Dear Doctor: The Dog Won’t “Go” in the Yard
Q. I have a four-year old Lab mix I adopted two years ago. My problem is that he will not pee or poop in my small, enclosed yard. He always waits until we go out, which we do at least three times a day. I have tried keeping him in the yard without going out for a walk to see if he will “go,” but he doesn’t, and by evening I finally give in and take him out. I have even tried to bring his poo home (in baggies of course!) and placed some in the corner of the yard to let him know it is okay to go there. Likewise, I have collected urine in a cup and put it in the yard. These ploys don’t work, either. Everyone’s opinion seems to be to not take him out at all, and eventually he will relieve himself, but I worry that if he doesn’t go for long periods it could be a health risk. I realize this problem is most likely my own doing since I seem to have inadvertently taught him that he should go outside of the yard by taking him out so much. Any advice?
Dear Ms. Ryan,
A. We are happy to report that you do not a have a problem! It sounds like you have a delightful dog who will go to great lengths not to soil his outside “crate,” if you will, and also looks forward to going on outings with you. For the record, going with him on walks at least three times a day, as you do, is not “taking him out so much.” An adult dog should be taken out three or four times a day at a minimum. Can they get by with twice a day? Yes. Should they have to? No. So many of today’s pet dogs are bored to death, lying around by themselves until their owners finally go get the leash. Bonding with your dog several times a day by going out with him and letting him sniff and interact with his environment increases both his happiness and sense of well being, along with his attachment to you. The only health risk attached to making him wait in the yard until he can’t hold it in any longer is a mental health risk. You are doing great. Keep up the good work!