Dog Won't Pee On Walks
As a pup parent, you’d expect that presenting your pup with the perfect opportunity to go pee would mean they'd use it, but what if your dog won’t pee on walks? When that happens, naturally you might get anxious about your dog possibly peeing indoors instead, wonder if there's a broader urinary issue at hand, or ponder if your pup has more intricate psychological barriers that you’ve yet to uncover.
In all likelihood, the problem is quite solvable, and this article will attempt to cover some key bases; these include why urine & marking is important for dogs, possible reasons why your pup might not be peeing on walks, and solutions to remedy the behavior.
Urine & Marking Behavior In Dogs
Certainly, you’re right to feel odd about your pup not peeing on walks, especially when peeing outdoors and marking territory comes so naturally (you’d think) for these wolf-babies. Of course, the main reason for peeing is simply to eliminate waste, but there are other reasons for urinating outside.
It's worth acknowledging that marking isn't just for territorial dominance. It's also used as a signal if a male or female dog is in heat, helping to communicate to nearby dogs and proliferate offspring.
On the opposite side of the confidence spectrum, urination can also signal fear or stress.
Regardless of the reason for peeing, make no mistake that outdoor urination is expected in dogs, and it’s fair to wonder why your pup is resisting it.
Reasons for Not Peeing On Walks
Now, going over some reasons why your pup might not be peeing on the walk, hopefully this helps you guess a diagnosis for your dog. Remember that real-life is often a bit more complex than is expected, and your pup not peeing on walks might actually be a combination of several factors, some of which may not be mentioned on this list! Though, this should at least serve as an okay starting point for better understanding.
No Need to Go Pee
Sometimes it’s really the simplest answer which explains everything; in this case, maybe your dog just doesn’t actually have to go pee?
For example, for dogs who readily have an indoor pee pad, or access to a backyard throughout the day, it could very well be that your dog has already emptied their bladder and simply doesn’t have to go pee during dog walks.
If this is the case, you probably have nothing to worry about, and you should know that many pup parents would be glad to have a pup who isn't overly territorial with marking habits.
Another reason your dog may not need to pee is due to “stage fright” – this is where your dog just might not want to be watched while doing her or his business, or the new environment has your dog in fight or flight mode.
While this seems like it’s worth a chuckle, pup parents have indeed reported rescuing dogs who were actually abused for peeing and pooping inside the house, and came to associate those feelings of fear with doing their business around humans. In cases like these, dogs may actually prefer going by themselves into the bushes and relieving themselves.
Of course, these types of psychological traumas and barriers are a bit too complex to fully dip into here, but suffice it to say that you’ll have to remain patient and apply the positive reinforcement steps outlined further below in this article.
Preferred Potty Spots
A third reason why your pup might not be peeing on walks is because they’re so used to their favorite spots; in other words, maybe they’ve already marked their territory in your backyard to their heart’s content, and have no plans to expand their empire! One would think this would mainly be common for older and more docile dogs; typically, younger and more gung-ho dogs leap at the opportunity to mark over other dogs’ scents outside.
Encouraging Your Pup to Pee
If your dog won’t pee on walks and you’ve ruled out the possibilities that they don’t have to go, or that they might have a favorite spot in your backyard, then it could be an issue of stage fright (or something similar). In this case, it’s certainly worth trying to apply positive reinforcement to train the behavior you’d like to see.
To instill positive reinforcement to help your pup pee on walks, you’ve first got to train yourself as a leader, first and foremost. As a thought exercise, think about who are the leaders in your life – your mom, your dad, a key mentor who boosted you in your life. Chances are, that person exercised plenty of calm, didn’t scold you as long as you gave it your best shot, was supportive and kind even on their “off” days, and patiently stood by you until you achieved your goals. That figure is who you should aim to be with your pup. Show your pup that you’re willing to stand by them until they understand the objective, err on the side of encouragement rather than raising your voice, and stay calm throughout the process. If you don’t think you’re quite ready to take this role, then feel free to look around for dog trainers in your area to help you out!
Ways To Help This Behaviour
Once you’ve gotten into a mindset of using positive reinforcement (aka assertive, patient, and loving support for your dog), then you’re ready to tackle their stage fright with a training plan that you create yourself!
To get started, choose 5 locations which progress from being extremely comfortable to uncomfortable for your dog. For example, you can start with your backyard, your front yard during early mornings (when it’s not busy), a nearby field (when it’s not busy), a nearby field (when it’s a bit busier), and finally a busy park. For each location, you can schedule yourself to spend 1 week taking your dog there to pee, being patient to wait for the pee no matter how long it takes, heavily encouraging your dog once they pee on the walks.
Keep trying, using more comfortable locations, using higher value rewards, and exercising more patience in waiting for your dog to pee (even if it means 30 minutes of standing around). You’ll bring out your inner Cesar Milan in no time!
It’s confusing if your dog won’t pee on walks, but typically there are good reasons for it, and solutions you can undertake to instill the desired behavior in your dog. Whether it’s stage fright, past abuse, having gotten used to more comfortable bathroom areas, or just not having to go pee, as a pup parent you can systematically try and diagnose the root cause with your dog, and become a leader in training your dog if there are any issues to overcome!