Why Won't My Dog Pee Outdoors?

Improper elimination is rooted in behavioral causes.

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA
1-minute read

Q: My dog continues to go to the bathroom indoors, even though we walk him three times a day. How can I train him to stop using our living room as his personal toilet?

A: If you’ve already housetrained your dog, figuring out the cause behind your dog’s bathroom etiquette is your first step. Inappropriate elimination can signal certain behavior problems. The commonest might be separation anxiety, which in its more intense forms could be called separation panic. One sign of true separation anxiety is that the dog may chew and claw at doors and windows, apparently trying to escape; another is that he may let go of urine and stool. Thunderstorm phobia can produce the same result, as can terror in other contexts. It’s not unheard of for a dog to let loose during severe punishment.


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About the Author

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Jolanta holds professional certifications in both training and behavior counseling and belongs to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She also volunteered with Pet Help Partners, a program of the Humane Society of the United States that works to prevent pet relinquishment. Her approach is generally behaviorist (Pavlovian, Skinnerian and post-Skinnerian learning theory) with a big helping of ethology (animal behavior as observed in non-experimental settings).