the runner on the furniture with the “pricky” side up. The dog won’t think its very comfortable and soon will not return to that piece of furniture.

    • Linda says:

      Nature’s Miracle. It doesn’t damage carpet or furniture, succesfully removes stains and odors, and removes the enzymes that make dogs want to poop again in the same spot.

  3. Mark says:

    Dear C,

    I suggest you kennel train your dog, this gives your dog a bedroom and a place to be when your not home. I assure you if you buy the correct size kennel for your dog he won’t poop or pee in it. Dogs do not like to set in their own stuff. It reall isn’t a good idea to allow the dog on furniture or in your be either. when a dog is allowed in your bed he feels equal to you not submissive. So if you want to be the one in charge in your home begin kenel training, work with him on basic sit stay commands with leash about 30 min / day and take hime out to poop in the Am, Desiganete a spot for him and praise when he perfoms and keep him on leash indoors when your home kennel him when you are gone and the mess will immedeiately dissapear. Go to a local pet store and for a couple of bucks you can buy a basic dog training book that will change your life as a dog owner.

    By the way, Kennel training also makes it easy to take puppy on airplanes without the abusive stuggle I have seen at the airport where you see the owner and airport personell trying to force a dog into a kennel having never seen one before.

    Good Luck

    Mark

  4. Jo says:

    I’ve read all the tips with interest and will try to apply them to my dog. I got him a few months ago from the owners that never toilet trained him. He never relieves himself at home, but taps on the patio door when needs a poo. He doesn’t have a problem with urinating during a walk, but he will not poo anywhere else but in the garden – every time in a different spot! If I can never get rid of the habit of pooing in the garden, I need to train him to do it in the far corner, so I can actually still enjoy having a garden… but he is really stubborn, and as soon as I tell him off for trying to poo in a wrong spot, he gets all distracted and confused and doesn’t do anything any more. He just sits on the grass, looks at me and shivers (he does that a lot but isn’t a very nervous dog overall). Please help, he is a lovely dog, but I am not sure how long I can stand his toilet manners in my garden!

    Jo

  5. adriana says:

    Dear C,

    Crate training is an excellent and very sucessful potty training method – the only one i have seen that really works and quick. It teaches the pup/dog to “hold” it for periods of time and then eliminate immediately upon being led outside. It then associates potty time to “outside”- Look it up and follow it- don’t succumb to “puppy eyes” and you will see that they actually feel safe in their crate as it becomes a pleasant sanctuary as long as they have a positive experience.
    As for the odor left on your furniture- I found an EXCELLENT product- it’s called Odo-Ban and i have only found it at Sam’s Club-but let me tell you it’s cheap, comes concentrated and lasts forever, mostly- it’s a miracle product- i found it and initially bought it for my cat messes which if you are familiar with are THE WORST and nearly impossible to rid of – the cat could never find any lingering smell to go back to and always went to her litter box, not to her “accident” spots. Hope all this is helpul and good luck!
    Adriana

  6. Sue says:

    My dog is almost a year old and he has been potty trained since he was three months. For the past seven months of owning him, he has pooped and peed outside in the same spot. Once the snow came around he was a little confused but we were able to teach him he still had to go in that spot. Now that the snow melted he will not do anything at all in that one spot. He has to go to the front of the yard to pee and will not poop outside at all. He is pooping in his cage during the night now. I have no idea what to do because I feel like I have tried everything.

  7. Dawn says:

    Jo & Sue

    Congratulations on being such understanding (yeah, I know, but at least you are trying!) and stubborn (!) people!

    Jo,
    “…and as soon as I tell him off for trying to poo in a wrong spot, he gets all distracted and confused and doesn’t do anything any more. He just sits on the grass, looks at me and shivers (he does that a lot”

    Please don’t scold the dog for doing wrong. He won’t understand. Try as suggested in the article and pick up the poop and move it to where you want him to go.
    from article:
    “Tip: Take the dog to the spot first thing when letting him outside” and don’t scold. Praise when he does it where you want. Comitment is huge, and simply pick up the poop w/out any fanfare – I think someone needs to remind me about this – w/out the dog noticing you doing it- and move it to where you want it. Distracted? Nicely urge him to walk to the permitted place.

    Sue

    “He is pooping in his cage during the night now”

    Is the crate the proper size, first off? It isn’t too big, is it? I mean, where he can fill like it is a separate part of the room?

    I would try to take him out more often. He may have to go more now for whatever reason. Also, you may have to take him to the vet to make sure there isn’t a physical reason. I know, always the popular advise! ;(

    Thank you all for caring so much about your pets and the patience you have for them. They are soooo worth it.

    Jo, I tear up thinking how wonderful it was for you to rehome a dog. They are the ones who seem to be more grateful, as if they realize they have a 2nd chance. I wish there where more out there like you, Jo, or at least those who when they get a pet are prepared to put in the effort and love needed. There is a quote I love and it goes something like this:

    We give them the time and room we can spare, and in return they give us everything they have.”

    I have now had a total of three dobies from Doberman Rescues, and I every day thank ( ) for them!

    Thank you!

  8. Lori says:

    We have trained our dog to use one spot for a bathroom. She will run there to go poop, but always poops in exactly the same spot. But recently she resist going to the bathroom at all there. She will hold it and pee little amounts inside the house. She will go poop there if it’s a must, but would prefer going on a walk. It stinks horribly, any ideas for that? Also, she will pee in her kennel occasionally. The kennel is not too big for her, although it was too big when she was in it as a puppy. Are we just too late?

  9. sheri says:

    Thank you for some wonderful tips! My dog pops in the one area at home but it’s on the grass where my children play, today I’m going to attempt to get her to start using the concreted area down the side of the house. Georgie is 8, adorable but a handful when we go for a walk. She gets really nervous and either is constipated or gets the runs, it’s impossible to pick up. I’ve spent a fortune on training but she just isn’t good socially, she is constantly on the look out for other dogs and nearly yanks my arm off to get to them when she sees one. Its so frustrating! I know she just wants to socialise but if the other dog growls she attacks, if the other dog is quiet she’ll pull me over to it, sniff and show whose boss then let me walk on. She’d be a perfect dog if she pooped on the concrete, played nice with other dogs and picked up after herself when we go for a walk!!

  10. smileyj says:

    Oh boy, I sure hopes this works because our lawn is piling up with poop and my son just told me how annoying it is. We pick up daily but really, it would be a whole lot nicer to walk in the lawn by the play equipment and not pick up anything else, if you know what I mean.

    We have a mastiff that is very well potty trained at 9 weeks. I will hope to train her to one area.

    Thanks for all the advice.

  11. Barry says:

    My wife and I have just rescued a bichon/poodle mix and he is a great little dog. A happy guy. We think he is about 1 year old and he is house-broken. I walk him about 4 times a day and he gets lots of exercise outside.

    He has a weird habit of squatting down to poop and constantly turning in a circle while he is doing his business and sniffing the ground. I have had several dogs in my life, and none of them have exhibited such a strange “dance” while pooping.

    Do you have any suggestions for reigning in this behavior? It is weird looking and the dog is always stepping in his own poop and the poop is spread around all over the place making it difficult to pick up (a plop here, a drop there). Any ideas to stop the dance so he can poop in one spot like most dogs?

    Please help,

    Barry

  12. cherish says:

    Is there any other tip to help make the puppy want to poo in the potty spot?? My 9 week old boxer seems to dislike the potty area and sits and longingly stares at the rest of the yard. If I have him on a leash, he will happily poo anywhere in the yard BUT the potty spot. I am so frustrated. I have tried putting his poo in the potty spot, he could not care less. It breaks my heart to see him so sad and he is starting to dislike being on the leash because all we do is go to the potty spot to wait for him to poo. He would rather sit in his crate. Any advice is appreciated.

  13. Ls says:

    My Dog Is Now 7Monts Old Now And Hes Still Peeing And Pooping In The House Every Time We Catch Him Goin Toilet In The House We Shout At Him And Tell Him No Bold Boy And He Dose Go In This 1 Spot In The Back Garden And Every Time He Gos In That Spot We Give Him Alot Of Praise And Tell Him Good Boy And Give Him A Treat But It Dosnt Seem To Work Because He Still Go’s In The House Can You Give Me Some Advise

    Signed LS.

  14. Kathy K says:

    Our dogs have decided to poop in our driveway. The strange thing is that instead of leaving a pile of poop in one location, they both drop bits of poop all over the place! We can’t figure out why and it’s really tough to clean it up. Has anyone seen something like this? How do we deal with it? Both dogs are rescue dogs. We’ve had one for 3 years now and the other for 2. They are great dogs in every other respect. Help!

  15. Terie says:

    WOW this is good stuff. My new dog, yellow lab is 3 and she is great but I noticed that in the last two days that we’ve had her she’s pooped in the same general area of the yard, now I just need to work on moving that area further back and away from the center so no one accidentally steps in poop. She’s a great dog so I think the learning process will be quick and effective.

    Thank You.

  16. Sandy says:

    Ok… so what do you do if your dog REFUSES to do anything in the chosen spot?? I spent over 4 hours today trying to get him to go – and he had to go given his behavior – and he simply refused to budge. At one point, I let him roam free on in the yard (leashed) and as soon as he began to squat, I quickly moved him to the spot. No good… he just sat there and refused to continue. So frustrating!!

    Thanks,
    Sandy

  17. myrrh says:

    Hello,
    I have a 10 year old Pointer. She used to have a spot in the yard up until 3 years ago when I left the house and no one bothered to take her on daily walks. Since then she’s been pooping all over and I can’t get her to stop. I tried going back to taking her on daily walks and re-training her but now she has gastro problems and poops over 3 to 4 times a day. Also she’s too tiered to go on long walks and doesn’t always poop at that time.
    Is there something else I could do? Is there a pet-friendly chemical or biological solution?
    Thanks.

  18. Omar says:

    I have a puppy about a year and a half, plus to other dogs, that are trained but the puppy when he won’t use the bathroom outside without the other dogs going with him, how do i break this habit?

  19. Lola says:

    ok so my dog Lola is like 3 years old.. she has full access to the house and the backyard…. but I just happen to re do my back yard.. meaning .. I removed all the grass.. and replaced it with like really expensive grass..
    but now that the gass is coming up .. she is peeing and pooping all over the place.. any ideas on how I can change her ways?????????? PLEASE LET ME KNOW

  20. Duffy says:

    my dogs stay out side in a large dirt kennel for most of the day and will never go to the bathroom in the kennel . but when I let them out the first thing they do is use the grass . I tried to put poo in the kennel but that’s not working

  21. James says:

    I have 2 female dogs, 1 is 12 months old and a puppy at 12weeks old. The older girl is well behaved after alot of effort, the pup was toilet trained but is now an outside dog. She started of really well doing her business on the lawn, but now she has started going on the outdoor area pavers! I clean it up and wash it down but she keeps on doing it. I figured it might be as we have had really bad rain storm etc. What am I to do?

  22. Hala says:

    My problem is similar to James above. I have a 16 week puppy who no longer pees inside which is great. The problem is he poos and pees everywhere outside. We have created a astro turf patch on the side of the courtyard for him and when supervised he will pee on it but when we are at work or not watching him, he will pee everywhere on the outdoor tiles. Also, he will not poo on the turf and goes everywhere (AND I MEAN everywhere) on the outdoor tiles. The strange thing is, he sometimes is pooing near their food bowls, or outdoor bed which I have read dogs don’t like to do… Any help or suggestions for me would be so appreciated! Thanks :)

    • Angela says:

      We have the same problem. Did you ever find a solution? Our puppy was born in the pound, so her mother never had the chance to teach her proper den behavior. She is an outside dog who goes wherever she happens to be at the time, including our porch or sidewalk. She will even poop close to her food bowl, as you said your dog did. Any help would be appreciated.

  23. Billie says:

    My dog is about 4 years old. I got her when she was 2. She is a Llaso Apso and I take her walking twice a day. She urinates several times on our walks and she will usually poop one time. Problem is, she thinks she can only poop on our walks. She will never poop in our yard. So when it is bad weather or I am sick and cant taking her walking….she will not poop….at all. I have no idea what to do to change this. Pleas give me some ideas. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Tammy says:

      This is just a guess as I’ve never tried it but maybe you could take the poop from your walks and put it in the section you want him/her to go and see if that works. praise them when they get near it. etc…

  24. Joe says:

    Hello,

    I like to think I am a pretty good trainer when it comes to dogs. My problem is this: I have a 3 year old Rottweiler who is trained pretty well. My wife wanted to get a cockerspaniel so now we have two dogs, a Rottweiler and a cockerspaniel. We let them go potty in our yard but after a couple of years we realized out beautiful synthetic turf is not looking so good and is getting a lot of hardened poo in a lot of areas.
    So I did a lot of required research and understand the fundamentals of getting them to go where I want. I have a nice beautiful spot probably about 50 square feet or so to go potty. I even built a fence to designate it as their own potty area. The problem is this… my Rottie gets it, my cocker is stubborn. I tried the leash tactic after crating all night (they are both crate trained) and as soon as we wake up, I take them to “go potty”. The Rottie goes right away, but the cocker will wait literally for hours. I started this friday night so I had all weekend with them. On saturday morning with no other commitments but them, I actually sat outside with them trying to get the cocker to go potty after being crated all night to no avail. I finally had to let them wander but I knew the cocker would go potty and as I suspected, I seen her sniff and circle and go to pee. I told her “NO” and immediately picked her up and brought her back to the designated area. I waited for almost another 1 and a half. I had to give up because well almost after a full work day of just watching and supervising her I had to run errands. So, I figured sunday victory would be mine. Basically, the same thing happened, my rottie went pottie, my cocker didn’t.
    Long story short after months of this, I regrettfully admit I gave up. I started back up when I changed my shift from days to nights. Now, I have the entire day with them to train… and here it is again, my rottie goes, my cocker doesn’t but as soon as she is let loose, she goes to go right on my lawn. I have realized my cockerspaniel is messing up my rottweilers progress and my wife is really getting frustrated to the point of getting rid of the cocker. I have to admit it to, I sadly even almost agreed in frustration at one point when my wife revealed to me our kids can’t run and play outside because of the poops. However, I don’t feel giving up on dogs is an option. I would never give up on my kids, so whats the difference on giving up on my dog? None, I love dogs and we do not need to take on a responsibility that later we realize “oh I can’t handle this” and pass it off to someone else or even worse bring them to a shelter to most likely be horribly euthanized.
    The problem is I understand 100% where my wife is coming from. I am now even becoming very frustrated with my cocker as well and I know without a doubt that doesn’t help training.
    My question is this (after this long history report, sorry):
    How do I train both my dogs together to go potty in ONE AREA? One dog gets it, the other dog is stubborn and don’t. Please help, what do I do???

    • Rosie says:

      I dont know if you’ve researched the temperament of cocker spaniels, but from what I’ve read they can be amazingly stubborn. There are people out there who know how to fix this problem, plenty of info on the Internet on cockers. Good luck, I hope it’s not too late.

  25. jada says:

    Thanks for this article!
    My dog is 9 months old, she knows the command and will go pee when I tell her “go pee”. She has a doggy dog so she can go whenever she needs to go. The problem is that she won’t go by sheself if I don’t take her… she will go everywhere inside the house. Far from the doggy dog!
    What can I do in that case?? It is being 7 months of training and I still have an untrained dog!
    Thanks

  26. Chuck Lewis says:

    I’ll try it out. My 4 year old male German Shepherd poops in one okay area in the yard but will urinate everywhere in the yard, most annoyingly, right outside the side doggy-door, so he tracks it into the house.
    Chuck

  27. Sophia says:

    As everyone else here I have a dog that pees and poos all over the house…Basically he is a 2-month-old puppy so at first we couldn’t do anything but now it has become a lot worse and I d like to know if i can start training him.Also we are not allowed to wear a leash to the puppy because of its tiny size.
    The truth is that he does not pees or poos in the room that he sleeps but he goes to other rooms such us my bedroom..and it’s awfull! I really need some help!
    thank you in advance:)

  28. Sasha says:

    My 1 year old wheaten terrier was great at peeing in on spot on the edge of the woods for months. However, now she will not pee in that spot outside. I used praise, a verbal command, and trests which worked to train her intially. Now she wants to pee in the grass leaving those nasty spots. Today I took her out first thing this morning whith treats to that spot. I stayed out for 30 minutes. I gave her a drink. She would not pee. She smelled and then sat down. I walked her around and then back to the spot immediately. After 30 minutes I went inside and watched her out of the window. There she was peeing right in the front most visible part of the grass. Help! Does she have shy bladder? What can I do to retrain her and save my grass?

  29. Lisa says:

    Hi,

    About 6 years ago I rescued an Affenpincher (Name Snoop) from the streets. He has been horribly mistreated and as a reslut it took me close on 2 years to rehabilitate him.

    Recently snoop and I moved to townhouse which is on the second floor so we do not have a garden. We made a small area for him with grass and soil and have blocked it in with bricks, my probelm at the moment is that Snoop will not use it to go to the bathroom and as a reslut he will hold it in the whole day until I get home and take him to the park for his daily run!

    How can I get him to use the grass as a toilet for when ever he needs it?

  30. Jennifer says:

    Our puppy poops right next to the house. He is almost 5 months old and getting to big to be carried out to a spot…our problem is in the morning he can’t make it to a spot he barley makes it to the grass now he always pees right out our front door.

    • Bre says:

      Perhaps he is drinking too late into the evening…. Pick up his food & water dish after 8 pm. Take him out at least 2 more times before bed time. And real important… There is no more play time after water bowl comes up that way they don’t play hard and become thirsty, after 8 it’s wind down time. Time for gentle love and brushing, then around 9:30-10 I direct her to her kennel or bed..just like a small child has a bedtime.. It’s good for them and you and gives them structure.

  31. KK Chew says:

    Can this makes 2 dogs (male & female)to poop in same spot?

  32. sophie says:

    hi i have a japanese spitz which is 3 months and it will go potty in our house under beds. if we take is outside it is not going potty out it is stopping it. again after coming in it is doing in the same spot even if we clean it. my mother is tired of piking up his potty.what can i do to stop him not to go potty under our beds.

  33. sandra says:

    I have a 12 week yorkie and i would like for him to due his bussiness in the bathroom inside our home i work so i figure this would be the easiest way know should i follow the same rules as if training him to go outside

  34. Nelle says:

    Hello, I got my 2months old puppy and I find it hard to train him..he poops and pees anywhere in the house. He also would not poop until I get him out of the bathroom.

  35. Nancy T says:

    I put a shopkeeper’s bell, the kind that dings whenever you open the door, next to my door near the floor. Every time I took my puppy out to go potty, I kicked the bell.

    It didn’t take long for my Oreo to ding the bell himself and I would immediately take him outside whenever he did so.

    It gave him a way to tell me of his need without scratching and the door or whining.

  36. barbara says:

    We have trained our 5 month old terrier to do his business in one spot on the side of our yard. He’s doing fairly well with it, still has the occasional slip in doors but I see a consistent improvement.

    However – for the past two weeks, every other time I take him for his walk, he will squat and do his business in the middle of the road or sidewalk! I feel he thinks this is the correct thing to do as he’s not on the grass.. every time its happened I have corrected him and shown him the grass beside the sidewalk.. but so far. no luck. Any advice?

  37. Danielle says:

    My greyhound insists on going to the loo right outside my back door he wants to come in straight away obviously where he does it,i he walks right throughout it to try and get back in the house any advice?? I’ve washed the area to encourage him to find a new spot also


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