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Hi I'm looking after a friends puppy.

It is a 6 month old rescue pup, some kind of lab mix. I have experience training rescues before but I'm experiencing a bit of a unique issue. The puppy will defecate and/or urinate of it has an anxiety attack. Not that unusual, while normally it seems to know to urinate outside. Recently however I've been trying to desensitize the puppy to extremely short absences of less than a minute. The puppy now seems extremely calm and non anxious about these short abscenses, yet if I do one of these scenarios where I am in a side room and it has access to the main house, it will immediately go a defecate in the kitchen (it's chosen location for pooping in the house it seems) It used to do this only when showing signs of anxiety if I went to the other side of the door( like it would scratch the door and/or make a sound first, then immediately go to the kitchen and defecate) if I didn't open the door and help it calm down. I had thought this defecating behaviour was Ailey a feature of separation anxiety but I no longer believe that to be the case. It now seems to be doing this behaviour whenever I close a door, even though it does not seem to be panicking. The most recent instance I brought the puppy to the outside of the room I was going to be entering(the bathroom). I had the puppy sit down and then stay, both commands it can follow even if I leave eyesight under other circumstances indoors. It seemed to obey, I went inside, closed the door, then opened it about 30 seconds later. The puppy was gone and had just defecated in the kitchen when I opened the door. While this behaviour is consistent it had only previously occurred when the dog was showing signs of stress and anxiety. The dog did not show signs of stress for a considerable time beforehand, and did not show any signs of anxiety, or even seemed worried about my brief abscenses as it would be in earlier, yet it had defecated once again. It had also recently defecated and urinated outside prior to this.

It is trained to not urinate in the house l, and has been showing signs that it knows to poop when I bring it outside for potty breaks. Although I'm not as convinced on this given the recent episode. I'm at a loss as to how to deal with the immediate defecating when there isn't an anxiety attack from the dog. I had trained into slightly longer and longer separations over time, and it will not exhibit this behaviour if it does not have access to the kitchen (ie if I practice this separation exercise where the dog is in a side room and I am in the main house it will not defecate. I had thought the behaviour was solely anxiety related, which it no longer seems to be.

I've been teaching the dog not to enter the kitchen, but so far I believe it only understands this command when I am inside the kitchen. I was hoping that through this the dog would lose what it has defined as one of its spots to defecate and be more interested in the spot it has picked out outside.

I'd appreciate any suggestions, thanks.
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