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How to Get a Dog to Poop – You Can’t Be Serious!

How to Make Your Dog Poop with a Match or two or threeHow To Match Your Dog To Make It Poop

Someone wrote me today asking how to make their dog poop in an area it was unfamiliar with while on leash. I told them they were going to be sorry they asked and not to tell Kramer (their dog) they heard it from me.

I was told this by an old-timer show dog person and thought he was having me on but I checked on it and it’s not as uncommon in the dog world as you might think but then again show dog people . . .

Somewhere I found actual “instructions”. (There was no mention of it so I’m going to take the liberty of suggesting you wear gloves – Just trust me.)

Here: from I don’t know who, and I can’t imagine how they stumbled upon it, (with a precautionary comment or two from me – i.e. When in doubt check it out with your vet first.) is how to make your dog poop using a match.

1. Take one or two paper matches and put the sulfur tips briefly in your mouth to wet them. (It gets worse)

2. Straddle your dog – facing its butt. (Worried yet?)

3. Pull the tail out of the way and insert the now wet sulfur tips of the matches in your dog’s anus. (The bit about “pull the tail out of the way” seemed a bit superfluous to me)

4. Deep enough that just the ends of the matches are visible and hang out just a tiny bit. (I think your dog would appreciate it if you would assume this fellow has a large dog and be accommodating by taking into consideration relative size and adjust the length of the match accordingly.)

5. Release the dog. (aka one very surprised dog)

6. Usually the dog will start squatting almost immediately to expel the matches. (I’m told it has something to do with the sulfur but personally I can think of one or two other possibilities.)

7. If the dog doesn’t, then you can repeat the steps. (or as fair warning wave the book of matches in the air in an ominous manner and then mime your intent.)

8. Do not insert more than 4 matches at a time. (I’m going to assume this means all at once as if you’re trying this on your own I can’t imagine there are enough treats on the planet to fool a dog into standing still 4 times in a row.)

9. Rarely do you need to use 4 matches but some dogs are more stubborn than others. (or more worried than their owners about becoming the next viral youtube video sensation)

Warning: I’ve since heard a story about a lady that decided after her first attempt that the match in question wasn’t quite moist enough so re-moistened the match to “rectify” the situation. (Click for a related story about veterinary students.)

Here’s a link to an article I wrote on house training that will help as well. You can try it first or in conjunction with the matches. House Training Cheat Sheet

Pawsitively Yours,

John Wade

P.S. If you take the video I’ll add the link. 🙂

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92 thoughts on “How to Get a Dog to Poop – You Can’t Be Serious!”

  1. This from Steve in Iowa:

    I received this advice way back in dog obedience class. The instructor said that military generals who had a dog used this little trick prior to inspecting the troops….obviously they couldn’t have a dog doing its duty during the ceremony. My yellow lab is now 14 and 3 months and over the past several months she has starting pooping in her kennel overnight. She would have never done this in the past. It is perhaps due to senility or laziness or just inability to hold bowls for a length of time. I have since started “matching” her in the morning and the evening. I am not sure what she thinks about me messing around back there, but believe me when I tell you that this method works quite well!


  2. Alice L. Reinhart-Blakey

    Well I used a glove an put a little pit of hand soap on the glove finger tip. Then insert it into the anus of my Jack Russell. Cause she would not go. I found this method when my children were babies and was constipated that if you put a little bit of hand soap it seemed to help the bowels move. If it was good enough for my baby why not for my dog. She is my baby too.

  3. I have not laughed this hard in a long time. I’m sorry my friend asked me how to make her dog poop so I googled it and this posting came up. I guess it worked. Thanks a lot for the laughs and the advice. Phil Z

    1. Dee Grantham

      We recently rescued a 6y/o, 40+ pound male Wheaten on June 21st. We don’t know his previous story, but here’s what we can tell you… He is paranoid to go outside, we have to carry him outside every single time – Once he is outside, he cowers under our patio swing – He will occasionally take care of his business by peeing or pooping within minutes, but most often he will not go at all – He is drinking water and eating dry food moistened with canned food, canned pumpkin and water. Even in the house he is terrified of most everything and stays laying down in our back bedrooms unless we pick him up and bring him out into other areas. We have read your tip about the matches and also about the soap, but our biggest concern is getting him to go out more easily and then without traumatizing him more than he already is, to get him to relieve himself. Any help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. TY!

      1. Hi Dee,

        Making a transition to a new home can be stressful however, this is over the top so there are other far more serious things at work here. That level of anxiety would not have been missed by the rescue, at least if they were doing even bare minimum due diligence. (Although perhaps like so many ‘rescues’ they’re more like a rescue mill as opposed to a legitimate canine rescue. (Picture me sighing emphatically.))

        It’s (remotely) possible he may get past this without doing anything but, based on considerable experience with this sort of issue, I have serious doubts. In all likelihood, if you don’t actively get on this you’ll see an escalation, and very likely other issues develop. It’s unlikely, that he’ll ever entirely leave behind whatever baggage has accompanied him but, in many cases (but not all), with the correct approach to behavior modification the ‘drama’ part, which is usually over half, can be suppressed, if not extinguished. I recommend my ‘Virtual+’ – Training program for dogs suffering from anxiety.


        John ‘Ask The Dog Guy’ Wade
        Embracing Science and Common Sense
        I PRESSED ON

  4. I’ve worked as a veterinary technician for about ten years now and this is one of the oldest tricks in the book. There are a variety of medical reasons why we might need a dog to poop on command, and I’ve found that a single match usually does the trick – I’m no chemist but you’re right, it has something to do with the sulfur or phosphorous in the match head irritating the inside of the dog’s rectum, much the way a spicy burrito will do, triggering the “I gotta go NOW” feeling.

    Glove up, poke just the match head into no man’s land, and stand back – the results are usually instant and forceful.

  5. Is this trick appropriate for puppies who are learning to potty train? Thanks for the advice.

    1. Hi Brittany,

      I’ve never done this but I’m told by those that have/do that they also do so with pups. I would think that when the handler is equipped with common sense it wouldn’t be a problem. Check with your vet if you’re unsure.


  6. crystal holstein

    Can you do the matches thing to a six day old pup? Ive only seen her poopy once and im half afraid she may need to bc her belly is fat n hard.. should I just let her mommy do her job? But what if its to late and I let her go to long without popping. I dont no what to do.

    1. Samantha

      How many times should I be waking up in the night to let my 9 week old puppy out? I am exhausted! Last night I let her out at 12am, 3am and 6am. She will only pee! Dropped the kiddo to school for 15 mins, come back and there is poop everywhere in the crate, and she is standing in it. This has happened 3 days in a row, and I’m starting to loose my cool!

      1. Samantha, these are likely two different issues. By the time a healthy pup, fed good quality food, on a schedule and treats if used throughout the day are only small bits of dried liver or better yet, no treats whatsoever (learn how to train without the amateur dog trainers crutch – treats) by the time they are 10 weeks of age they can make it through the night. By the time they are 16 weeks of age and you’ve been using a structured house training program they should be going outside during the waking hours at approximately the same time of day, three times a day and in one spot only. Read this book – How to Housetrain a Puppy in 5 Days or Less by John Wade (eBook)

        The crate defecation when you went out may be and very likely is an anxiety response to crating/caging the puppy as opposed to crate training the puppy so that the crate is a sanctuary as opposed to an isolation chamber. More your breeder’s fault than yours as an ethical breeder would have the crate training completed before the pup leaves their premises so that this doesn’t happen. It’s a common anxiety response to being left alone.


        John ‘Ask The Dog Guy’ Wade
        Embracing Science and Common Sense

      2. Deepthi

        Relax Samantha
        Pet needs more patience than a human baby.
        They can’t even shout or make signs of pain.
        Give it time clean I front of the pet show love while pooping and peeing
        Ur pet will understand the effort once it’s 12 weeks old it would automatically choose a place to do all of it if u let it out of crate

        1. I know your comments are well-meaning but …

          See inserted comments.

          1. Relax Samantha

          Hard to relax when one is worried about their home becoming a toilet and the well-being of a new puppy.

          2. Pet needs more patience than a human baby.

          Frankly, I don’t even know what that means. What’s the measurement scale? No, pets do not need more patience than a human baby.

          3. They can’t even shout or make signs of pain.

          Of course, they can (unless one is deaf and blind.)

          4. Give it time clean I front of the pet show love while pooping and peeing

          I take it this is suggesting cleaning up in front or not in front? Rewarding for going to the bathroom? More of what I’m sure is well-meaning but still thoroughly amateurish advice the proliferates the dog training world detracting and distracting from legitimate science that might actually help.

          5. Ur pet will understand the effort once it’s 12 weeks old it would automatically choose a place to do all of it if u let it out of crate

          This is more parroting of the amateur dog world’s pseudo-science. Automatically? Physically and mentally healthy pups can (and should be) house trained before they leave the breeders. Their mothers given the opportunity, begin the first steps when their diets stop being exclusively milk via nursing. Few breeders bother. Amateur dog trainers suggest silliness such as hanging a bell (dumb). It’s a fact that physically and mentally healthy pups can sleep through the night by 10 weeks of age. If they’re not, something is up and needs to be addressed.

          This dog’s behavior is almost certainly a symptom of a far more serious, larger problem than ‘housetraining’. I’d bet that the actual problem is anxiety.


          John ‘Ask The Dog Guy’ Wade
          Embracing Science and Common Sense

          I PRESSED ON

  7. Jessica

    We just bought a new house with a large backyard but our dog doesn’t seem to like it. We have to force her off the cement patio to do her business. She just stands there. Do you have any advice?

    1. Hi Jessica,

      You’re on the right track. You have to “force” her but I suspect it’s how you’re “forcing” her that’s the problem. I’m guessing but if you’re only escorting her by leash (which is what I mean by forcing) off the patio to where you want her to go once in a while as opposed to 3 months straight she’s not likely going to get it. I’ll send you a copy of my house training cheat sheet. It will show you how to get her to go out on a sensible schedule and empty out on one spot.


  8. deborah

    Little AquaPhor on the non sulphur end and push it in a wee bit..within a minute or two Tank was producing beautifully.

    1. You are Right, you don’t need the sulphur end. The paper end works just fine.

  9. Peter Upton

    How do I get my 18 month old Lab to poop in one area of our yard?

  10. Puppy mill rescue(7yr.old)isn’t g oing poop ,and refuses to go potty.

  11. This works. Recently brought an outdoor dog in. He seemed to be afraid to go and would sneak away in the house to do his business. Even in a kennel, he would not go or wait several days before he finally went. After walking him 2 hours straight and him seeming like he was literally holding it, I googled “How to make a dog poop.” This was the first hit and in under 3 minutes, it was out. 🙂 Now to do it regularly, I feel he is on his way.

  12. Cynthia

    My four-year-old Chihuahua mix ate about 8 to 10 inches of ribbon two days ago. I pooper-scooped the yard yesterday and found no ribbon. I’m just worried that it will get tangled in her intestines and so I want to help her to poop everything out. Would this technique help her to eliminate everything in her bowels ?

    1. Not really. It just jump starts a bowel movement. Sort of like a gastric colic reflex. I’d call the veterinarian to ask how long is a reasonable amount of time to wait for the ribbon to pass and what symptoms to look for that indicate the dog might be having intestinal difficulty.


  13. Wow!! My sister found this for me. Have a 9 month old Toy Australian shepherd who refuses to poop outside. Walks great, pees but forgets to poop. Not sure of his past, but I rescued him fourth owner counting breeder. He’s dog friendly but leery of 2 legged beings! I’ll let u know if this works when I find his butt under all his fur coat. No tail to guide me!

  14. wow! I have a 14 yr old chow/retriever who was recently diagnosed with DM,(degenarative myolopothy)being able to induce the waste removal process within minutes after being taken outside is an excellent way to keep your dog out of the cold weather,specially if you live far north! I took a QTIP, and removed some of the cotton swab on one end plced in water and a little bit of hand lotion or liquid soap or Vaseline and slowly placed in for several seconds twice and within 3 minutes he was doing his thing!!! thanks for the tip!

  15. I laughed at this whole thread and even harder while I did it and then laughed when I saw the look on my pups face, then I laughed the hardest because it did work

  16. Michelle

    Got a puppy today owner says she’s about 7 weeks old has no gone poop in about 7 hrs any suggestions

      1. Bridget Booth

        My puppy 13 month female Kerry Blue Terrier has been refusing to pee or poop for about a month. In morning we go out for a long time and then I put her back in her crate cause she won’t go. This is repeated over four hours with about one attempt outside every hour before she goes.
        It happens all day. Many nights she doesn’t go before bed either. It is effecting my ability to work my part time job or go to appointments, meetings etc as I don’t want to leave her knowing she hasn’t gone yet.
        I’m going to get some matches today. But will they help with pee too? Dog rarely pees at same time as pooping.

  17. Thanks for this info. I have 2 or 3 year old Pitbull who was a shelter rescue. He would pee and poop but only one. A long walk across our community.

    He would refuse to poop in the backyard. I’m assuming he’s previous owner “discouraged” pooping in the yard. My pit would literally stand wimper in the ward but wouldn’t go.

    It took 3 matches and sure enough he let it rip.

    As a note to anyone thinking about doing this take care with large or strong dogs that you are trying this on. Once the matches were in my Pitbull was almost in a panic to poop and I had a very strong dog almost dragging me by his leash to find a spot to squat.

    1. Hi Macy,

      Do a search on this site for barking.

      I’ve sent by email “John Wade’s House Training Cheat Sheet” and a chart you can use to track progress. Check your spam or junk folders if not in your inbox.

      Keep in mind this is the basic approach for getting a pup on track for learning where they should eliminate, to do so 3 times a day on a schedule and to do so in a small area so you aren’t cleaning up “landmines” all over the yard. If you want something more detailed then the cheat sheet and especially if you are having a long standing problem I’d recommend buying my more detailed e-booklet – The e-booklet is only $4.97.


  18. Thank you so much! This totally worked and I’m hoping will help with my dog pooping at undesired times. (in the night in his kennel)

  19. Danny Collins

    Just got a 6 month old shit tzu who will just sit and lay in the grass when i take him outside. He will pee sometimes but other than that he wont poop. Help! Lol

    1. Hi Danny,

      I’ve sent by email “John Wade’s House Training Cheat Sheet” and a chart you can use to track progress. Check your spam or junk folders if not in your inbox.

      Keep in mind this is the basic approach for getting a pup on track for learning where they should eliminate, to do so 3 times a day on a schedule and to do so in a small area so you aren’t cleaning up “landmines” all over the yard. If you want something more detailed then the cheat sheet and especially if you are having a long standing problem I’d recommend buying my more detailed e-booklet – The e-booklet is only $4.97.


  20. I just adopted a 7 year old puppy mill rescued Brussels Griffon. She will produce a liquid elimination outside, but only after about 30 minute. (Very challenging since I have to go to work at certain times.) The solid elimination has happened twice indoors. Once right after her foster left and once when she Houdini-ed out of her kennel. She greeted me at the door, looking pretty pleased.
    I’ve only had one successful solid elimination with her outside.
    She’s still working on trusting new and learning her name. I’ve had her 5 days.
    I’m just concerned about her health.



    1. For Gina, my name is Jeanne….

      I recently adopted an older dog too – who, no doubt was a (Beagle) ‘breeder dog’…. Poor baby doesn’t even know how to play! She’s a GREAT dog! (My Bischon/minipoo also adopted ) has separation anxiety so I decided to get a dog nearer to her age to keep her company…. Long story, but her ‘other friends’ she’s lived with are ‘gone’….

      Anyway Beagles, I remember now as a friend gave me one….. ARE VERY hard to get them to poop too…. But turns out 🙁 she may have cancer too…. I don’t think her ‘holding’ on to it and pooping in the crate (I ‘have to’ close her in there, her nickname is ‘underfoot’ – I’m afraid if one of us has to go to the bathroom and we don’t ‘see’ her someone is going to get hurt, probably the dog too! Will see vet tomorrow for testings, thou, if she has cancer I won’t let her suffer…. Anyway – these past two VERY early/night ‘smells’ (poop) are not pleasant. My ‘nose’ is VERY good – wakes me up… The first night that happened (even thou I “KNOW” what dog poop ‘smells’ like – smell went away, so I figured my husband just passed gas in his sleep…. This early morning I instantly got out of bed to investigate ….. Wasn’t ‘really’ much there (she ‘clean up?)…. I could walk her for hours and no poop…. Thou I laughed out loud on the ‘how to’ IF Hope turns out ok – I’ll try the ‘match’ trick, but guess I better do it on the deck???

  21. What happens if he doesn’t poop the matches out? Will they hurt him?

    1. I believe you’re supposed to just put it in part way. While I’m sure it will come out unassisted if somehow you’ve managed to bury it I’d suggest taking him to the veterinarian.

  22. I’ve explained the process to my dog Ollie and have the book of matches in my pocket… he looks concerned… I’ll send video if I still have fingers to press the record button…

  23. It worked!!! It worked!!!!!!!!! You’ve saved our vacation!!!!!!! No video… way too many things to manage at once to take a video….

  24. Tiffany

    My dogs not allowed to walk around unleashed due to nerve damage in his foot and him dragging it around but he just won’t poop while leashed. I’ve tried so many things. Would this actually work for him? I know he doesn’t like the thermometer up the booty bit.

    1. Hi Tiffany,

      By all accounts, it seems to work. However, keep in mind that no matter how resistant a dog is to emptying out on a leash there is no amount of will power that will override when it’s time to go, it’s time to go. I’m going to send to you my house training cheat sheet which if you follow to the letter will eventually result in your dog eliminating where and when you think it’s best for him no matter what he thinks with the least amount of stress for him possible. Have a look at it and failing that you can go the route outlined in the post. Check your email for the files I’m sending and your junk/spam folder if not in the inbox.


  25. My older small poodle ,randomly yelps like in pain…then pants ..yet we noticed she urinates but we never seen her potty so I’m wondering this match trick does it have to be paper match or can it be the wooden stick one

    1. I don’t have any personal experience to go on but I suspect it doesn’t have to be a match. A q-tip should suffice. However, a dog that is randomly yelping in pain doesn’t need a match or a q-tip, they need a veterinarian.


  26. Works !!!! Thank you so much! I looked on the Internet but I’ve found nothing good till this article. It worked for my dog with only one match. Very helpful!

  27. Enjoyed all that u have replied to. Pls could
    u send me a cheat sheet? I have an old timer and could use all the help that I can get. With thx, Linda

  28. Deb orr

    My little terrier about once a fortnight I’ll hear him scurrying rd carnt get comfortable sooks is sad moves round whole room crying every now n again n by the next couple of days he’s back to normal what can I do at this time when it’s bad so he dosnt have to go through with this

    1. It was difficult to get the gist of your inquiry but if I understand it correctly it sounds like more of a medical issue than a behaviour problem. Maybe impacted anal glands? Take him to the veterinarian clinic would be your wisest first step.


  29. Denise Escalante

    Please help our puppy can not go to potty what can we do at home can’t afford to take her to a vet how can we pull it out of her now please help

    1. Hi Denise, this article isn’t for a dog that can’t, it’s for a dog that won’t or that you need to. If your puppy is in medical distress you need to go to a veterinarian. If you can’t afford to, contact your local humane society or one of the multiple rescues that are no doubt in your area. They may have funds set aside for situations like this or know who does. I don’t know where you’re from but in Ontario, Canada my region of the world there’s an organization called the Farley Foundation for these sorts of issues.


  30. Sandy Young

    Why not use a suppository, neater, cleaner, and works works just as fast. I would never use a match on my dogs. Suppositories have always worked great.

    1. Hi Sandy,

      If you would never use a match on your dogs how do you know that your suppository suggestion works just as fast? I’m assuming that the suppositories you’re suggesting are those containing glycerine that are used on humans to relieve constipation? From what I’ve read glycerine suppositories should produce a bowel movement within 15 to 60 minutes. Not sure I see how it’s neater or cleaner but from reports from people that have tried the match approach no where near as fast.

      Personally I wouldn’t be giving a dog a laxative that isn’t suffering from constipation and I would only do so with a veterinarian’s guidance. I’d check as well with a veterinarian to make sure that a human laxative is safe for a dog. I do know that some brands of glycerin laxative suppositories used on adult humans are not recommended for children and is not generally recommended for children under the age of 2. Perhaps some are dog friendly but which ones?

      It’s important to know that what is safe short and long term for a human may not be for a dog. Here’s a quote about glycerin laxative suppositories, from a medical site: “Overuse of a laxative may cause damage to the nerves, muscles, or tissues in your intestines.”, and “Do not use glycerin rectal more than once in a 24-hour period.”

      Bottom line, the article you are commenting on is about getting a dog to poop as opposed to a suggested treatment for a dog that can’t poop. That’s a medical issue and one where I would suggest visiting a veterinarian.


  31. Finnegan

    Our 2.3 lb chi, (full grown) seems to me to be uncomfortable, not his usual self. Thinking back I can’t remember him pooping yesterday or today. I’m going to try the match stick (really, the q_tip thing) for beginning efforts. Can I get your cheat sheet, we just got a puppy, English sheep dog and poodle. So don’t want to over look anything thanks shearron

  32. Hello I have a 7 year beagle/corgi mix he acts like he has to go poop really bad in the house but when I take him outside we can be outside for 20 to 30 minutes before he even goes what is this

    1. Hi Cindy,

      Is this new behaviour? Any time a dog over 3 years of old starts behaving outside of the norm the best bet is to visit the veterinarian. If this has been an ongoing problem I’d take all the variables out of the equation. If his diet is wrong, change it to something more efficient. Examine his treats, most a crap. Dried liver is usually the best bet to replace. Reduce volume, if not frequency. Most important of all, if he’s one these dogs that let’s you know it’s time to let him out, transition that so he’s on a schedule. Write me if you want a cheat sheet on how to get him to do that.


  33. My dog just walks around with matches sticking out of his butt. He’s a 165 lb 2.5 year old Great Dane. You think you’re frustrated? We’ve been doing this for over 2 years. I love my dog, but the poop holding is the most freaking frustrating thing I’ve ever gone through with a dog. He’ll keep holding it and often holds it for more than a day. He makes me late for work. When he finally realizes he has to go, he poops an unbelievable amount. There is nothing medically wrong with him. He simply gets distracted and then I don’t help because I get frustrated. I finally figured I’d commit to making him go on a day off. I gave up after 3 hours. I’m really sick of trying to make this dog poop – failing, and then later having to carrying pounds and pounds of poop.

  34. Pingback: Older Irish Setter Dog Won't Go To The Bathroom - "Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

  35. I have been using this trick for over 40 years as I have show dogs and you don’t want them to go in the show ring. It works!

  36. We’ve had a now 1 yo beagle for 2 months now. He has major anxiety and pees/ poops in his crate within 5 min. of us leaving. I tried this method this evening with hopes he would be empty for tmrw morning… tries 3 times, and nothing please help!! I have a 4yo and a 2yo i cant spend everyday cleaning him & his kennel after dropping my son off at preschool!!

    1. You don’t have a house soiling problem. Well, you do, but it’s the symptom of another problem. You very likely have a separation anxiety problem. Search my site (this site) for separation anxiety. There’s tons of information that may help and if not write back and let me know how I can help.


      John ‘Ask The Dog Guy’ Wade
      Embracing Science and Common Sense

  37. Sandra Saylors

    Wait a minute now, how rude. Never will do this. l gave mine coconut oil the 1st time 1/8 teaspoon, since she is 20lbs, a yorkie/ Cavalier mix, now l give her 1/2 teaspoon to keep her digestive tract in check. And read on it you will be surprised all the good benefits. Be nice to your dog. In relation to using matches for dog constipation.

    1. Rude or not, it may be less dangerous than what you’re suggesting if people aren’t also careful. Is Coconut Oil Good For Dogs

      While coconut oil is generally safe for dogs, some canines may have an allergic reaction to the supplement. Additionally, giving a dog too much coconut oil in the diet could result in diarrhea. Smith warns against giving coconut oil to dogs prone to pancreatitis, as it can be a risk due to its high-fat content.

      And not all veterinarians are convinced that coconut oil is beneficial for dogs at all. Dr. Ken Tudor notes that coconut oil may possibly raise “bad cholesterol” levels in dogs and “adds 120 calories for every tablespoon without adding any appreciable nutritional value.”


      John ‘Ask The Dog Guy’ Wade
      Embracing Science and Common Sense
      London’s #1 Referred Puppy and Dog Trainer

  38. How will I know if I’m doing it right ? I don’t want to accidentally get the matches stuck in my dogs butt

  39. Ok! I got a rescue Bishon 2 years ago. She goes pee all right if doggy door open but not the other. I have to keep diapers on her (dont want new carpet messed up). We take her out but can not get her to go poop!
    Read about the matches and laughed. Im willing to try anything… except punishment. I finally found a place to get the matches. So this morning after taking her out of her crate and putting her outside to pee I had two matches ready. I put them in place and took her out the door where their is a doggy door. She ran straight to the little patch of lawn and turned around and around and “pooped”. Im jumping for joy! I praised her and praised her for a job well
    done! My goal is for her to go out doggy door alway so I can take off the diapers. We have a lovely screened in back porch with that grassy spot!

  40. Can you please send me the cheat sheet. I have a four month puppy that I can’t get to poop outside no matter how low hat I do.

  41. Will this work if the puppy Is having trouble pooping ? She tries but nothing .

    1. Hi TJ,

      No, sounds like a constipation problem. See the veterinarian if it persists and the approved home remedies don’t work.


      John ‘Ask The Dog Guy’ Wade
      Embracing Science and Common Sense

  42. Can you send me a cheat sheet? My Belgium tervuren puppy would not go outside. After cleaning my carpet for the third time today, I was frustrated and stumbled across this article. I am definitely trying the matchstick trick first thing in the morning. Will let you know what happens

    1. Hi Prachi,

      Cheat sheet sent. Check your inbox and failing that spam or junk folders.


      John ‘Ask The Dog Guy’ Wade
      Embracing Science and Common Sense

  43. Hi!
    Shih tzu cross owner and I have a SERIOUSLY stubborn little guy on my hands! I’m going to try this later today and I’ll make sure to comment then.
    Would I be able to get a training sheet as well? This has been very frustrating.

    Thank you

  44. Nancy Decker

    My 90# Bella, pitmix, has traumatically torn both ACLs. She cannot get herself outside and freaks when we try to carry her. She has not pooped for this is the 3rd day. She finally peed but, no poop. She is very fussy about privacy but, we need to hold her hind end up so she feels she cannot go. Now she is watching the backyard door and softly whining. Hasn’t eaten a lot and is on pain meds which I know can constipate her. If we can lift her out again, do you think this might work? I know every situation is different, just curious. Thanks

  45. Crystal Hisle

    Just rescued a 3+ year old chawawa who refuses to go poop outside. Can’t wait to get matches and give this a go. Restricting food after 5pm does not work either. Would love the cheat sheets please. Great site!

    1. Hi Crystal,

      House training cheat sheet sent to your email. Check your spam or junk folders if not in your inbox.


      John ‘Ask The Dog Guy’ Wade
      Embracing Science and Common Sense

  46. I’m just here to confirm that this works. A crusty old-timer taught me this trick 25 years ago, and it has never failed me. (He told me that he got to the point where he could just flick the pack of matches with his finger and the dog would do its business. I haven’t gotten there yet, but I hope to.) I use it, if necessary, on my midnight potty trip with our pooch. If she doesn’t poop at midnight she’ll do it in the house overnight, so whether she’s in the mood or not, we need to make it happen. I give her a verbal cue, let her sniff the matches, flick the pack with my finger a few times to make a distinctive sound, and count to 100 aloud. If she still hasn’t gone, I cover my hand with a poo bag, use that hand to insert the matches (I find that two are a bit easier to insert than one), and stand back. Results are nearly instantaneous. (Sometimes she’ll try to sit down when I grab her tail, in which case I have to put her across my knee to do the job.) I hope we’ll get to the point where just the smell of matches, or the sound of me flicking the pack with my finger, is enough to achieve the desired result.

    1. Pavlov with be proud of you Matt. Or maybe rolling around in his grave. Not quite sure. 🙂


      John ‘Ask The Dog Guy’ Wade
      Embracing Science and Common Sense

  47. I can’t believe it… it works!!! I have a very stubborn 10-year-old Shih Tzu. I’ve tried everything , I’ve been super patient (and impatient) …he’s not constipated …just stubborn. I figured what the hell? Nothing to lose at this point. One little matchstick in the bull’s-eye and bingo!
    . Thank you for the tip!

  48. WoggyDoggy

    I rake it up into a pile in the spring once the snow is gone after letting the dog poop all winter. Then just leave it. In the following spring I shovel the mess all over the yard and now I have a green yard where grass never grew. By the time I do this it’s usually broken down into a black dirt type of consistency that spreads well and the grass grows like crazy. It’s a type of composting I guess.

    1. Not my area of expertise, so, I absolutely could be wrong, but I don’t think that’s composting. More, just spreading dried feces on your lawn. According to this article, it’s possible to compost dog poop, but it has to hit somewhere in between 55-60 degrees centigrade (131 – 140 Fahrenheit) to kill off the pathogens that would otherwise be spread around your lawn. Disposing of dog poop the green way

      – John Wade (

  49. Can it be any type of matches, or does it need to contain sulfur?

    1. David, I think that the use of a match was more of an era thing. When they started doing this, I think smoking was pretty common and therefore so were the matches used to light the cigarettes/cigars/pipes. So necessity being the mother of invention they used what was handy. From what I understand (I’ve never tried any version of this) I think a Q-Tip would work.


      John Wade (

      PS Don’t forget if you find that the many free resources I provide companion dog owners via Ask The Dog Guy website ( and elsewhere (YouTube, newsletter, etc.) inform, save you time and, or money why not buy me a coffee? Click the link to Buy Me A Few Coffees

      PPS You can also become a Patron and support spreading the word about science and common sense in companion dog training by clicking on the membership link instead. Click the link to Become An Ask The Dog Guy Patron (Various levels of sponsorship have benefits for you as well.)

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