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Canine Behavior/My dog refuses to go out


My dog is 6 1/2. She is hound lab and mastiff mix. She is a very passive dog and very sweet.  She loves everyone and isn't very energetic.  
As soon as rainy season started here and 4th of July fireworks, she refuses to go out for a walk. She holds it in until the next morning and even then it is difficult to get her to go. We put her leash on and she will just sit or lie down and won't budge. We tried treats, bringing her brush because she loves to be brushed but it doesn't work. We have tried different behaviors to get her to go. I've tried coaxing her by talking to her really sweetly by saying, Let's Go for a walk!, trying to make it sound fun.  I've also Tried not to not say anything , just being business-like. If we are lucky enough to get her out the front door, she will stop and sit down in the walkway and not budge again. She has always only gone out twice a day but she goes on long walks for about 30-45 minutes. We don't have a fenced in yard so we can't let her out on her own to go.
We are really worried about her. She doesn't have any accidents in the house and I know it's not healthy to hold it in for so long.
I appreciate any advise.

Greetings, and thank you for contacting All Experts,
Your case isn't unusual at all, there are many dogs who become traumatized from some scary stimuli outdoors and categorically refuse to go out. Loud noises are often one of the main culprits. As you mention, indeed, it's not healthy to keep her bladder full for long periods of time as the urine concentrates and bacteria may thrive triggering urinary tract infections. I have several tips to offer that you can try, but if they should not work, you may have to enroll the aid of a trainer for hands-on assistance, and possibly, a veterinary behaviorist to increase your dog's response threshold.

From your description it sounds like you are dealing with two issues: the presence of rain and then the 4th of July fireworks on top of that which may have further contributed to the fear. I can imagine your dog not liking to go potty in the rain and then the fireworks making the outdoors further unpleasant and even scary. Luckily, you know what stimuli played a role in her reluctance to go outside, therefore you can have a certain level of control on what to work on. Definitively,for now, avoid as possible taking her out if there are loud noises (ie construction workers, the guy with the loud motorcycle) and when its pouring or a major storm passing by. It sounds like the rain and the fireworks seem to have caused an everlasting effect even if there are no fireworks and even if there is no rain. You have tried already several different methods, so what's left to do? I am going to include you some helpful reads:

1)For Dogs scared to go outside to potty in general:

2) For dogs who won't go potty in the rain:

3) Training a dog to potty on command:

4) Exposure therapy for fearful dogs

Pinterest resources for fearful dogs all in one place:

Hopefully, you'll find some tips that may help you out or a combination of tips which may be the winning strategy. If you need further assistance, feel free to use the follow-up function. Sending you my very best wishes,

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Adrienne Janet Farricelli CPDT-KA


I can answer questions pertaining dog psychology and general dog behavior. Why is my dog doing this? And what can I do about it? are common questions I am asked. I will not answer questions concerning health problems as this is out of my spectrum, but I can recommend a vet visit if there are chances behavioral problems may stem from a possible underlying medical problem.


I am a certified dog trainer (CPDT-KA) that has attended seminars on dog behavior. I am acquainted with behavior modification programs and have read several books from reputable authors such as Patricia McConnell, Turid Rugaas, Nicholas Dodman and Bruce Fogle to name a few. I have rehabilitated dogs affected by moderate to severe behavioral problems.

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