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I am trying to retrain my dog in where he eliminates. I had been letting him go out to do his business wherever he wanted. With summer coming I don't want to dodge piles as I mow the lawn. So, I take him on leash to an out of way spot - where I do see he has used before. I know I need patience, but he is resistant. He will go more than 24 hours without a bowel because he doesn't want to go on leash. I walk him up and down the area giving potty command. I can tell he really needs to go because of the clenching I see at his rectum. We go back in and wait a bit. Same procedure over again.... When he finally goes, I give praise and a treat and he gets off leash at that point to run and play.(provided it isn't 11pm when he has movement. Also have fenced in yard.)I know I can't let in on training, but I feel this long time in between movements is harmful to him. Ps. has had recent annual vet checkup - ok, healthy one year old dog. Thank you for any suggestions.


Hi Melissa,

Some dogs (my own included) have deeply engrained habits as to where they eliminate.

If you don't want to designate part of your yard as your dog's potty area, then it sounds like you're doing everything right. You just need to stick to your guns until your dog understands the change in his routine, and the leashed walk becomes his new habit. This could take as long as a month to occur.

The ASPCA recommends:
"To help your dog form a new habit, youíll need to prevent him from eliminating in all other areas for a while. Keep him on the same schedule youíve been using, giving him regular opportunities to go out, but instead of letting him outside to find a spot on his own, take him out yourself on a leash. Lead him to the place where youíd like him to eliminate. When you get there, wait until your dog urinates or defecates. If heís not used to eliminating while on a leash, you might have to wait a few minutes. Try walking around a little in the designated potty area and be as quiet and unobtrusive as you can. If your dog doesnít eliminate within three to five minutes, take him back inside. Try again in 10 to 15 minutes. Continue to give your dog brief but frequent opportunities to go out to the potty area on a leash until he eliminates there.
When your dog relieves himself in the place youíve chosen, praise him calmly and, as he finishes up, reward him right on the spot with several delicious treats. Donít make him come to you to get the treat. The more delicious the rewards, the bigger an impression youíll make, so use something extra-exciting, like small pieces of chicken, hot dog or cheese. Reserve these special treats for bathroom breaks, only letting your dog have them after heís eliminated in the right spot. Consistency is also crucial if you want your dog to learn what youíre trying to teach him. Be sure to accompany your dog outside for all potty breaks and reward him on the spot every time he goes in the right place."

If your dog enjoys the company of other dogs, and you happen to have a friend who also has a dog, you might try walking the two dogs together. Or if your town has a dog park, that would be another good place to go.

Most dogs have a preferred type of bathroom area. Some dogs prefer bushy or grassy areas, while other dogs prefer to "go" in  wide open spaces. Be thoughtful about what your dog is telling you regarding his choice for a bathroom area, and find a new area that's similar. For example, a paved asphalt area isn't a substitute for a grass or bare ground. Also, be aware that dogs identify bathrooms by smell. Dog are looking for the smell of urine or feces, so if you are trying to train your dog to use a new area, you might want to import some grass or soil (or feces) into that area, or choose an area where other dogs frequent.

It won't harm your dog not to have bowel movements as infrequently as he's been having them, but ideally a dog has 2-3 poops a day.  It's actually more important that he urinates more frequently, at least every eight to 10 hours. But if you'd like to help your dog to have a bowel movement, you could help him along... provided the reason he's not going is that he's constipated (straining to go).
Use a Q-tip with some vaseline on it and insert it just into the anus. Don't push it in very deeply, just insert it by about half an inch.  This will stimulate your dog's reflex to clear the Q-tip from his butt, and he'll do that by pooping. You can I use the Q-tip trick once or twice a day.  Some owners of inured dogs with compromised sphincter control use this same technique. Praise and reward after he poops, since you want to enforce that behavior.

I hope your dog catches on soon, and learns what the walks are for!

I hope I've been a help. Best of luck!



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To date, I've owned 7 dogs, all of which have lived into old age. Having cared for them in all stages of life, I feel I can offer sound advice to other pet owners, and people considering getting a dog. I am knowledgeable about the AKC (American Kennel Club) dog breeds, training and exercise, caring for sick and elderly pets, feeding, as well as many holistic treatments pets can benefit from. My only request is that you write me using standard English and punctuation.


My life experience in this field is more like "on the job training" rather than an actual degree in animal welfare. You may benefit from my experiences over the past 30 years. Aside from the dogs I've owned, I'm also involved in "breed rescue" and have fostered several dogs, all of which have been adopted to wonderful "forever homes". I find helping people who want a dog very rewarding.

Real life experience, based on over 30 years of dog ownership.

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