Ask The Dog Trainer

Ask The Dog Trainer: Newly Adopted Dog Won’t Pee Outside

ask the dog trainer

Ask The Dog Trainer: Newly Adopted Dog Won’t Pee Outside 

ask the dog trainer

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By Bill Mayeroff of FetchFind

First of all, congratulations on adopting Tucker and getting him enrolled in some basic training classes. That’s going to really help you build a relationship with him, and I think you’ll have a lot of fun in class as well.

I know how frustrating it can be when a dog goes out but won’t eliminate. My dog is definitely easily distracted when he goes outside and it can be frustrating, especially if you know he’s got to go but just can’t seem to focus long enough to actually do anything.

Ask The Dog Trainer: Newly Adopted Dog Won’t Pee Outside

First thing I’ll suggest is you take Tucker to a vet. I know that sounds drastic, but it’s always worth ruling out any medical issues that could potentially be making it difficult for him to potty outside. Medical issues can affect behavior, so it’s a good idea just to get him checked out to make sure he’s totally healthy.

Once you’re sure he’s healthy, we can really work on figuring out how to make sure he goes to the bathroom outside. It could be something as simple as giving it time. Tucker’s getting used to a new home, new people and totally new environment. It could take him some time to get adjusted. Once he’s more familiar with and comfortable in his new situation, his bathroom behavior might improve a bit.

But you can also help him along. It’s really important to teach him great things happen when he urinates/defecates outside. When he goes, make sure you reward him handsomely. Lots of praise and petting and treats. You won’t always have to do all that, but he needs to learn that it’s to his benefit to go to the bathroom outside and that’s the way to teach him.

You mention he seems to get distracted when he goes outside. Can you take him somewhere with fewer distractions? If possible, try to take him to a place with no or very few dogs and other people. Also, when he does go to the bathroom outside, does he have a spot he really likes? If so, can you make sure he immediately goes there when he goes outside? If you just let him out in a yard, take him out on a leash and take him to his spot and once he goes, he can have fun. If he doesn’t go after a couple minutes, bring him inside and try again in a few minutes. This technique also works if you just take him for walks to go to the bathroom. You’re teaching him that going to the bathroom quickly gets him what he wants – a nice romp in the yard or a fun walk.

Definitely resist the temptation to walk and walk and walk with him until he goes to the bathroom. Alternatively, if you let Tucker out in a yard, don’t leave him out there until he goes and then immediately call him back in. Why? Because you don’t want going to the bathroom to mean the end of fun.

Think about it: Dogs love being outside because there are smells to smell, things to hear, critters to bark at. Outside is SO MUCH FUN! He’s going to do whatever he can, including holding his bladder, to stay outside and have more fun. By walking and walking and walking or just leaving him outside until he goes and then immediately bringing him in, he’s going to learn that going to the bathroom means the fun stops.

By bringing him inside if he doesn’t go to the bathroom after a couple minutes, he will eventually learn that holding it doesn’t get him anything and that the fun parts of being outside don’t start until he’s relieved himself.

Above all, remember to be patient. I know it’s frustrating. But your patience and hard work will be rewarded and you’ll have a happy, wonderful relationship with your new, furry family member.

For more help, find a reputable trainer who uses positive reinforcement methods to coach you through your training. Contact us at for help finding a certified dog trainer in your area.

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