Why Will My Dog Not Poop Outside In The Snow?

8 01 2009

snow-dogsWith winter upon us, I fully expected this question to come from my readers.  In fact, I expected it earlier than I received it.  This is a story all too familiar to me.  When I was about 10 months old, Mom opened the curtains one day when it was time to go out, and there was this white stuff all over my yard.  When she opened the door and said, “Get busy.”  I had walked out onto the patio, and I turned back to look at my mom.  Where exactly did she intend for me to get busy?

That stuff was every where, and it was cold and wet.  I tried picking up my paws and shaking that junk off, but it just would not go away.  I checked out the whole yard looking at all of my best busy spots, and that white stuff had taken over.  It was like the dream I had about kudzu taking over the yard while we slept!  Finally, I had to go so bad that I just started doing my business.  Guess what?  I found out that the white stuff is no match for pee!  The white stuff mom called “snow” did not like the big busy either.  I do not like doing a big busy in the snow because it scares me to look at it when I am done.  Did you know that you can see steam rising from it?  It made me think there was something wrong with me. There’s nothing wrong with me, it is all the fault of the snow!

Some dogs really like this stuff, but I prefer to sit on a nice sofa inside my house and watch TV.  So, Dude sounds a lot like me.  Dude’s mom said that he is a rescue, and you can assume that he came from a neglectful family.  If that was the case, then the family probably was also very lazy.  Lazy enough that when the weather was cold and snow was on the ground, they just did not bother to let the dog out!  Dude learned from his past experience that when it snowed, it is OK to potty in the house.  With a past like he may have had, you do not know what consequences Dude may have suffered for either going potty in the house or asking to go out to potty.  This led to confusion on his part when he faces this situation.

To remedy this issue, my suggestion is to find Dude a potty spot in the yard like we talked about here.  Even when it is not snowing, take him to that spot every time he needs to go.  Remember, you will have to put Dude on a leash, since you can not train what you can not control.  Usually, Mom gives us fifteen minutes in the potty spot, even though most humans do not want to stand outside in the cold for that long, and neither do I.  When he finishes his potty, praise him a lot and give him a treat.  It will mean even more if you give him the treat right there in the yard!

If Dude does not potty in the yard while you are with him, when he comes back into the house, you need to restrict his movements within the house.  Some people do this by using a crate, while others will restrict access to a kitchen or a bathroom.  Wait five to fifteen minutes and take him back to the potty spot in the yard.  I have even heard that some people will take some poop from a dog who is using the house for a potty spot and place it in the spot where they want the dog to potty outside.  I have talked before about examining the food you give your dog, and this is something you may want to think about for this issue.  If he is eating a less than quality food, he will have to go potty more often, but a premium brand food will reduce his waste, making the snow potty a daunting task less often.  Yes, do they cost more, but it is worth it when it comes down to the amount of waste.

I am fairly certain that Dude’s problem goes back to his former owners, who were probably too lazy to take him outside, especially during averse weather.  Poor Dude.  It may have been that Dude pooped on the floor because he was denied access to the outside, and then when the mistake was discovered, they threw him out into the snow as a punishment.

Be patient with Dude.  Spend some time with him outside in the snow and play games with him in an effort to ease any anxiety he may have about it.  You may also want to try burying a smelly, tasty bone in the snow and guide him toward it.  When he finds it, give him lots of praise and maybe even another treat.  This will help him learn that he can find and leave things in the snow.

This article is a part of our Potty Training Page.



One response

8 01 2009
Petey's Mom

Great-grandpa’s little Shi Tzu preferred to have a little patch of her grassy area shoveled clear of snow before she would go.

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