My Dog Will Not Go Outside My Home. HELP!?!?

3 02 2009

Last week, I received an e-mail from a reader that had just adopted a pit bull puppy, but she and her son were having the problems described here:

We have a pit bull puppy who refuses to go outside. We have to drag him on a walk. Then, if we stop, he turns and runs back to our apartment. He knows the way from wherever we go. He was potty trained when we got him, but that is fading fast, because he won’t go outside.

pit-bull-puppyThe first thing I have to say is “Congratulations” on the expansion of your family, and I wish to extend a special thank you for choosing to have a dog of that breed.  I have always said that pit bulls are not born bad, they are just raised that way.

Unfortunately, there was no age specification about this puppy, so I will have to do some guessing.  Keep in mind that young puppies do not know what a leash is.  They need to become acquainted with it, so that it is not totally foreign to them when you take him out.  You can acclimate him by attaching it to his collar and having no one on the other end.  This is temporary, and you will need to make sure you are able to see him at all times when he is acclimating to the leash concept.  Let him just pull it around and get used to having it around.  If you notice that he starts to bite or chew on it, you may have to spray the leash with one of those bitter-tasting products to keep him from chewing on his new friend.  When I was a puppy, Mom used Right Guard spray deodorant on my leash after the bitter stuff did not work.  I did not like the smell, so there was no way I was putting my mouth on it!

Keep in mind that young puppies do not like to walk very far, so limiting his walks to only a block or two would be a very good start.  They are very quick to distraction, so short walks are very desirable.  Since it has been very cold lately, we must address the weather.  It has so cold lately, that I only go outdoors to “get busy” and to bark at the neighbor’s dog.  Domesticated animals like cats and dogs feel the elements just as much as humans.  Remember, your puppy just came from the warmth of his mom and litter mates, and now he is wondering what he did that warrants going out in the freezing weather?  You may want to buy him a sweater to ease him outside while it is still so bitterly cold across much of the country.  He probably will not have a need for it once he gets used to the outside, plus he will outgrow it in no time.  In an effort to encourage him to go outside, take along a few tasteful treats that are used exclusively for outside play, along with a toy that he already enjoys.  Remember this is play time to encourage him to venture outside, not a time to potty train.  If you have any questions about that, please see my guide to potty training.

Mom has a few tricks for getting a dog to follow, which you may find useful in getting him to follow you outside.  Buy a dowel stick, and dip it in untainted peanut butter.  Place it in front of your puppy’s nose, and let him have a lick or two.  Then, you can start walking, and he is almost guaranteed to follow.  If you find that he is not a fan of peanut butter, or you cannot locate uncontaminated peanut butter right now, try some cheese whiz as a lure on the end of that dowel stick.  You do not want to make him walk too far, just enough to get him outside.  When spring arrives, you will not need anything to get him to go out.  He will be enthusiastic about going outside, so that he can chase butterflies and bees and other fun unknown creatures.  Do be careful about any exposure to the bees, because they do not play nice!  It is very important that you do not expose your puppy to negative things that are associated with the outside right now, as this can scar him for the rest of his life, resulting in a much greater fear of the outdoors.  All of his experiences should be fun and positive.

As far as the “leaking” problem goes, remember that he is always happy to see you!  Seeing you is one of the greatest part about having a human.  If you have been to the vet and there are no physical problems causing this, he will most likely grow out of it.  Until he has, do not make a big excited production every time you see him, and you will not excite him to the point of leaking.  I went into how to deal with this in great detail earlier here, so feel free to take a peak.

Since I am doing some guessing about this puppy, I am willing to wager that he belongs to your son.  You can tell him that the dog, and some of the responsibilities, belong to him, children do not raise dogs.  They can learn a lot about raising them, and they can be a tremendous amount of help, but ultimately the responsibility lies with the adult.  As soon as possible, get yourself, your son and the dog enrolled in a training class.  The socialization of the class will help him to mature a lot.  You may also want to join a bully socialization group to get some direction in choosing a great trainer.  When you are choosing a trainer, you do not want a good one, but a GREAT one.  You can find them by getting referrals, asking around with your vet and other pet professionals you already have a relationship with, and discuss some of the issues you wish to address with potential trainers before signing up for a class.  Remember, when it comes to your pet’s behavior training, that you get what you pay for.  You want someone who solely focuses on behavior training right now.

Being a human to a bully breed carries a great deal of responsibility, due to the bad reputation they have been given by sensationalized media stories.  It is up to you, the humans of the bully breeds, to train and raise them correctly.  It sounds like you hve started down the right track.

If you are interested, send us some pictures of your new puppy to add to our Reader Photo Gallery.

This article is a part of our Potty Training Page.

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