If your dog isn’t used to being leashed when you’re out and about, you might run into a conundrum later on – she won’t pee when the leash is attached.
Sure, this isn’t a huge deal when you’re in your backyard. But what if you are on a road trip and can’t find a fenced area to let her roam in? What if you move to an apartment?
It’s pretty important to be able to take your dog outside for a bathroom break wherever you are. Here’s how to teach your dog to pee when she’s attached to a leash, courtesy of our Ask a Behavior Consultant service.
Our reader wrote in to us and asked:
My dog has been an
off leashdog for most of her life. Now, she must be kept on leash, and she won’t go to the bathroom when on leash. How can I teach her it’s ok to go while on leash?
– Sincerely, Sam and Nym
This is a tough problem – but it’s also one that I’ve seen a fair bit of. When we had dogs come into the shelter, some of them wouldn’t walk on a leash or pee if they were attached to one! This, of course, became a problem for their adopters later on.
I can’t tell you exactly why this a problem, but I have a guess: your dog finds being attached to the leash (and in close proximity to you) a bit stressful, and can’t “do the deed” with the added pressure. This is nothing against you – you probably don’t like being watched while you pee, either. But we can fix it!
How to teach your dog to pee when she’s attached to a leash
The simplest solution here is to use a longer leash and more patience. First, get
The lightweight leash will help your dog not feel so dragged down (the sensation on the collar can be part of the problem), and the long distance will let your dog wander and sniff as if she’s off-leash.
Now, go outside with your pup and be boring. Just give slack in the leash and wait. Don’t talk to her, don’t try to point, don’t stare! Just be polite and quiet.
If your dog doesn’t pee after 5 minutes, go back inside. Be sure to supervise her – either using a crate, exercise pen, baby gates, tying her to you, or direct supervision. This ensures you won’t have accidents indoors.
After a period of time – between 20 minutes and 2 hours – repeat the process. If this doesn’t work after a few repetitions, take your dog on a brisk walk. Jiggling her bladder with a little jog or longer walk will usually do the trick.
Essentially, worst case scenario is that we’re going all the way back to “basic potty training” with your dog. Most dogs will catch on pretty quickly with a long, ultralight leash and some quiet patience.
If you’re really stuck, you can always hire us for remote behavior consulting. We’ll help you out!
Kayla is from Ashland, Wisconsin but lives in Missoula Montana. She holds a degree in biology from Colorado College and has spent years working in zoos, animal shelters, and as a private dog trainer. When not working on Journey Dog Training, Kayla works at Working Dogs for Conservation. She is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant. She shares her life with her border collie Barley.