Is your dog reluctant to pee in your yard? This is a problem we’ve tackled ourselves and, like many problems, is one that takes time and patience to resolve. If your dog won’t pee outside, we’ve got five reader questions below on how to help your dog learn that the potty is outside with expert advice from an animal behaviorist and dog trainers!
My Golden Doodle Won’t Pee Outside
My two-year-old Golden Doodle is reluctant to go in the backyard to do her business. I coax her to do so but she seems afraid to venture out unless I stay with her.
Also even though she gets taken out twice a day to our dog park, she still doesn’t always indicate (bark or make other noises) that she has to go out when she needs to do more of her business. If I am not around to notice, she does it on the rug in the front parlor.
I suspect it’s because the room is seldom occupied. Thanks for any insight into this exasperating behavior.
Thanks for your email to DogTipper…I feel your pain! After adopted Barli, for the first two months he wanted to pee in the bedroom while we were in the living room! I didn’t want to crate train him (since he’d just spent three months kenneled at a shelter) so we had to go slow and steady through the housetraining–but it has been a success.
If you’ve ruled out the possibility of a urinary tract infection or other health issue, I think your Goldendoodle might be having some of the same issues that Barli had when he first arrived at our home: he was a little afraid to go outside alone.
I suspect because he didn’t have the freedom to go outside unattended at the shelter, he was worried about going out in our yard to potty.
Your dog might have had something scare her while she was outside pottying one day; many dogs go through a fear period even up to two years old when things that didn’t scare them previously can suddenly scare them.
Here are my suggestions:
Just as if you were housetraining a new puppy, start over with your dog’s housetraining.
Get on a strict schedule of taking her out first thing in the morning, about half an hour after every meal, about every hour (you can later wean that back), and right before bedtime.
Don’t wait for her to tell you she needs to go pee but just take her out on your schedule.
When she goes to the backyard to potty, stay with her and praise her when she does her business. (Be sure to let her finish pottying before praising.)
Bring extra yummy treats (soft liver treats often do the trick) that she only gets after pottying. Praise her like she’s done the best thing ever!
Some dogs might be a little shy about pottying at a dog park, if they’re a little fearful of other dogs. You might want to have her potty in the yard first.
If you catch your dog pottying in the house, interrupt with a quick “uh-oh” or hand clap and rush her outside. When she potties outside, throw a party!
Clean your rug with an enzyme cleaner so that she won’t return to the scene of the crime! It might already smell perfectly clean to you but her super nose might still detect that she’s peed there.
If you can, restrict your dog with a baby gate so she can’t return to the front parlor except when supervised.
Until our puppy’s housetraining was completed, we wound up closing off Barli in the (rugless) living room when he was unsupervised so he wouldn’t go to our bedroom and potty. It took about two months before we could trust him to let us know he wanted to go outside.
Housetraining isn’t always a “one and done” type of event. Dogs sometimes need a refresher course in housetraining after a change–a new dog in the house, a move, an illness, or perhaps a scare.
I think you’ll find the refresher course in training will go faster than her initial housetraining, however. I hope this helps!!
–Paris at DogTipper
From a Dog Trainer: My Dog Only Pees Inside!
About a year and a half ago we added Bo to our family. He is a rescue dog and was 8 when we adopted him. He is such a blessing and brings so much joy to us but he still struggles with learning to not go to the bathroom inside the house (both #1 and #2).
When we first got him, my husband and I would reward him with a treat after he would go #1 or #2 outside and tell him “good boy! Good potty!”
After not having any accidents inside for a couple weeks, we stopped giving treats but would still give him verbal praise. It seems we are now back to where we started.
If he has to go, he doesn’t see it as a problem to walk in the kitchen and just go there! He has to sleep on a leash at night otherwise every night he would go downstairs as he pleases to do his business.
What should we do? He is half Pembroke welsh corgi and half Pomeranian, in case it’s important. Thank you, Lanae
Pottying in the house can be one of the most grating on your nerves behaviors a dog does especially if they were just outside and go in the house instead or simply don’t let you know they have to go.
The number one question I always ask is might he possible have a urinary tract infection?
Have you ever used a crate for Bo? The reason I ask is that one of the things with potty issues is lack of boundaries happening. I like crating with issues like this because it will create a win-win for you both.
- Bo has his own safe place that he can establish as his very own.
- You have control over where he is and where he goes.
- Most dogs won’t go in their own crate so they learn to have better bladder control.
- It will reestablish healthy, clear, consistent boundaries with him and yes an older dog can learn new behaviors.
Here’s the way I usually work with crates:
- Dog sleeps in crate for evening once they have emptied their bladder
- When dog wakes up they go outside immediately and must do #1 and 2
- If the dog does so, they have up to 1 hour of free time in the house then they go out again.
- Once they go to bathroom they go back in the crate for another 2-3 hours
- Out again, do #1 and they have 2 hours to hang out in the house
- Then back outside by this time there is usually a meal and then a walk
- Hang out for an hour or two then out then back into the crate for the evening
Make the crate a neutral place, with no guilt for putting him in it. You can put a treat in the crate for him or give him a great bone to chew on.
Let me know how you make (no pun intended) out with Bo.
Alecia Evans, PDT, MA
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.
And from an Animal Behaviorist: My Newfie Won’t Pee In the Yard
Dear Dr. Diane: I have two Newfoundland dogs. One is 2 years old and his brother is 11 months.
We have moved in the last two months and the younger of the dogs will not pee in the back courtyard.
I have put down some grass but he has just stopped. When we take him out, he will pee with no problem but when at home he will just hold himself.
We have done all sort of things to encourage him but he remains with a full bladder until he goes for a walk. Can you help us please!
Your 11-month-old Newfie is still a puppy, and he is still learning to adapt to you and your family. You have just (within the past two months) moved to a new house with which he is relatively unfamiliar.
His daily routine and environment have been altered, and he is not sure that it is acceptable to do his business in your courtyard.
He may regard it as an extension of his new home in which he has been trained NOT to urinate or defecate. Remember, these gentle giants, with their sweet temperaments, just want to please you!
I would take him out in the courtyard on a leash as though he were going for a walk and stay out with him. (More tips if your dog won’t poop on leash)
Have him observe his older brother pee and poop there, and praise your older dog when he does his business so that your younger dog can see that this is acceptable and desirable behavior.
Continue to take him on walks outside also as he can become ill if he doesn’t regularly do his business.
Be patient with him, and give him some time to adjust to his new circumstances.
Just as many people who live in a condo or apartment and don’t have a back yard, you may have to continue to take him for walks outside.
They both sound like great dogs. Just praise and pet them whenever they do their business in the courtyard.
Dr. Pomerance is an animal behavior specialist and an expert on topics such as deciding which puppy is best for your family, how to pick out a rescue, and on healing from the loss of a pet. Follow Dr. Pomerance on Twitter.com/dianepomerance.
My Rescue Dog Won’t Pee on Leash
Dear Dr. Diane,
My dog, a former rescue, will not urinate when she’s on the leash. (We have a fenced yard so she doesn’t HAVE to go while on the walk.) Why do you think she does this and should I be trying to train her to urinate while on a leash? I’m worried that someday we might have to board her and she won’t urinate! (She also will not let another dog smell her when she meets another dog.)
More than likely, you will never know the circumstances that your rescue dog has experienced or endured in the past. She may have been kept tethered to a tree or chained to a mobile home and does not feel comfortable urinating when “bound.”
She may even associate urinating while on leash with a form of punishment whereby her previous owners “forced” her to pee at their command under pressure of physical or verbal abuse or punishment.
Have your dog examined by a vet to determine if there are any physical health issues such as any urinary tract infections that may explain or be responsible for her behavior. In light of her past experience, she simply may not feel comfortable urinating while on a leash.
I would not worry about her refusing to pee while being boarded. If she has to go, she will!
I wouldn’t force her to go while on a leash – simply encourage her through behavior modification and approval if she does urinate while walking on a leash.
Also, she may be frightened of other dogs due to previous negative experiences.
If she doesn’t wish to let another dog smell her, simply accept this.
Do not permit any aggressive behaviors on her part. You may wish to consult with an animal behaviorist to spend some time with your dog, to assess her behavior and to help determine the causes of her issues.
From the Dog Trainer: My Pomeranian Pees in the House!
We have recently adopted a 2-year-old Pomeranian. We are having a small problem with him peeing in the house.
We take him out often and only crate him during the day while my wife and I are at work. He has no problem pooping in the yard on a leash but will not pee.
We don’t have a fenced in yard where he can run free. I not sure how to get him to stop going in the house.
Yesterday we took him out right before bed and he didn’t pee but did within 5 minutes of entering the house. Please send some advice! We want to stop this quickly. — Seth
Here is what I would suggest. When you bring your pom back in the house, put him right back in the crate. Wait about 45 minutes and then take him back out again.
If he pees outside, he gets treats and praise and he has some free time in the house; if he does not, he goes back into the crate. This will be repeated until he pees outside.
This is not to be mean to him, simply to manage his space and where he goes to the bathroom. In training consistency is always key, so we are just making sure his potty training is consistent in a way he understands.
Paws Up! Alecia
Alecia Evans is the inventor of The Walk In Sync™ Humane Dog Walking and Training System.