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  • 1.  How to train a dog to potty in yard

    Posted 04-21-2019 04:23 PM

    Hi, I just adopted a rescue who is housebroken. He lets me know when he has to go by running to the front door, which is great. However, I leave him with my parents while I am at work and would like him to relieve himself in the yard because my mother doesn’t feel comfortable walking him alone just yet and also so she won’t have to walk him if her arthritis is bothering her.  He will urinate in the yard but not do his solid waste in the yard.

    Following some advice I read, I walked him 10-15 minutes (actually I did more more like 30 mins) in the yard right after eating. I used words such as potty. I tried standing still so he would feel free to go. When that didn’t work, I tried letting him off leash but then he was distracted by the birds. Then on leash again, I walked him with purpose around the perimeter of the yard, but nothing. So as soon as I went in the house, he ran to the front door, I walked him down the block, and he did his business.

    If anyone has success in this area, please let me know.




    Update (following my replies below):

    We had a few days when he wouldn’t defecate at all in the yard. But I started saying “potty” over and over again when he was in the process of defecating on our walks and rewarded him for it with treats.

    But this weekend, I had more time to practice and today was the second day in the row now that he I have told him to “do potty” and he ran to one of his preferred spots in the yard to defecate. I do this off-leash in the yard. While he does his business, I just repeat the words “good potty” over and over and then rewarded him when he was done. I was careful not to get too close, say “good boy”, or put my hands in my pocket where the treats are while he is in the process because that seems to distract him. (FYI, I use a different word to tell him to urinate.) And I make sure I clean up after him promptly as he does have his preferred spot and I don’t want anything to impede him from going there again.

    A few people suggested to “walk him on the leash” in the yard but this clearly gets him into a different state of mind as he clearly associates leash with going to the front door of my house and going outside for his walk. I did try walking and walking and walking on leash in the yard with no results. It just doesn’t work for him though it might work for other dogs and puppies.



  • 2.  RE: How to train a dog to potty in yard

    Posted 04-21-2019 08:16 PM

    How do you reward him for urinating (or defecating) outside? I didn't see a reward mentioned. If he is at all food motivated, I imagine you are using training treats and the first thing I would address is making certain you bring the treats outside with him. If he consistently gets a treat RIGHT AWAY when he urinates at all outside, he is more likely to do it! Don't wait to go back inside for rewards as then he will think the behavior that was right was just going back in and not connect with having relieved himself outside!


  • 3.  RE: How to train a dog to potty in yard

    Posted 04-21-2019 08:53 PM

    Thanks, I did try that today.  I’ve been using verbal praise when he urinates and did reward him with a treat, but he still won’t defecate in the yard. I strongly suspect he lived in an apartment, condo, or townhouse where there was no or little yard (perhaps just deck) or was discouraged from going out there. He acts as he never was in a yard. As soon as he finishes urinating, he wants to go back inside. Just once showed a bit of interest in exploring.


    So I did leave his fecal sample in the yard yesterday hoping he’d notice his scent. This morning, I took him in the yard. He finally did defecate in the yard and I praised him, gave him a treat, then fed him his breakfast. I walked him in the yard again, no success that time, walked him around the block, and he did it again during his walk. But at least I think he might get the idea. Now I have to try that in my parent’s yard. Thankfully he is very food oriented and pretty clever. (He’s an American Eskimo so loves to be rewarded for his tricks. I guess I have to think of this “activity” as a trick.)