Ask Alecia: My Dog Won’t Potty on Leash!

Dear Alecia,

My boyfriend and I are moving into an apartment soon and are taking his 3-year-old Lab with us. We have planned to bring her to his parents’ house so she can play in the yard while we are at work, but she absolutely refuses to go to the bathroom while leashed. We have no idea what to do while she is at the apartment with us. We have thought about trying a “potty patch” but reviewers have complained about the awful smell and how easily the pee can spill out. Please, is there anything we can do? –Heather

Dear Heather,

A non-pooping pooch can definitely cause stress.  Perhaps let’s look at what caused the stress in the first place?  Was she pooping before?  Is it only on the leash at the apt?  How many days  has it been?

In general when a dog won’t poop on leash they are exerting a form of control.  There are several reasons why they might go this route: (1) it’s a new place and they don’t feel comfortable (2) they are  a bit peeved and using their movements or non-movements to control you by feeling bad (3) they don’t have to go at that time.  From the sound of it, your dog would fall into # 1 or # 2.

What I have observed from other clients is that the more we worry and push the less they do (no pun intended).  This happened to me once with my dachshund in New York City, he took almost 3 days to go.  It was  a royal pain in my you know what but he finally went and all was dandy.

My suggestions would be:  (1) stop worrying or putting any “push energy” on him.  (2) just go out for a walk and if he goes, he goes.  If not, don’t harp on it, just go back upstairs and try again in a  little while.  This may go on for a few days but what I have noticed is that the less you stress, the more he will go.  You will really have to work on just breathing and relaxing as it can be way more  stressful on the human than the dog.

Here’s to a leash movement! Paws Up! Alecia

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Alecia Evans is the inventor of The Walk In Sync™ Humane Dog Walking and Training System with her exclusive 5 Minute Manners Makeovers using the Walk In Sync™ Harness and Accu-Grip Leash, along with her Walk In Sync™ 3 Easy Steps to teach any human/dog duos to Walk In Sync in just minutes.

The former host of the award-winning GrassRoots Aspen TV Series, The Whole Animal-An Alternative Approach to Animal Care, Alecia takes a natural approach to dog training and health care. Her work has been featured on Fox and Friends, The Sandra Glosser Show, NY 1, and in Aspen Magazine,, The New York Daily News and Woof Report.

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About Paris Permenter & John Bigley

Paris Permenter and John Bigley are the award-winning authors of over 30 pet and travel books as well as the founders and publishers of CatTipper and DogTipper.

  • I’ve read of liveaboard sailors who have had the same problem getting their dog used to “going” on a boat. Three days is usually the longest a dog will hold out (which can’t be very comfortable). But eventually they have to go and make the transition to the new place.

    Of course, it’s a good idea to train your dog to go on various substrates and situations on cue like guide dog raisers do. Maybe this would be a good future topic for Alecia to cover.

    • Paris Permenter and John Bigley

      I think that’s a great idea! Living in the country, I know our dogs are so accustomed to “going” on grass or dirt that I worry about how to train them to go on different surfaces. Great suggestion! Paris