If your newly adopted dog or puppy is not asking to go outside, here’s a bit of advice: Take her outside anyway!
Some dogs, like mine, just never ask to go outside for a variety of reasons.
And some just aren’t sure what to do in a new environment.
Just because the dog was potty trained in a foster home doesn’t mean she will be potty trained in your home. She may need some reminders and consistency for a few days or weeks. See my post on potty training an adult dog.
Why won’t my dog ask to go outside?
My Lab mix Ace is 9 years old and he’s asked to go outside maybe 20 times in his life, when he really had to go! Like, emergency status!
Otherwise, Ace doesn’t ask to go out; I just take him.
I don’t know why this is.
I don’t know if I unintentionally taught him there’s no need to ask because I will always take him out every 4 to 6 hours. (I think that’s the reason.)
I don’t know if my dog is so polite he’s hesitant to ask. I don’t think that’s it, because he doesn’t hesitate to remind me when it’s time to eat.
Or maybe he truly doesn’t need to go to the bathroom that often.
Ever since I adopted Ace 8 years ago, I’ve always lived in apartments without a fenced yard so he’s always relied on me to take him out on a leash or at least open the door and supervise.
When I do offer to take him out, he’s reluctant to get up from his bed, like, “Oh, do we have to go? Now? Really?”
Honestly, my dog might just be that lazy. Or maybe his arthritis is a lot worse than I realize, but I think it’s just his natural tendency to lounge around.
Ace is usually pumped to go for walks, especially if my husband Josh is tagging along, but Ace also knows the potty break schedule (5:30 a.m., noon, 5 p.m., bedtime), and he’s just never excited about that.
Does it matter?
I don’t really care that Ace doesn’t ask to go outside.
He’s literally never had a potty accident. OK, just that time when he fully relieved himself on my parents’ indoor plant, apparently out of confusion on what was allowed at their house. (“What? We don’t pee on plants in the basement here? Oh, OK.”)
He’s also had 1 accident of the, um, “explosive” kind, which I can’t blame the guy for. This was a middle-of-the-night kind of accident, and right by the door. Poor guy.
How do dogs ask to go outside?
Let’s face it, some people don’t even realize when their dogs are practically screaming to go outside. How frustrating must that be for the dogs?
Some possible signs (some less obvious than others) could include:
- pawing, barking or whining at the door
- barking at you in general
- standing by you, pawing at you or leaning on you
- lying at your feet
- doing the full body shake or scratching her collar
- staring at you (or even just glancing at you if you have a polite dog)
- looking towards the door
- yawning or sighing
- standing in the middle of the room wagging her tail
Seriously, it must be so frustrating for dogs sometimes when they’re obviously (to them) asking to go out and their humans don’t pick up on it.
Then, who gets scolded for having an “accident”?
How to teach a dog to ask to go outside
Can you teach a dog to ask to go outside? Maybe to bark or to ring a bell?
Well, you can, and I’ve written about that here.
But, I’ve found that trying to train my dog to ask to go outside just stresses him out. He’d simply rather not ask, for whatever reason. And that’s fine.
I don’t mind taking him out every few hours. I’m not lazy about this. I’m happy to do it.
How about the rest of you?
Does your dog ask to go out? Did you teach him to do this?
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