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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19756
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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Ive been a Collie owner for 6 months, and my boy is 2 and

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I've been a Collie owner for 6 months, and my boy is 2 and a half. He was raised on a farm with other Collies, and I live in a city neighborhood with a fenced in yard. He doesn't want to pee in the yard - only on walks. I'd like to elminate my bed-time walk. We've been trying for months to get him to pee in the yard, and it is seldom that he will. I've been toughing it out for the last 3 weeks, only offering him the yard from afternoon until bedtime. He will hold it as long as 20 hours, usually around 11-14. I don't want to hurt him! But when I offer the yard, he just stand there, or sniffs, or watches the neighbors, or barks and wants to play, or lies's really stressing me out!

Here is what we've tried:
-Bringing other dogs poops home - he ate them!
-Put a pee stake in the yard, and brought home paper towels with his pee on them - ignores them
-Stand in one place with him on leash - he lies down.
-Give him free rein of the yard - sniffs for awhile, then lies down. Even if we play out there, he won't pee.
-I've invited 6 neighbors to have their dogs pee in our yard - he peed a couple times, but not consistently since then, and would rather roll in it.

We are currently going out 6-7 hours after last pee, walking a circle in the front yard and letting him stop to sniff or try to go pee, usually in an area of ground cover. If he doesn't pee, he gets crated for 30 minutes and we try again. Yesterday, he went 15 hours (overnight) and then another 11 before he did it again. I rewarded him with a big treat, praise, and a walk when he went. He has not peed in the yard since 5pm last night (it's nearly 7pm tonight) but I did take him for a walk this morning since after 3 attempts in the yard he wouldn't go, and I needed to be out for several hours. We've been trying since 3pm to go, and he won't.

Do I keep doing this? Is there hope? Am I hurting him, with him waiting so long? Should I avoid any walks all together til he gets it? This is stressing me out quite a bit! And I know that doesn't help him to relax about it, either. I need a good plan...
Hi JaCustomer,
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
I think you are approaching this wrong initially. Instead of trying to eliminate the night time walk in order to make him eliminate in the yard, eliminate the one first thing in the morning. I know that you want to do away with the night time walk, but lets get him going in the yard first. The easiest way to get him going in the yard is to start with taking him out first thing in the morning after he has held it all night and staying in the yard. Give him 15 minutes to urinate and if he doesn't, bring him inside and crate him. I'd start this on a weekend or when you have a couple of days off. Keep him crated for 30 minutes and then try again for 15 minutes. Repeat until he eliminates in the yard. When he does allow him time out of the crate until your next scheduled bathroom break and repeat the training process. You also want to give a command like potty.
This teaches him that when you say the command potty, he is expected to go. It also teaches him that he has to go out when you first take him out and not when ever he feels like it. Another thing to remember is not to end outside time just because they eliminated. This teaches them that to get more outside time, they need to hold it until they have a lot of time outside. So once he eliminates in the yard, let him stay out in the yard for a little while and play with him.
In this manner, you have no walks unti he is eliminating in the yard. After you have him actually eliminating in the yard, you can resume your walks, but skip the morning walk to ensure he continues to eliminate in the yard and not on the walk. If he continues to eliminate in the yard, you can then switch the walk to the time you want it to be.
You do need to be sure he does not have any kidney issues, but if he is able to hold it for long periods of time, it is unlikely had has a problem. Now forcing a dog to hold their urine for long periods of time due to something like crating is not recommended, but you are not doing that. You are offering the dog the opportunity to eliminate and they are not taking it. As long as he believes that you will take him for a walk if he waits long enough, then he will try and out wait you.
I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi, Jane -


Thanks for your answer, and the details! It does make sense. It will be tough, as my next three weekends have things that take me away in late morning for 3-5 hours, and one is a conference where he'll be staying with friends. So, do I just go back to the walks and start over with this when we have an open weekend?


Also, when I do the crating thing if he doesn't go in the morning, do I feed him in there?




Start when you have the time to devote to the training. so if it isn't too bad start when that is done and go back to walks for right now.
You can feed him out of the crate at his normal time but then take him outside for the 15 minutes. If you have just taken him out, then you can put him in the crate for the 30 minutes and then try again for elimination outside.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi, Jane - thanks for checking in. Two further questions I have for when I am able to set aside days to do this training with Pilot - do you recommend walking him around the yard on leash, limiting the area of the yard I offer, or just letting him roam and "do his thing" (the latter seems more unlikely to keep him focused and to get him to produce)?


Also, he seems a little annoyed that I ask him to "go potty" on walks, and even kind of pulls away from going, if I say it. It seems to be getting a little better - I don't say it as much, or I say it softer (I'm soft-spoken to begin with). It does seem really important though to reinforce that (or some kind of) command with his going, so he gets what he's supposed to do. I see him almost do it in the yard - lift his leg and pull back, whether I softly give command or just be silent. It's like it's a good spot and he "might" do it, but doesn't.


Thanks for any insights, here.



Gretchen,.I'd restrict him to a general area in the yard so you don't have feces everywhere, but some dogs especially male dogs need to walk around a bit before being able to defecate. Both my rottie males have needed to walk back and forth about 4 times at a minimum before they are able to go and one goes, walks a few feet and goes again. So keep that in mind. Also some dogs don't like you watching, so I frequently turn my back to them..For the command, I just give it once when we go out. I do not give it more than once or while they are going. I will give a "good boy" in a nice even toned calm voice if they eliminate. That is a calm positive reinforcement. You don't want excited as they may stop or low toned or loud because that might be interpreted as a reprimand, so just a nice calm quiet good boy should work.