Help - dog won't potty in backyard

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Help - dog won't potty in backyard

This is a discussion on Help - dog won't potty in backyard within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hello! New guy here. Just rescued a 3 year old beagle. He is very well behaved and is adapting well to our home. He is ...

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Old 08-03-2017, 08:00 PM
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Post Help - dog won't potty in backyard

Hello! New guy here. Just rescued a 3 year old beagle. He is very well behaved and is adapting well to our home. He is absolutely not interested in doing his business in our yard. We walk him 3-4 times a day and he marks the neighborhood. I don't mind walking him. That's part of being a dog owner. I am a little concerned about how this is going to work out this winter. Our neighborhood is on a hill and not always going to be easily traversed. I would love to have the yard as a potty option. We've walked around the yard. We've captured some pee and placed it in ideal spots on our property. He still shows no interest. Any thoughts or advice? Thank you!
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Old 08-12-2017, 08:58 PM
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Arrow Stop "walking" him to void. ;-D

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Originally Posted by Wdb617 View Post

[We] just rescued a 3-YO beagle. He's very well behaved & adapting well to our home. He's absolutely not interested in doing his business in our yard.

We walk him 3 - 4 times a day, & he marks the neighborhood. I don't mind walking him. That's part of being a dog owner.
I am a little concerned about how this is going to work out this winter. Our neighborhood is on a hill, & not always ... easily traversed. I'd love to have the yard as a potty option.

We've walked around the yard. We've captured some pee and placed it in ideal spots... He still shows no interest. Any thoughts or advice? Thank you!
Simplicity itself. Ping-pong.
It's a variant of the same process used on pups who are having trouble with housetraining.

Take the dog outside when he's "due" to void - on leash, each time.
1st thing in the morning,
last thing at night,
after waking from a nap,
after active play,
after a meal or a big drink,
after an exciting event.

WAIT. Give him at least 5-mins, standing still - be a post; don't chatter at the dog nor on the mobile, don't text, don't play CandyCrush, WAIT. Watch birds or clouds. Smile when U glance at the dog - he's not in trouble, don't glare at him.
Nothing?... Go back inside, & confine him to an easy-clean area, preferably a shipping crate [the airline-approved type]. Wait 10-mins or so, repeat... ad infinitum, until he VOIDS! - Glory hallelujah! PAR-TAY!! - & give that brilliant dog a jackpot, 6 to a dozen or more pea-sized or half-pea sized tidbits of high-quality protein, such as diced chicken-breast, lean beef, freeze-dried lamb-lung / beef-liver, etc.

Deliver the jackpot as a long string of individual tidbits: as quick as he swallows one, the next is in front of his nose, with a nonstop flow of warm, sincere praise in a quiet, deep-pitched tone.

A clicker or another preconditioned marker will make all much clearer to the dog, quickly - he'll grok that voiding is what's being rewarded, as the click [or the flash / thumbs-up gesture / beep / chirp / ______ ] is a camera-shutter capturing the Kodak-moment, when he does The Desired Action.
A marker is very helpful - but not mandatory. Patience is mandatory, but it won't take long- once he voids within the yard ONCE, U are on the way.

WHAT'S HIS MOTIVATION? - after the jackpot, take him for a walk.
But don't let him mark - sniff, yes. No marking - every time he lifts a leg, pretend U didn't notice it & step off. // Walk briskly point to point, choose a goal in the middle distance & gaze in that direction; as U approach it, choose a more-distant goal & transfer Ur gaze to that object - a tree, a gate, a curb crossing... Every now & again, stop at a likely spot to let him sniff at his leisure, but without marking.

If he needs to stool [watch his tail & his anus - the anus will protrude slightly when there's a BM pending], try to get him home to stool there.

Don't forget to both jackpot AND take him for a walk [sans marking] as his payoff for voiding at home. He'll get the concept pretty quickly - at that point, U can put voiding on cue for emergencies, which is a terrific advantage.


Put a label on the action as he does it - "hurry up" is tactful, "potty" is practical.
Consider one label for pee & one for stool - it helps clarify things for the dog.
Once a dog is empty, s/he can be safely crated or indoors for 6 to 8-hrs without worrying they'll be desperate to pee; of course, this assumes the dog is over 6-mos & under 12-YO for dogs 90# & under; giants of 125# or more are seniors by 10-YO, & may need more frequent potty-trips.
Diarrhea or other upsets, such as emotionally-triggered gut motility, can also shorten the period that dogs can wait without stress.

The label only becomes a cue once it's solidly attached to the action - for pee, this can take as little as 3 days if U use a marker to tell the dog what's being rewarded, & promptly pay out.
Connecting a different label to 'poop' takes a bit longer, as dogs generally pee 3 to 4 times as often as they stool - there are simply fewer opportunities to capture that action, in a given day or 3.

Ping-pong is easy & works very well - he just goes out, & if nothing is produced, comes back in & is confined, then goes out again... & again... & again... until he finally voids. Pups as young as 56-DO quickly get the idea.

Let us know how U get on, please? // It's August, U should be well-practiced by the time the snow flies!

- terry

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Old 08-12-2017, 11:06 PM
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Why not let the dog mark?
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Old 08-13-2017, 10:53 AM
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Arrow to teach him to *drain* his bladder, vs lower the liquid-level

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Why not let the dog mark?
we're trying to convince a M dog - who may be intact, i did not ask - to void at home, something he's successfully avoided so far, by refusing to, then by using his subsequent walk-time to empty his bladder [& presumably, bowels as well]. // An intact-M wants to advertise his presence, & will reserve ammo for trips off home-base for the purpose - generally they begin marking close to the perimeter of their "turf", after exiting a door or gate, or crossing onto sidewalk / road, & then they overmark every M dog's urine they encounter.
Overmarking usually persists in M-dogs who are desexed as adults - dogs castrated before 6-MO or at 6-MO may only occasionally overmark, often on an intact-M's more pungent urine, or a F's urine.

I'll personally bet that he's either intact, or was recently neutered as an adult - & retaining a good deal of urine as a reservoir for later marking is a bad habit.
If he's in the house unconfined while U're at work, he may become quite uncomfortable, & housetrained or not, want to / need to void, to reduce the pressure -- as he starts Ur working-day confined with "a third of a tank" or whatever reservoir, already - then he adds to his urine savings-acct, over the entire time U are gone. Kidneys filter 24 / 7.

teaching him to COMPLETELY empty his bladder when given the opportunity also means skip marking - as he'll persist in "saving some" so he's got ammo to mark.
When he does not get to mark & has a partial-tank, so to speak, he'll eventually realize that draining the tank entirely makes him more-comfortable for a longer time - if he's allowed to dribble it, he'll continue reserving ammo; there are no consequences, & the penny never drops.

Does that make sense?

Q for the OP -
@Wdb617 , does he also kick-scratch in the direction of his feces? // i have a hunch he may, & that would also indicate he was desexed late, & has the full repertoire of M-marking behaviors, & will also if he was previously an only dog be likely to posture at other Ms, particularly intact-Ms when met.

If he was kept as part of a hunting pack, he's much less-likely to posture:
stand tall on toes, head up, mouth CLOSED, ears & head slightly forward, chest out, tail raised & stiff, body tense, wt forward; maybe a hard stare at the other M; possibly a slow metronome-like stiff wag side to side; maybe hackles over the shoulder, maybe even hackles along his spine or on his rump, depending upon how reactive the other M dog is, & how aroused the Beagle is.

Does he kick-scratch toward his stool? ... & if so, what's his reaction to other M dogs, especially intact-Ms?

thanks in advance,
- terry
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Old 08-14-2017, 07:32 PM
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Thank you so much for the information! We will give this a go and see what kind of progress we can make. In regards to some of your questions - he was not "fixed" when we rescued him. We have since taken care of that. He was neutered about 10 days ago.

He has reacted differently to different dogs though I do not know the gender of each dog. I've seen him excited to get near another dog; I've seen the hackles go up; I've also seen him completely indifferent. I will pay a little closer attention to those actions.

Lastly, he does not, at this point, scratch in the direction of his feces. Though, if he starts going in our yard, it wouldn't surprise me. Our last dog did that regularly (drove me nuts on muddy days!). She would not do it on walks, only when in the yard. Thank you again for the detailed response!!!
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Old 08-15-2017, 10:50 AM
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Talking there's always a new twist...

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Originally Posted by Wdb617 View Post

... he does not, at this point, scratch in the direction of his feces. Though, if he starts going in our yard, it wouldn't surprise me.
Our last dog did that regularly (drove me nuts on muddy days!). She would not do it on walks, only when in the yard.

Thank you again for the detailed response!!!
how very interesting - many Fs don't get into kick-scratching at all, unless they're in heat, when - natch! - they want to mark with urine frequently, & also want to reserve as much pee / poop for off-site marking as possible.

There are also Fs who had multiple M sibs, & may have been 'framed' by 2 brothers in utero - such androgenized Fs can display several M-typical behaviors, such as squatting to urinate with one leg lifted, handstanding to urinate in small breeds, posturing at strange dogs, etc, even after they're spayed.

It's very intriguing that U had a F who'd kick-scratch on home turf, but NOT when abroad - which is precisely the reverse of what i'd expect. Kick-scratching is advertising, it underlines the dog-pile, a sort of "Look here!" ==> arrow, so it seems very counterintuitive to do it only at home.

Out of curiosity, was she hesitant to meet other dogs, or did she only greet / meet them, & not play with them once introduced? - IOW, a bit of a wallflower, not a social butterfly?

U're more than welcome, & i do hope my reply is of some help.
- terry
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Old 08-15-2017, 11:54 AM
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Very interesting. My current female dog scratches after urinating and defecating near her home. She's pretty territorial; pees and poops on top of other dogs pee and poop spots and reacts aggressively when she sees other people and dogs near our house. (We're working on that.)

She's starting to learn she needs to go all at once when we go outside just because I don't have a yard for her to wander around and go at her leisure, so when we go out in the morning before work, for example, that's her chance to get it all out of her system until I get home in the evening. She's well house trained and doesn't go in the house at all unless she's sick and legitimately can't help it, but it can't be comfortable holding a full bladder all day.

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Originally Posted by leashedForLife View Post
WAIT. Give him at least 5-mins, standing still - be a post; don't chatter at the dog nor on the mobile, don't text, don't play CandyCrush, WAIT. Watch birds or clouds. Smile when U glance at the dog - he's not in trouble, don't glare at him.
Nothing?... Go back inside...
In the evening, she asks to go out a lot, sometimes every few minutes, but I've been doing this and she's getting the idea. If she asks to go out and goes to the bathroom in her bathroom spot, she gets outside play time. Yay! If she doesn't, back inside we go. Boo! So to the OP, this works even for a house trained dog who just likes going outside every few minutes to survey her territory and sniff and mark all the trees and bushes.

My previous dog, also female, did the scratching thing after going to the bathroom, too, and she wasn't at all territorial. I know she had siblings but not sure how many were male. She was young when I got her, though. 2-3 months, tops, so she wasn't raised with them for very long. I didn't know scratching was a territory/communication to other dogs thing, but that makes sense. I thought it was an attempt to cover up urine/feces, like a cat.

Learn something new every day. Thanks!
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Old 08-15-2017, 03:25 PM
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Red face Cats indeed bury their feces when possible -mostly in my garden, when i had one

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... I didn't know scratching was a territory/communication to other dogs thing, but that makes sense. I thought it was an attempt to cover up urine/feces, like a cat.
..
it would [sometimes] be handy if dogs buried their feces, but no such luck, LOL - they're proud of them.
Some dogs underline just how wonderful their own excretions are, & also exalt their own droppings, by literally putting them on pedestals - they poop on a stone, a log, a stump, a fallen branch... anything that's not actually "on the ground", but an elevation, is fair game.

FYI re non-dog species
Otters & foxes will also stool 'onto' a raised object as a territorial communication / sexual advertisement, it can be, "I live here! - keep moving!', or "hiya, sweetheart... I'm available, babe..."

Male horses patronize 'stud piles', where the Ms in a given area contribute to a cairn of dung where their territories intersect. It's thought such shared middens reduce actual fighting, as stallions can assess the age / relative health / threat status of a given potential rival, without getting into a dangerously violent fight.

Wild Horse Behavior

- terry

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Old 08-15-2017, 07:00 PM
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Amazing how the minds of animals work. In response to your question, our old F that scratched did so most times while facing the tree line where deer roamed. She wanted to get after those deer something fierce. They would come in our yard and she would go nuts. Perhaps her actions were in response to the deer.

Part of me regrets not letting her chase a deer just once before she passed. She wanted it so bad! We didn't want to lose her though.

Our new M isn't interested in the deer or bunnies. But, I am now being told by my wife that she has witnessed him scratching with his back legs after going potty. I have not seen it yet but she says just within the past week it has started. Go figure.
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Old 08-17-2017, 08:27 AM
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I'm having the same problem with my cocker spaniel/lhasa apso male. The first day we brought him home, he peed & pooped in our yard, but now all he wants to do is walk. I too don't mind the walks...they're good exercise for me also...but I share your concern about winter. I used to have a beagle. Since they're scent hounds, they LOVE to walk. Mine was very curious & used to chase after squirrels all the time. They're such sweet dogs. :-)
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