Having a dog that won’t poop outside is frustrating, given that it means they must be pooping inside. So, when you’ve cleaned up one too many accidents in your home after taking your dog for a walk, you’re likely wondering—why won’t my dog poop outside?
Many factors come into play for dogs not pooping outside, from unfavorable weather conditions to their personal preference. I’ll help you understand why your dog isn’t pooping outside and teach you how to change it.
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Top Reasons Your Dog Won’t Poop Outside
As much as you love your dog, tensions can get high in households where dogs treat living room floors as their personal restrooms. So, below are some reasons why you may have repeated issues with your dog not pooping outside.
- The weather isn’t conducive for pooping (cold, rainy, or windy, among others)
- They’ve made a habit of using your house as a bathroom
- They know they’ll have to go inside after pooping
- Too many sights and smells for them to focus
- History of staying in a kennel 24/7
- They don’t like the feel of the outdoor surface on their paws
- A medical issue is at play
Luckily, most dogs opt to poop outside because it’s more comfortable. However, if your dog has a medical problem, they might not poop outside.
Whereas some dogs don’t like to poop outside because they think the indoors are more comfortable for doing their business, others may choose to hold in their poop purposely.
Such a scenario is expected if you usually bring your dog inside right after they poop—your dog is intelligent and wants as much outdoor time as possible.
The Challenge of Adults vs. Puppies
Although the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” isn’t entirely accurate, it could be more challenging to teach an older dog to use the outdoors as their restroom than a puppy.
Puppies will naturally have to go to the restroom inside of your home at first. In fact, many veterinarians discourage owners from taking puppies outside until the animal has their complete set of vaccinations, which is at around 16 weeks.
To complicate things, some trainers label dogs as picking up a habit if they do something for over 30 days. So, most puppies develop the habit of going to the bathroom indoors before you have the chance to teach them to break it.
You might use indoor potty pads during this time, which can make the outdoors feel unnatural to the puppy once you’re ready to transition them.
In the case of adult dogs, a history of neglect or spending excessive amounts of time in a cage can force them to make pooping indoors a habit. If you adopt an adult dog, they may have learned indoor pooping habits either from their previous owner or by living in a cage at the shelter.
7 Strategies To Get Your Dog To Poop Outside
By now, you can hopefully narrow down the answer to your question, “Why won’t my dog poop outside?” So, regardless of the reason, below are some strategies you can implement to help them change this stinky habit.
1. Potty Train Your Puppy
If you have a puppy with its complete set of vaccinations, you’ll need to work on potty training them. To start, you should bring your puppy outside every hour. Then, whenever they poop outdoors, give them lots of love and a treat to encourage good behavior.
Over time, you’ll be able to lengthen how long you wait between taking your puppy outside to poop and pee. Once they go six months without an accident, you can feel confident that you’ve potty trained them.
2. Use Enzymatic Cleaner
If you’ve had your dog for a while, you’ve likely noticed how they love peeing where other dogs did to mark their territory. The same idea can apply to their pooping habits—if they smell poop, they’ll think it’s okay to poop there.
Unfortunately, no matter how well you scrub poop off your floor with a strong cleaner, it’s not the same as using an enzymatic solution. So, buy an enzymatic cleaner and use it on all areas of your home where your dog pooped to prevent them from pooping there again.
3. Get Your Dog Weather Gear
A Labrador might raise their eyes at your Chihuahua that doesn’t want to go outside in rain or cold weather, but the solution isn’t to let them poop inside the house. Instead, buy a rain jacket or a warm coat for your dog.
You can even go as far as putting boots on their feet. Not only can that help them to brave unfavorable weather, but it’ll also help keep your house cleaner. If your dog isn’t a fan of getting dressed up, try putting a canopy in a portion of your yard so that they have a more comfortable place to go to the bathroom.
4. Take Them to the Vet
If you notice your dog straining when they go to the bathroom or displaying other odd symptoms, take them to the vet. They might be pooping indoors because of arthritis, hip dysplasia, or another condition that makes it painful for them to walk outside.
5. Give Them a Different Pooping Surface
Most dogs gravitate to grass for pooping. However, some dogs might not like the feel of grass, especially if it’s muddy or dry. So, try bringing your dog outside to poop in an area that has several different terrains.
Parks are an excellent place for this, as your dog might have access to grass, gravel, and pavement. Should your dog start pooping outside once they have access to different terrain, you’ve solved the problem.
6. Find a Quiet Environment
Kids playing, squirrels frolicking, and cars speeding by can be exciting (and sometimes scary) distractions for your dog. So, although your dog may want to poop outside, they might hold it in from overstimulation or fear.
Therefore, try creating a quieter outdoor space for your dog to poop. Talking in a soothing voice can also help drown out small sounds and encourage them to focus on doing their business.
7. Use Crate Training
When you use them with care, crates can be an excellent way to help potty train your dog and give them a sense of security. Dogs prefer to poop away from where they sleep and play. So, by keeping your dog in a crate, they’ll avoid going to the bathroom.
Therefore, as soon as you take them out, put them on a leash and bring them directly outside. With time, they should learn to poop outside. And while they’re learning, you can have peace of mind that they’re not pooping all over your house when you’re not home.
The Bottom Line
So, you can now change your question from “Why won’t my dog poop outside?” to “Which solution am I going to use first?”
The good news is that as long as your dog doesn’t have a medical issue, you should be able to teach them to use the great outdoors as their restroom. Patience, positive reinforcement, and love go a long way in helping your dog pick up this new habit.