Have any of you had this problem?
We didn’t nickname our dog Ace “The Turd Burglar” for nothing.
Ace was on medication years ago that made him hungry all the time, and we often caught him searching in the litter box for “sand biscuits.” (Update: Ace has passed away.)
We got our dog to stop getting into the litter box by:
1. Using a covered litter box.
2. Placing the litter box in a corner, facing the corner.
3. Putting up a mild barricade or obstacle. I think we just used a suitcase or a small chair, but you could also use a baby gate.
By doing those things, the cats could still easily get to their bathroom, but it was not as easy for Mr. Turd Burglar.
Thankfully, the habit eventually went away. It helped that Ace was weaned off the medication (prednisone).
Other tips for keeping a dog out of the cat’s litter box
- Scoop the litter box more often (come on, you know you should anyway!).
- Feed your dog a high-quality diet so he gets all the protein and nutrients he needs.
- Increase your dog’s exercise (physically and mentally) so he’s tired and not bored.
- Kennel/crate your dog when you can’t supervise.
- Keep the litter box in a room you can block off from your dog with the cats in it (laundry room or bathroom).
- Firmly tell your dog “no” when caught in the act. Yes, it’s OK to tell a dog no!
When saying “no” doesn’t work
If you’ve tried ignoring inappropriate behavior and rewarding good behavior and it’s just not working, here are some other ideas to try.
1. Use a squirt bottle filled with water to squirt at your dog when she steps towards the litter box.
3. If all else fails, you could try using a shock collar (e-collar) with a remote.
Oh My Gawd?! A shock collar?!
Yes. I’m not saying this is what you necessarily should do. I’m saying it’s an option, depending on the situation and how badly you want to break this habit.
I will often recommend a shock collar to stop a dog from eating poop in the yard, which is a common problem that’s difficult to stop.
Sure, I recommend you try positive reinforcement first, but sometimes that’s not enough or sometimes the owner just isn’t able to be patient enough or consistent enough.
For example, if the dog is eating poop in the yard, my first recommendation would be to go outside in the yard with the dog every single time he goes out.
Well, some people are just not willing or not able to do that, but sometimes they’re able to stand at a window and watch, ready to give a correction with the shock collar.
You have to do what works for you and your dog, and I think getting a correction or two is better than the dog eating poop its whole life.
But let me know what you think and how you would solve this problem.
What ideas do you have for keeping a dog out of the cat’s litter box?