Why Won’t My Dog Pee Outside? Dog Behavior Explained

Dog won't pee outside

Even if you take your dog outside several times a day, he persists in peeing in the house. Whether he does this behavior sporadically or repeatedly, you’ve had enough. How can you teach him to do his business outside? Check out our tips on this pesky habit, but know that you’ll first need to figure out the reason behind this exasperating behavior before you can really make any headway.

Dog won't pee outside

Before You Start: What to Know

First, know that there is a difference between poor house training and the categorical refusal to pee outside. In other words, if your pooch urinates sometimes outside, sometimes in the house, it may be because he has not learned to hold himself yet, that his potty training is not finished or that you are using pee pads intermittently.

On the other hand, if your dog has reached adulthood and never pees outside, this is another problem that you must remedy quickly. It may be related to a health issue or a behavioral disorder that will not improve over time if you do nothing.

Top 4 Reasons Why Your Dog Does Not Pee Outside

1. Your Pup Is Too Young

If your dog is not 6 months old yet, he probably does not yet have the ability to hold himself back for very long. In this case, there is no other solution than to potty train your puppy properly, be consistent, and, above all, patient! Your puppy needs some time to learn, and this requires repeating the right gestures, over and over again. And as you know, puppies don’t have the same bladder control as adults, which is why they need to urinate often.

Typically, a puppy can control his urge to pee 1 hour for every month of age. So, if your puppy is 4 months old, he can hold it for about 4 hours. Don’t wait any longer between toilet breaks or your pet may have an accident.

Over time, your pup will gain better control of his bladder.

Dog won't pee outside
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

2. Your Dog Has a Health Issue

If your dog suddenly starts urinating inside the house, he may have a health problem. Take him immediately to your veterinarian so that he can diagnose the problem if there is one.

Here are the most common medical conditions that can lead to urinary problems in dogs:

Urinary Tract Infection

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Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common in dogs, especially females. These infections can be treated with antibiotics, but if they recur, the vet will try to identify the underlying cause. Also, a dog with an untreated UTI might need to be hospitalized if the infection spreads to his kidneys, so don’t take any chances.

Bladder Cancer

Persistent UTIs, accidents in the house, frequent small urination, or bloody urine can be signs of bladder cancer. In fact, different types of cancer can affect a dog’s urinary tract, but transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) of the bladder is the most common.

There are treatments to improve the dog’s quality of life, but unfortunately, the prognosis for survival rarely exceeds 6 to 12 months. But rest assured: this type of cancer only accounts for less than 1% of all reported cancers in dogs.

Urinary Incontinence

All dogs can develop urinary incontinence, but spayed females are usually more affected. This happens when the muscle – urethral sphincter – that prevents urine from flowing out of the bladder no longer performs its function well. This may be due to hormonal, structural, or neurological deficiencies.

Diabetes or Kidney Failure

Dogs with diabetes or kidney failure often drink and urinate more than normal, which can lead to accidents around the house.

3. Something Outside Is Bothering Your Dog

If there’s no medical reason your dog is urinating inside, it’s possible that something outside is stressing or scaring him.

For example, when you take him out for his needs, is he distracted by a thousand little things in his surroundings? Does he feel safe? Is he constantly disturbed by children, people, or other dogs in his environment? Are there loud noises such as a lawnmower or construction site nearby?

In short, all these things can prevent your pooch from doing his business outside, while the house can seem like a more reassuring and safer place.

Dog won't pee outside
Image Credit: Isa KARAKUS, Pixabay

4. Your Dog Is Used to Peeing Inside the House

Your dog may pee in the house just out of habit. Therefore, he always comes back to the same spot because the smell is still present. This is why it is very important to thoroughly clean soiled surfaces with enzymatic cleaners to eliminate stubborn odors and pheromones left behind by your pet.

Side note: An unneutered dog may develop the habit of marking his territory inside the house, but this reason alone does not explain why he will not urinate outside.Dog won't pee outside

Teaching Your Pup to Pee Outside: A Review of Key Points

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Dog won't pee outside

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Dog won't pee outsideFinal Thoughts

Since fear or anxiety are often the main causes of your dog’s refusal to urinate outside, you will need to eliminate any potential source of stress. Stay close to your dog during outings and try to identify what could frighten him.

Unfortunately, despite all your good intentions, it is sometimes difficult to find the exact source of your pooch’s anxiety to pee outside. In these cases, you may need to hire a dog behavior specialist or certified dog trainer. This professional will be able to advise you better on the method to follow after carefully observing your furry friend’s behavior.

Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

— Update: 21-03-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article Ask The Dog Trainer: Newly Adopted Dog Won’t Pee Outside from the website www.positivelywoof.com for the keyword dog won’t pee outside.

Ask The Dog Trainer: Newly Adopted Dog Won’t Pee Outside 

Dog won't pee outside

Your dog training questions are answered by a Certified Professional Dog Trainer at FetchFind  where you can fetch the latest information from the world’s leading pet experts and find something that inspires you.

By Bill Mayeroff of FetchFind

First of all, congratulations on adopting Tucker and getting him enrolled in some basic training classes. That’s going to really help you build a relationship with him, and I think you’ll have a lot of fun in class as well.

I know how frustrating it can be when a dog goes out but won’t eliminate. My dog is definitely easily distracted when he goes outside and it can be frustrating, especially if you know he’s got to go but just can’t seem to focus long enough to actually do anything.

Ask The Dog Trainer: Newly Adopted Dog Won’t Pee Outside

First thing I’ll suggest is you take Tucker to a vet. I know that sounds drastic, but it’s always worth ruling out any medical issues that could potentially be making it difficult for him to potty outside. Medical issues can affect behavior, so it’s a good idea just to get him checked out to make sure he’s totally healthy.

Once you’re sure he’s healthy, we can really work on figuring out how to make sure he goes to the bathroom outside. It could be something as simple as giving it time. Tucker’s getting used to a new home, new people and totally new environment. It could take him some time to get adjusted. Once he’s more familiar with and comfortable in his new situation, his bathroom behavior might improve a bit.

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But you can also help him along. It’s really important to teach him great things happen when he urinates/defecates outside. When he goes, make sure you reward him handsomely. Lots of praise and petting and treats. You won’t always have to do all that, but he needs to learn that it’s to his benefit to go to the bathroom outside and that’s the way to teach him.

You mention he seems to get distracted when he goes outside. Can you take him somewhere with fewer distractions? If possible, try to take him to a place with no or very few dogs and other people. Also, when he does go to the bathroom outside, does he have a spot he really likes? If so, can you make sure he immediately goes there when he goes outside? If you just let him out in a yard, take him out on a leash and take him to his spot and once he goes, he can have fun. If he doesn’t go after a couple minutes, bring him inside and try again in a few minutes. This technique also works if you just take him for walks to go to the bathroom. You’re teaching him that going to the bathroom quickly gets him what he wants – a nice romp in the yard or a fun walk.

Definitely resist the temptation to walk and walk and walk with him until he goes to the bathroom. Alternatively, if you let Tucker out in a yard, don’t leave him out there until he goes and then immediately call him back in. Why? Because you don’t want going to the bathroom to mean the end of fun.

Think about it: Dogs love being outside because there are smells to smell, things to hear, critters to bark at. Outside is SO MUCH FUN! He’s going to do whatever he can, including holding his bladder, to stay outside and have more fun. By walking and walking and walking or just leaving him outside until he goes and then immediately bringing him in, he’s going to learn that going to the bathroom means the fun stops.

By bringing him inside if he doesn’t go to the bathroom after a couple minutes, he will eventually learn that holding it doesn’t get him anything and that the fun parts of being outside don’t start until he’s relieved himself.

Above all, remember to be patient. I know it’s frustrating. But your patience and hard work will be rewarded and you’ll have a happy, wonderful relationship with your new, furry family member.

For more help, find a reputable trainer who uses positive reinforcement methods to coach you through your training. Contact us at [email protected] for help finding a certified dog trainer in your area.


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About the Author: Tung Chi