It’s cold out, and I might hate being outdoors even more than my Cali-born, short-haired pups.
But when you don’t have a backyard, you’ve got to stick it out and wait for your dog to do her business… even if the perfect spot is three blocks away.
Or do you?
Is there a way to make your dog just hurry up and poop and pee?
Kind of. Dogs are, of course, individuals, and we don’t have full control over their business.
But we can persuade them to get their business done faster.
Teach Your Dog A Secret Potty Word
You can teach your dog to go potty on cue. It’s hard to tell if this works, but I do notice that if Matilda is getting distracted, I can use the potty word and she’ll refocus and get her business done. If she wants to, of course.
If you hesitate to use a potty word because you feel embarrassed to say, “go potties!” or “go pee!” then just use a secret potty word.
I tell my dogs to “hurry!” or “find a spot!”
To actually teach this potty word, though, first wait until she’s starting to do her poopy spin, or looks like she’s about to get into her pee squat.
Say the word just once, and praise her heavily when she finishes.
Just like any other cue, you can teach your dog to do her business. It may not be an exciting trick like painting or rolling up in a burrito blanket, but you’ll still want to show the same enthusiasm so your dog knows that getting her business done is a very, very good thing to do.
Use Treats… But Not The Good Stuff
Can you believe I haven’t been taking treats out on walks until recently?
Even now, I only do it once in a while, but that’s enough to help Matilda and Cow focus on me when needed, for example, when there’s a guy walking past us having a loud argument on the phone – skeeving ALL of us out.
And yes, if your dog gets a treat after she goes pee and poop, she’ll get her business done faster, even if you don’t always give her a treat.
But if I were to bring fresh chicken or bacon on walks, my dogs would stare at me the whole time, and nothing would get done at all.
This is where low value treats come in handy.
You don’t want to bring treats that your dog is crazy excited over.
Kibble is fine, or small, bland biscuits. Something she’ll be happy to receive, but won’t sniff out through your pockets.
To Walk Or Not To Walk
Walking is great for digestion and will help jostle your dog’s bowels so she’ll have to go sooner.
However, there will be more distractions as you walk, so it might be harder for her to focus.
Keep in mind whether you want your dog to have a designated potty area. We sort of do, but I prefer to keep us moving so we don’t kill the grass in one concentrated spot.
Matilda, who loves to lift her leg and mark, seems to know when we’re going on a proper walk, so she’ll save her pee for the next block over, near the interesting lamp posts.
At nighttime, though, I prefer not to walk around the neighborhood in a muu muu, so we have a pattern of staying close to the apartment after dark.
My dogs seem to know this because I’ve stuck to that routine. During the day, long fun walks with plenty of opportunities for marking. After dark, our potty trips average at 90 seconds.
Keep Walks Short
If you always take your dog for 3 hour walks to get her to finally pee, she’s going to continue to take 3 hours to do her business.
When the walk is getting longer than you’d like and your dog has still not done her business, it’s okay to go inside, take a break, and try again later.
Maybe she doesn’t really have to go.
Separate Potty Walks From Fun Walks
While you should be able to get your dog to do her business in a reasonable amount of time, walks aren’t just for pee and poop. Your dog also needs to walk with you to strengthen your bond, to sniff for mental stimulation, and to exercise.
Of course, your dog may go potty on fun walks, but you may want to encourage her to relieve herself in your yard or close to home before you get far on your journey.
No need to stress it, though. When you go on an adventure, you’re going to be surrounded by sights and smells that will make your dog want to leave her mark.