How to Train Your Dog to Not Poop on a Walk

Medium
1-3 Weeks
General

Introduction

Everyone has been there, you’re out on a walk with your canine pal and he decides to go about his business in a built up residential area. You reach into your pocket and realize you’ve forgotten poo bags. Now this was a pure accident and it happens to everyone, so you sheepishly head off with your hood up. But he then continues to offload a number of other stools throughout the walk, as some dogs do to try and mark their territory. Never mind-- you certainly don’t forget your poo bags again after that!

If he insists on only defecating on walks, there is no quick and easy taking him to the field over the road in the evenings. You may not have time to give him another long walk in the evenings, so training him to poop in a designated area will alleviate these concerns.

Defining Tasks

Training your dog not to poop on a walk will involve training him to poop in a specific place instead. That will involve teaching him some obedience commands, but mostly it will entail establishing a consistent routine and taking steps to discourage him from going about his business mid-walk.

If he is just a puppy he should respond quickly to training as his brain is still young and malleable. If your dog is older you may need several weeks to successfully drill this training into him, as you’ll need to break a habit he has developed over many years.

Getting this training right is important if you want to be able to quickly nip over the road in the evenings to deal with his business. If you could just let him into the yard in the evening then life may be even easier again!

Getting Started

Before you do battle with his bowel movements you will need a few things. You will first need to identify a designated space where you do want your dog to do his business. Once you have found that, you will need treats or his favorite food to incentivize and reward him.

A leash will also be required for training and you’ll need to find 10-15 minutes each day for the next few weeks. After you’ve sorted the above, you’re ready to tackle all of these toilet training methods.

The New Toilet Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Find the right spot
Find an appropriate new toilet spot for him. You probably want somewhere close and accessible and perhaps not in your yard, as some dogs won’t defecate on their own territory.
Step
2
Consistent schedule
Create a consistent meal and toilet schedule. If you feed him at the same time every day, you will be able to predict when he will need the toilet. His bowels will usually be stimulated 20 minutes after his meal. So a consistent routine is essential for getting control over his toilet habits.
Step
3
Head out
After his meals or when you’ve decided it’s toilet time, put him on a leash and head to his new toilet area. If he isn’t going he may not feel comfortable in his new spot, so take some of yesterday's excrement on a piece of newspaper and put it in the new designated area. The smell of previous excrement will help him feel more at ease and associate that location with going to the toilet.
Step
4
Reward
As soon as he does go for a number 2 in his new location, quickly give him a treat and praise him. It’s important you give your dog the treat as soon as he has finished his business so he associates the reward with the action. Continue to praise and reward him every time he successfully goes for a number 2 in the right location for the first couple of weeks.
Step
5
Cut out treats
As he stops going on walks and increasingly goes in the designated location, slowly reduce the frequency of treats. The goal is that he will develop a habit of going in his new location and won’t need the promise of food to incentivize him anymore. Be patient with the training, it may take several weeks before he is fully into his new toilet routine, but he will get there eventually.
Recommend training method?

The Appealing Toilet Method

Effective
1 Vote
Step
1
New toilet
Section off a small piece of the yard for him to use as a toilet. Many dogs don’t like going in the yard because they don’t want to defecate in their own territory, so it’s important to make a closed-off area that feels and looks separate to the rest of the yard. You can use mesh fencing or anything that will make the area appear distinct from the rest of his outside territory.
Step
2
Wait
If you walk him within an hour of his meal then there is a good chance he will do a number 2 on the walk. Instead, take him before meals when his bowel movements are unlikely to yield anything.
Step
3
Help him along
If he won’t go in the yard, wipe some of his previous excrement in his new sectioned off toilet. If he can smell a previous stool he will associate that area with a toilet location and be much more likely to go.
Step
4
Reward
Reward him when you do see him go to the toilet in his new outdoor area. It is important you praise him quickly so he associates the action with the reward. Positive reinforcement is the quickest way to train him, so you can’t overdo the praise! As he goes where you want him to more frequently you can reduce the frequency of treats.
Step
5
Never punish him
Don’t shout at or punish him when he does go for a poop on a walk. Dogs never respond well to fear, so simply ignore the behavior and quickly pull him away. Punishing him will only confuse him and make him scared to defecate, which is obviously a bodily reaction he can’t help. Instead, focus on making the outside toilet area comfortable, appealing and a place where he get lots of treats and attention.
Recommend training method?

The On Command Method

Least Recommended
1 Vote
Step
1
Head out
Take some treats and head to an area you do want him to poop in. You are going to train him to defecate on command, that way he won't go poop on a walk unless you instruct him to. Teaching him obedience commands will also make training him other commands easier too.
Step
2
Be patient
Wait patiently for him to offload his business and then say "go potty" in a happy, jolly voice. It is important you give the command as soon as he finishes. This will be the cue you are going to drill into him in the coming weeks. You must ensure your tone of voice is upbeat and praising!
Step
3
Reward
Give him a treat as soon as you’ve given the command. You are going to reinforce the action and the cue with a treat. You can also pet him and shower him with praise.
Step
4
Bring forward the cue
After a week, give the ‘go toilet’ command just before you think he is going to go for a poop. Then praise him when he’s finished and give him a treat. Now repeat this process every time he goes to the toilet in the designated area for a couple of weeks. Soon he will naturally want to go to the toilet when he hears the command and the promise of food afterwards will sweeten the deal.
Step
5
Lose the treats
Wait until he is well into the habit of pooping on command before you cut down the treats, but then continue to do so until just the command is needed to have the desired effect. This training will take weeks so be patient and persistent and before you know it he will be pooping only when you instruct him to, meaning no more pooping on walks!
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Simba
German Shepherd
8 Years
2 found helpful
Question
2 found helpful
Simba
German Shepherd
8 Years

Loki has never went poop on a walk, until about a month ago he started going poop every time I took him on a walk. It was normal for him to urinate on walks but never for him to poop and for this reason I never had to carry doggie bags. Why has he just started pooping on walks and how do I stop this from happening again?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
912 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ali, I can't say for sure why. Honestly it's more unusual that he never pooped on a walk before, than him pooping now. The movement during a walk and the scent of where other dogs have gone potty both encourage a dog's body to feel the need to eliminate. His age might be making him hold his poop more at home because its uncomfortable to poop now, then when he walks he can't hold it anymore because of the movement. The added movement might make it easier for him to poop now if that's harder for him because of muscle deterioration. The scent of a new dog on the block might be causing it. The timing of when you take him for a walk - like right after feeding him or running him around, might be causing it. To deal with this you can trouble shooting a few things. First, when you take him potty outside, tell him to "Go Potty" and give one treat if he pees and three if he poops in your yard. This is to teach him to go potty on command if he doesn't already know that. When you take him on a walk, before you walk him down the street, walk him around your yard, tell him to "Go Potty", and after he pees walk him around a second time for even longer, telling him to "Go Potty" again to try to get him to poop. Once he pees, and poops if he may need to, then take him on the walk. Check with your vet and make sure there isn't arthritis in his back or something else that would cause him to hold his poop during normal potty breaks (I am not a vet), or something causing diarrhea or unusually soft poops. Pay attention to when you feed him - many dogs need to poop within an hour of eating, so time your feeding and walking schedule accordingly or spend extra time walking him around the yard thirty minutes after he eats, before you walk down the street. Have you switched his food and if so has that changed the frequency of how often he poops or how hard or soft they are? - that can effect whether he is holding it do to discomfort of going, or needs to go more often because it's really soft - so goes again during a walk. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Cocoa
Schitzu
9 Years
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Question
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Cocoa
Schitzu
9 Years

I already had a designated spot and schedule and yet he still poops on walks, throughout the entire time we are out on the walk, even until he is pooping out water and he still continues straining to go unless I put him back in the back yard. I stopped the walks due to lack of this control. Can you offer any insight? This has been pattern for many years so I don't walk him often

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
912 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Walking stimulates a dog's bowels, getting things moving along, so many dogs will poop after being walked around if they have not gone yet that day. What you are describing is a medical issue and not behavioral...As I am sure you know, continuing to poop more than two times on a walk is not normal and is a sign that there is something physical and not behavioral going on. I suggest a trip to your vet to find out what's causing it and addressing the cause if it's something that's treatable. - I am not a vet. There is also an ask a Vet a question section under the medical articles found on wagwalking.com (this is the training section - and ask a trainer). You could ask one of Wag's Vet's about the issue to get an idea of different things that might be causing it, but you would still need to visit your vet for testing to find out exactly what's going on. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
MILLIE
German Shepherd
5 Months
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Question
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MILLIE
German Shepherd
5 Months

A few of questions:
1) Should we allow her to potty or pee during a "walk"?
2) Per a schedule we made, her potty times are 6am, 10am, 2pm, 7pm. During those times, should we only take her out to "that spot" to potty and then come inside again?
And if we take her out in between those times to pee, should we bring her right back inside after she pees?

While Millie has been with us for 2 months, she has not had an accident in the home for a few weeks now. Due to our lack of knowledge, we've combined her leisurely walks and her bathroom breaks together. Now we're at a point where she walks but doesn't poop for 4-5 hours after a meal even we we take her outside to poop.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
912 Dog owners recommended

Hello Virag, A lot of this depends on what you want to teach. Some people want to teach pup to go potty in only one area of the yard - in which case they should only ever be taken there to go potty for the first year as much as you can manage. Other people want pup to be familiar with pottying on a variety of surfaces or locations to make travel easier, such as on grass, dirt, and gravel, at home, the park, and on vacation. If you don't want pup to only potty in only one spot, it's okay to take her to various areas of your yard, but have the rule be Potty first - play or walks second. If you keep the outside play times and walks for after she goes potty in your yard, then they become a reward for going potty and actually encourage her to hurry up and go potty, instead of hold it to get to go for a longer walk. When she doesn't go potty, bring her inside, crate for one hour, then take her potty to the yard again (or an area near your home if in an apartment). Wait until after she goes potty, to take on a walk or have playtime. Check out the crate training method from the article linked below and pay attention to the tips about teaching Go Potty and using rewards to help pup go faster. Also know that as dogs get older they are less likely to poop directly after eating. Many continue to do so, but it becomes less of a direct link. Pay attention to when pup's normal poop window seems to be in the morning and evening. Crate Training method tips: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Dash
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
2 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Dash
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
2 Months

Potty training question. What do I do about going potty when I’m visiting someone with my puppy, such as a family

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
912 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lynna, I recommend following the crate training and tethering methods with puppy, that I have linked below. When you can't directly supervise pup, crate them or tether them to yourself with a hands free leash, especially somewhere new. You can make almost any six foot leash hands free by attaching a carabiner to the handle and clipping it to a belt loop or belt. Be sure to stick to pup's potty schedule extra carefully too since pup will be less likely to alert you that they need to go in a new place, once they have learned to alert you at home. It will take a few months before pup is alerting consistently at home too though. The crate training method will only give pup freedom when their bladder is empty to prevent accidents, and the tethering method will keep pup close to you so that you can spot when they need to go - if you don't want to crate them the whole time. The combination of methods can help best when traveling. Crate Training method and Tethering method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Dash
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
2 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Dash
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
2 Months

In my yard I take Dash to his potty area. But what do I do when I go to my daughter’s house

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
234 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. Most dogs are smart enough to know to go outside no matter where they are at. You can bring a few treats with you and when your dog goes potty in a new location, give him a treat for going.

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Question
Shelley
Terrier mix
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Shelley
Terrier mix
2 Years

Hello, I have adopted Shelley since Aug 2019. When I adopted her, I left her at my mom's house for about months because I was in the process of moving to new apartment. it seemed like se was already trained because she was going to the backyard to pee and poop. After a month, I brought her with me to the apartment. My apartment has a court yard. I take her and she pees but I walk her outside and she poops. I am planning to buy a house in years. Now I am worried what if she gets used to walking and pooping and she wont poop in my future backyard. Is it possible?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
234 Dog owners recommended

Hello! I wouldn't worry too much. She is old enough that a transition shouldn't mess her up too much. After you move, you can spend a week or so going outside with her (off leash) and reward her with treats for going. That should be all you need to do to get the message across to her in her new environment.

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Question
olric
German Shepherd
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
olric
German Shepherd
3 Months

my puppy pottying in house, at pee pad. in this last week he started to pooping in out and he never listens anything about it. he only makes poo, he is not picky. he's making when we are walking on sidewalk. i think this is not about the other dogs scent, or instictively on a grass or field area. how can i teach him not to do, in future i will leave him at house alone during my school times and i want to know he can pee or poop rightly when he is in the house and if it will be necessary he have to be poop rightly at out too. what can i do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
912 Dog owners recommended

Hello, First, if the goal is outside potty training, I would remove all pee pads. That can cause confusion. Check out the Crate Training method from the article I have linked below. Before you go on a walk, I recommend picking a calm open area if you can find one near you, and walking pup around in that area slowly on leash. The movement stimulates the need to poop, which is why pup stops to go on the sidewalk midwalk, so walk pup around in a grassy area before a walk, then the walk is an additional reward that helps motivate them to go potty quickly beforehand also. Crate Training method, and tethering method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If you are gone for longer than 4 hours at a time during the day and can't hire a dog walker to let pup out of the crate to go potty outside at least that often, then you can temporarily set up an exercise pen in a room that can be closed off to pup in the future (because pup will learn its okay to go potty in there, so make this a specific room that can be off-limits later). Set up an exercise pen there and cover the floor of it with disposable real grass pads. Reward pup whenever you catch them going potty on the grass, then after pup is going easily there, begin removing the extra grass pads, until there is just one in the area. At that point, pup can stay in that area with a non-absorbent bed like www.primopads.com or k9ballistics crate mats when you are away for long periods, but use the crate training or tethering method I linked above to teach pup to be accident free in the rest of the home when you are home, only using the exercise pen area when it will be too long for pup to hold it in the crate, and only until pup is old enough to hold it in the crate the entire time you are gone. A general rule of thumb is that a puppy can hold it a maximum of the number of months they are in age plus one - so three months old = 4 hours max; until a dog reaches about 8 months, at which point 8.5 hours is the maximum during the day for adult dogs too. Disposable real grass pads: www.freshpatch.com www.doggielawn.com The number one goal with potty training is to prevent accidents through managing pup's freedom and routine, so that pup creates a long term habit of keeping your home clean. No amount of punishment or reward alone will work as well as simply preventing accidents inside for a long period of time, so pup naturally wants to keep the home clean themselves as well. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Goldy
Golden Retriever
4 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Goldy
Golden Retriever
4 Months

The challenge that I want to be resolved is that my dog will poop mid-walk. Before we go for a walk, I make sure that my dog has pooped. But even though she has pooped before the walk, she will always poop mid-walk. I find this challenge very embarrassing because every time she poops mid-walk, the people will look at me and will tease me. Please help me resolve this. Also, we don't have poop bags here.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
234 Dog owners recommended

Hello there. Younger dogs will often need to poop after they have had physical stimulation. My dog goes about 3 times while walking and it drives me crazy some days! The only real solution I have for you right now is to play a game of fetch before walking. That will stimulate him enough to hopefully get it all out before you go for a walk.

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