Dog being scolded for peeing

Should you rub a dog’s nose in its pee or poop?

Are you in the process of potty training your puppy? Then you’ve no doubt heard about the practice of rubbing your puppy’s nose in pee or poop as a method of training them to do their business in the right place. The question is, does this practice really work? Can it really make your new pup start pooping where you want him to or is it simply nothing more than a cruel tactic to train dogs out of fear?

Should You Rub Your Dog’s Nose in Poop?

The short answer: no.

The long answer: Rubbing your dog’s nose in poop may seem like a quick way to effectively potty train him, but according to experts, this practice is neither effective nor ethical. In fact, some say doing this can actually put your dog’s potty training process multiple steps behind.

For starters, rubbing your dog’s nose in feces is essentially a cruel form of punishment that will teach your dog to fear you. He may even hide when he feels he needs to go. That’s how much you’ll terrify him.

Next, it’s not instinctive for a dog to relieve themselves outside. He’s young, and he’s still learning. It is your job as his guardian to teach him in a gentle and understanding way that doesn’t involve cold-hearted punishment. C’mon guys, if you wouldn’t do it to your human baby, why would you do it to your furry baby? In my mind, it’s the same thing.

With regards to potty training your pup, you must be patient. I know it’s super annoying when you’re just going out the door to work and then you smell something iffy…which just ends up being dog poop. I get it, I really do! It’s not like I haven’t been there numerous times before! But you need to remember that dogs do not automatically understand the routine in your house. They don’t know that they’re supposed to go outdoors to do their business. It is entirely up to you as a dog owner to properly train your dog.

What About Rubbing Dog’s Nose in Urine?

The short answer: no.

The long answer: When potty training your pup, you must try to see the world through his or her eyes. Young pups aren’t much different to babies. They don’t have sufficient bladder control until they mature, which is why they may end up peeing in unpleasant places like on their bed, on your bed, or on the carpet. Think of puppies as human babies without diapers. When they need to go, they need to go, and unfortunately it’s not usually where you want them to.

Would you scold a baby for having an accident while not wearing a diaper? Hopefully not! People would call it “inhumane.” So why are pups any different? Why is it okay to scold them when you would scold a human baby for doing exactly the same thing? It’s certainly not okay.

It’s worth getting to know the physiology of potty training as a whole. In normal adult dogs, urine accumulates until it reaches a certain point, and that’s when stretch receptors in the bladder wall activate. When this happens, the destrusor muscles of the bladder wall contract making dogs feel the urge to pee. This is when house trained dogs would head to their potty area and do their deed or stand in front of the door to be let out to pee.

Adult dogs are able to control the muscular sphincter found in the bladder, which allows them to hold the urine until they find somewhere they can go. It also prevents pee from seeping out. Once your dog arrives in the potty area, he can relax the muscular sphincter and finally urinate.

In young puppies, this bladder control isn’t possible. By the time the bladder wall receptor stretching takes place, a pup’s bladder is already emptying. It’s not their fault, it’s just that they are too young to be able to control the muscles of their sphincter, and that’s what they get punished for.

Does the Method Actually Work?

You may have met dog owners who swear by this process for potty training their dog. In some situations, it can be successful. However, you must remember that this is an abusive training method that only works because it’s training a dog out of fear. That doesn’t mean it’s the correct way to potty train your dog.

Sometimes, it doesn’t even work at all. Dogs end up so fearful of their owners, which leads to stress and that makes it incredibly difficult for them to control their bowel or bladder. There are some cruel owners out there who would abandon a dog that does not respond in a positive way to this horrible practice.

Ultimately, rubbing a dog’s nose in its pee or poop can work to an extent. However, it definitely isn’t the ethical way of potty training your pup. It’s simply nothing more than abuse.

What Happens When You Rub a Dog’s Nose in His Pee or Poop


When you rub your dog’s nose in his poop or pee as a way of expressing that he did something wrong, you won’t accomplish anything other than instilling great fear inside of him. In addition to it not always being an effective method of potty training, you’ll also cause your dog to perceive you as something terrifying. And that’s not what you want as a dog owner, is it? Surely you want a companion who adores you, not fears you.

In fact, experts say this action can sometimes scare dogs so much that they pee out of stress. He also may learn the wrong way, thinking that if he’s not allowed to do it in the living room, why not in your master bedroom instead.

Seriously, that can really happen.


Rubbing your dog’s nose into his waste an hour or two later won’t work either. Puppies, you see, don’t tend to remember doing that “accident” so putting his nose into it will most likely just confuse him rather than train him.

His brain won’t associate that accident with what you are doing now and so the lesson won’t stick. You’re far better off giving him a firm “no” when you see him in the midst of soiling rather than punishing him for it. Then, don’t hesitate to take him outside as a way of teaching him that outside is the right place to potty. Avoid rubbing his nose in poop. It is not a productive teaching method — at all!

The same goes for destructive domestic behaviors. If your dog does something naughty like ripping open the garbage bag or destroying your shoes, rubbing his nose in feces won’t do anything but confuse your pup. That’s because he simply won’t associate the behavior with the punishment.


Besides it being a truly cruel training practice, rubbing your dog’s nose in his urine or poop can also trigger aggression in him. Dogs don’t like being mistreated and certain dogs just won’t stand for it. If they don’t show aggression directly or over time, they may end up displaying antisocial behavior. Either way, they suffer for it in the long term.

If a dog is full of frustration, those negative emotions may cause him to react fiercely towards members of the home — and this could include kids and other pets.

Nothing good comes from the poop method, which is why I recommend looking for kinder, more effective alternatives for getting your dog to poop where you want him to.

Alternatives to Rubbing Dog’s Nose in Poop or Pee

In 2000, a study found that 32 percent of dog owners believe that rubbing a puppy’s nose in poop is helpful. That’s quite shocking, isn’t it? That people who claim to love dogs and treat them like a member of the family can do something as barbaric as that!

You really don’t need to dunk your dog’s nose in his mess to get him to poop outside. There are other far effective, far more ethical methods.

Gentle correction is always the best way to go when it comes to potty training. It is far better than any form of punishment. Don’t you learn better that way too? If someone were to shove your nose in your poop every time you did something wrong, would you honestly learn from that or would you just respond in fear or with aggression? I’d have to say I’d be the latter.

Remember that a puppy is not fully able to control their bladder until six months old. Accidents are only natural. However, you can train your pup on the proper place to go. Here are a few ways to get him to pee and poop outside.

  • Clean up messes thoroughly: Dogs have strong senses, and he’ll return to that spot where he urinated or pooped — if he can still smell it of course. Clean it up thoroughly so he can’t.
  • Look for the signs: Sniffing, squatting, and circling are just a few signs your pup needs to go potty. As soon as you see those signs, take him outside immediately.
  • Reward him: every time he pees or poops outdoors where he’s supposed to, give him a little treat and praise him. Show him he did good!
  • Interrupt him: if your dog begins to pee or poop inside, clap your hands or make a noise to distract him and take him outside.
  • Schedule regular potty breaks: Take him out at regular intervals and gradually increase time between the intervals if he succeeds.

There are many ways you can train a dog to go potty outside. Rubbing a dog’s nose in its pee or poop should NEVER be one of them.