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My dog doesn’t poop during walks: why and how to deal with this?

Author: Marièke

You take your dog out regularly and yet he doesn’t poop on walks. He prefers your parquet floor or worse, your carpets! How do you explain this attitude? Is he getting revenge? What can you do about it?

My dog doesn’t poop outside: why?

There are many reasons why your dog may not relieve himself during walks. There is, however, a very clear distinction to be made between a puppy that still isn’t clean (that has never yet regularly pooped outside) and a dog that was clean and has changed his behaviour (he has stopped pooping).

My puppy has never been clean

Your dog might poop outdoors, but he may also poop at home or whenever indoors. This may be due to the following reasons:

  • Potty training is not completely acquired: several months may be necessary;
  • He doesn’t know how to restrain himself: puppies under 6 months sometimes can’t restrain themselves for very long;
  • Emotions (stress, excitement…) prevent him from restraining himself.
  • He forgets to relieve himself outdoors because he’s distracted or excited.

My dog was clean but no longer poops outside

Even though your dog was clean (with you or his previous owner), his behavior has changed. He now refuses to poop outdoors. Possible causes are as follows:

  • He suffered from an outdoor event (stress, attack…).
  • You’ve shortened his walks lately.
  • He’s been in a shelter and you just adopted him.

How to remedy this situation?

mon chien se retient de faire pipi

Each of the above situations requires a different response from you.

Your puppy hasn’t been potty trained and/or comes from a shelter.

Just because your puppy has been potty trained once doesn’t mean he’ll be clean every time: like all dog training, cleanliness requires repetition and patience! If you realize that learning is not acquired, go back to the basics. Increase the frequency of walks, praise and so on.

If your dog comes from a shelter, his landmarks may have been disrupted. Take the time to resume potty training with your dog: increase the frequency of walks to build confidence, praise him and take him for long walks so that his walks are not just for his needs.

Your puppy can’t restrain himself and/or his emotions prevent him from doing so

Before the age of 6 months, some puppies may not be able to hold on for long – even though they may be potty trained and know what they are allowed or not to do.

In this case, don’t worry, the situation will regulate itself.

If you have the opportunity, increase the frequency of walks – or space them differently – to avoid putting your dog in trouble.

Don’t scold your dog! Your dog isn’t doing anything stupid when he relieves himself, he does not have the ability to do otherwise. Scolding him or sticking his head in his pee won’t change anything.

Excitement makes your dog forget his needs and/or your dog is stressed outdoors

Outdoors, with its smells, interaction possibilities and novelties, is a huge playground for a puppy. On the other hand, for an older dog, it can be a place of huge stress.

Whether your dog is in the first or second situation, the solution is similar. Take your dog outdoors in a quiet, uncrowded area. Take your dog for a long enough walk so that he has time to calm down and enjoy his walk. Or bring a toy that he likes with you – to guide or reassure him. This toy will distract him.

By making his walk last long enough, you will give him the opportunity to relieve himself outdoors. Congratulate him when this happens!

Again, scolding is not the right attitude. If your dog is subject to strong emotions, scolding him will only make him more agitated.

Outdoor walks specifically focused on his needs

The first (or last) walks of the day are very often only focused on the dog’s needs – especially if you live in an apartment.

In that case, how do we handle getting back home? Should the dog assimilate “walking” with “needs”? Won’t this have an impact on his behaviour? (No need to make the walk last longer, for example).

Generally speaking, it is not problematic to have one (or two) outdoor walk (s) specifically dedicated to the dog’s needs. Your dog will be able to remember the purpose of these outings. However, this learning will come in time and with confidence: if you go on three walks a day and only one of them is short and dedicated to needs, he will have no problem accepting it.

If, on the contrary, you only take him for very short and not very distracting walks solely dedicated to needs, he might suffer from this and start doing stupid things like destroying or being messy.

In conclusion, there are several reasons why your dog may not relieve himself while walking. It is necessary to understand these reasons before attempting to find a solution. Furthermore, scolding your dog is not the solution: it may simply make things worse by stressing him more than necessary.

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