Why Does My Puppy Only Pee on Our Walk? And What Should I Do About It?
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You’re trying to get your puppy Max to potty in your yard. But he pees only on your walk.
You want to discover why he has this habit–and change it. Sometimes you don’t have time to take him on a walk.
In this article, I’ll discuss possible reasons why your puppy pees only on his walk. Believe it or not, other puppies also have this habit.
I’ll also set forth various ways to fix this problem and have him pee in your yard.
What’s Wrong with Your Puppy Peeing Only on Walks?
Of course there’s nothing wrong with a puppy peeing while being walked. The problem occurs if he pees only on walks.
You may not have time to walk him but need him to pee in your yard.
After all, you don’t want him to have an avoidable accident in the house just because you didn’t have time to walk him.
Possible Reasons Why Your Puppy Pees Only on Your Walk
There are many possible reasons why your puppy pees only on your walk and not in your yard.
Some are because he’s developed the habit of peeing only on walks. And others are more complex. They include:
1. Attraction to the Scent of Other Dogs
Often dogs want to put their scent over where other dogs have peed. This can be “pee-mail” to show other canines that they’ve been there.
Doing so may be a bathroom habit or marking.
2. He Gets a Walk if He Pees Only When Walked
Being a smarty pants, your puppy may potty only on walks because he wants to stroll around the neighborhood.
He understands that he gets extra walks that way.
After all, it’s more fun to him than just going outside to pee and immediately going back inside.
3. Something Negative May Have Occurred in the Yard
Your puppy may be reluctant to potty in your yard because something happened to him that was scary when he was outside. It may be a noise, sight, or smell.
Puppies are just learning about their surroundings and are very impressionable.
And things that occur may even be magnified if they are going through a fear period when a scary event occurs.
Scary events can include:
- Thunder and lightning
- A loud vehicle
- Other dogs barking
- Other people or animals in the yard
- Loud children or adults
- Construction sounds
- Lawn mowers and other similar equipment
- Something burning
- A plane passing overhead
- Crashing sounds
- A plane flying overhead
- A banner or flag blowing in the wind
You get the idea. Anything that’s new or strange to the puppy can be frightening.
If he experiences this while in the yard, he can view it as a terrifying place. And he’ll be reluctant to pee in the yard.
4. Your Puppy May See the Yard as Part of His Den
Some puppies won’t pee in their yard because they view the yard as an extension of their home. And they don’t want to potty where they live.
5. Something in the Yard May Have Changed
If your puppy originally peed in your yard but stopped, something may have changed there.
You may have paved part of the yard, re-landscaped it, or made other modifications. It may be different:
- Plants and vegetation
- Lawn furniture
- Ornamental statues
- Wind chimes
6. The Yard May Not Be Clean
The yard may be dirty or contaminated. It may not even be something that you’re aware of.
If the yard has been used by dogs or other animals to poop in, there may be feces on the grass.
If so, try to clean it up so that your puppy will be more attracted to peeing there.
Or there may be some runoff from your yard or a neighbor’s. This can be from a soap or other chemical.
After all, our dogs have a “nose brain” and are very sensitive to environmental smells.
7. Your Puppy May Not Like Peeing on the Surface in Your Yard
Depending on where you live and the weather, your pup may simply not like peeing there.
The surface may be mulch, weedy grass, cement, black top, snow, or decking material.
Even regular grass may be something some puppies don’t want to urinate on because of their background.
For example, puppies from some shelters may have been used to peeing only on cement, not on grass, before being adopted.
8. You May Have Reinforced Him Peeing Only While on Walks
Sometimes an owner praises and rewards a puppy with a treat only when he pees on a walk but not when he pees in the yard.
This often occurs when a puppy is sent out into the yard on his own to potty and returns inside.
No one is there to reinforce him for peeing in the yard. So he stops pottying there.
Even if you praise and reward him with a treat when he returns inside, he won’t understand that you intend to reward him for peeing.
Instead, he’ll believe that he’s being praised for coming to you.
9. It May Be Difficult To Enter the Yard
There may be some type of obstacle preventing or discouraging him from entering your yard.
There may be stairs, a gate, or ramp that he’s not comfortable traversing.
Even if your puppy is used to indoor stairs, he may not like the surface outside because the indoor stairs may be carpeted but the outside ones are wood, which don’t provide as much traction.
Perhaps he has to exit through a deck to reach the yard and he’s afraid of heights.
Solutions To Have Your Puppy Pee in Your Yard
Your puppy may not pee on your walk because of one or more of the reasons stated above. Once you figure out why, you can solve the problem.
Some possible solutions include:
1. Place Some Scent in Your Yard
If your puppy is peeing only on walks because he smells the scent of other dogs who’ve urinated, it may help to place some other dog’s scent in your yard.
You can have a friend’s dog urinate in a section of your yard where you want your puppy to potty.
Or you can take some of your puppy’s urine from where he’s urinated and place it in a section of your yard that will become your puppy’s potty area.
2. Re-Housetrain Your Puppy To Potty on Command
Perhaps your puppy wasn’t totally potty trained. Don’t despair!
You can re-train him to go to the bathroom in your yard. And you can even teach him to pee on cue!
You should choose a small area, such as eight by eight feet, where you want your puppy to go to the bathroom.
Then, take him out on leash to that area to go to the bathroom.
Puppies need to potty after they sleep, eat, drink water, play, chew, or have any excitement. So use this to set your pup up to succeed.
Normally, puppies have to urinate immediately after they wake up in the morning. So take him out to that area first thing in the morning after he wakes up.
Take him out the same door, through the same route, to the same place each time until he understands why he’s there.
Use a phrase such as “go potty.” Let him sniff around.
Give him about five minutes to pee. Most puppies have to pee during that time.
Immediately after he’s peed, praise him and give him a small piece of a yummy, high-value treat that he can’t resist.
PRO-TRAINER TIP: Have a supply of great, yummy treats that your puppy can’t resist ready as a reward.
Then devise a potty schedule for your puppy.
Make sure that everyone helping in your quest to housetrain him is consistent in taking him out on time to the same area, using your potty phrase, and praising and rewarding him with a small treat immediately after he pees.
What if he doesn’t pee? Take him back inside, on leash, for a couple of minutes, then take him back outside.
Again tell your puppy to “go potty” and praise and reward when he does.
Though tedious, doing this in-and-out routine usually works.
One of my rescues, a sheltie named Lady, learned to potty on cue this way.
I took her on leash to the bathroom area and told her to “go potty.”
It took a number of in-and-out times each day over a week, but she learned what was expected.
And she was reliably housetrained to potty on cue!
It’s important to reinforce your puppy’s behavior of peeing in the yard especially if you’ve reinforced this behavior only while on walks.
3. Maintain a Regular Schedule
Dogs are creatures of habit. They require a regular schedule regarding eating, drinking water, sleeping, playing, training–and, of course, pottying.
So, as much as possible, make sure that everyone meets your puppy’s needs and follows your timetable.
4. Make Sure that Your Yard is Safe Not Scary to Your Puppy
Something scary may have happened when your puppy was in the yard.
Check around your yard for animals.
Stay in your yard at various times of day to see if there are any unusual sights, sounds, or smells that may be scary to a puppy.
Remember to look at what’s scary from your puppy’s point of view.
Even though we may be accustomed to a neighbor’s talking or playing music loudly, a truck revving its engine, or the smell of a nearby fireplace, a puppy isn’t.
If it’s something that you can change, do so.
If what’s bothering your puppy is something that just happens in everyday life, you’ll have to get your puppy to adjust to it.
Make your puppy think that your yard is a great, fun place to be.
Of course, don’t play with him in his designated potty area.
You can go out in the yard and play with your puppy with a favorite toy.
Have him play with activity toys that release kibble.
Dogs can read our body language.
So be silly, not tense, when outside with your puppy.
It will help him understand that the yard is a fun place to be.
If your puppy is too tense in the yard, you can try some holistic things to help him. Of course, check with your vet first.
You can even try a ThunderShirt if wearing one doesn’t stress your puppy out. Some pups love wearing a jacket.
For the ThunderShirt to work, you need to teach him that great things happen when he wears it.
So, during the phase when he’s getting accustomed to it, put it on inside and play with him for a while.
When the play ends, the ThunderShirt is taken off.
Do this for a week or so until he understands that good things happen when it’s on.
Then, eventually put it on him in the yard. And play with him so that he relaxes.
If your puppy is still too scared in your yard, get help from a veterinary behaviorist or positive reinforcement trainer experienced with such matters.
5. Make Sure that Your Yard is Accessible to your Puppy
If there’s anything that makes it difficult for your puppy to get into your yard, you may need to modify it or accustom him to it if possible.
For example, if he’s not used to uncarpeted stairs, you may have to provide some traction on the outdoor ones.
Or, if it’s safe to do so, just work on training him to become accustomed to the stairs by using yummy treats.
If your puppy is afraid of heights and must exit through a deck, make sure that the deck is safe and he can’t fall from it.
Add safe railings that are tightly spaced so that he can’t fall off of the deck.
If there’s something else that needs to be altered outside on his potty route, be sure to adjust the environment to make it safe and the yard accessible.
6. Clean Up the Yard
Some puppies won’t go to the bathroom if they sense that the yard isn’t clean.
So clean up any poop that’s there.
And clean up any other chemicals that your puppy may be sensitive to.
Try to prevent such occurrences in the future.
7. Get Your Puppy Used to the Surface in the Yard
Your puppy might not like the surface where he must potty.
Some puppies who come from shelters may have only been able to pee on cement.
So they may only want to pee on cement while on a walk.
If your puppy has access only to mulch, stones, or other non-grassy area, get him used to pottying there while on leash.
Just as you would train him to grass, take him there on leash and praise and reward when he pees.
If the surface is too hard on his feet (such as large stones) or is dangerous (such as cocoa mulch if he ingests it), make an area where it’s safe for him to potty.
You can make an area with sod or make another type of outdoor potty yard.
8. Get Him Used to a New Routine or Home
If something recently changed, such as his routine or home, get him accustomed to the new matters.
Sometimes our lives change.
The family members at home may change.
Or you may have a new job with new hours.
If your puppy needs to adjust to a new routine, make sure that you’re consistent in following a new schedule that also meets your puppy’s needs.
If you recently moved, get your puppy used to his new house and yard.
Have a set area in which he learns to potty.
9. Get Professional Help if Necessary
If you’ve tried everything and your puppy still refuses to pee in your yard, it’s time to get professional help.
You can take your puppy to the vet to be sure that nothing is physically wrong.
As long as everything’s fine physically, you should consult a veterinary behaviorist or positive reinforcement trainer who’s experienced with such matters.
What NOT To Do: Don’t Try This at Home
It can be very frustrating when your puppy will pee only on a walk. But don’t despair.
With patience and being your dog’s detective to determine what’s wrong, you can teach your puppy to potty outside your home.
But you don’t want to do anything that can make matters worse. So don’t do the following:
Don’t Correct Him for Peeing While on a Walk.
This can make things worse. While you’re teaching him to potty in your yard, let him pee while on his walk if he needs to. Just ignore it.
If you correct him in order to stop him from peeing on your walk, it could lead to other problems.
He may physically need to go to the bathroom. If you tell him not to, he may hold it if he can.
But he may also become afraid to pee in your presence.
This can lead to him not peeing in front of you in your yard. And even lead to out-of-sight accidents in the house.
Don’t Stop Taking Him on Walks.
Walks really help socialize a puppy to new sights, smells, activities, people, and friendly puppies. And they help provide physical exercise.
Don’t deprive him of that or you can harm his development.
Will correcting my dog from peeing on a walk teach him to go to the bathroom in my yard?
No! You need to teach him that what you want is for him to pee in your yard.
Re-train him on leash using praise and treats.
Make sure that he can access your yard and that there’s nothing that he finds objectionable in the yard such as something that scares him.
If you correct him for peeing while on a walk, he may become afraid to pee in your sight.
Is my puppy being stubborn when he refuses to pee in my yard and pees only on his walks?
No! Puppies aren’t stubborn.
There’s a reason why he does that. He may not have been fully potty trained. Or there may be a reason why he won’t pee in your yard.
Can a puppy be re-trained if he pees only while on a walk?
Sure! Don’t get discouraged.
You just need to figure out why he won’t pee while in your yard. Then you can change what needs to be corrected to fix the problem.
If your puppy refuses to potty in your yard and will only potty on walks, don’t despair. You can probably figure out why after thinking about the above possibilities.
And once you determine what’s wrong, you can change whatever you need to so that your beloved puppy will pee in your yard.
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