How to Train Your Dog to Pee While on Leash

Medium
1-4 Weeks
General

Introduction

Have you just got a rescue dog, that you haven’t had a chance to teach recall to yet, so you always have to walk him on the leash? Do you find that he won’t go for a pee unless he’s off leash and in the house? By now, you’re sick and tired of always having to wipe up those smelly damp patches that are turning your nice clean carpet a shade of yellow. Even if your dog knows recall, sometimes it’s not appropriate to let them off the leash or maybe they’re sick and you need to monitor how much urine they’re producing, therefore, training them to pee on the leash is a useful skill regardless. Now is the time to teach your pooch to pee while on-leash.

Defining Tasks

This command is important because although it’s not natural for dogs to want to pee on the leash, imagine going to the bathroom in front of someone. Dogs like their privacy too. However, learning the command will have lots of practical benefits, such as always checking their toileting habits are ok and picking up something abnormal quicker if your pet gets sick, as they’ll be peeing close by. Learning this command will save you those unpleasant hours cleaning up urine off of the floor, if they’re peeing inside because you can’t let them off the leash, which is the case for life for some dogs that are dog aggressive or those that have poor recall such as Pomeranians. Another benefit is that you can get them to go in a designated spot, if you want to keep your backyard urine free for example. It will take a few weeks to train your pooch to learn this trick and it is best suited to younger dogs, while they’re still learning. However, older dogs can be trained also.

Getting Started

To begin training your pooch to pee on-leash, you’ll need some high-value treats such as boiled chicken, hot dogs, or cheese. If you’re teaching your 8-week old pupper to pee on a leash straight away it would also be a good idea to fence off an area of a room and keep him in it when he’s unattended so it’s easier to see him showing you signs of going, so you can get him on that leash and outside. When he has an accident inside, you’ll need to correct him but not scare him, so make sure your voice is firm and authoritative, but not frightening. And when he does his business on the leash, make sure your voice is rewarding and encouraging, you’ll need to make the training fun for him. Now let’s get started.

The Puppy Method

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Step
1
Understand your pooch
Different breeds will have different frequencies at which they need to go. Know your pooch's breed and therefore how often he or she will need to go, so that you can get him on that leash and outside accordingly.
Step
2
Watch their behavior
Keeping a close eye on your puppy means you can watch for behavioral signs that they’re about to go, such as sniffing, scratching, circling and whining. If you see these, get them on the leash and outside straight away.
Step
3
Stop him off leash
When he has an accident and pees off leash, stop him by saying ‘no’ and clapping or making a noise to put him off, be careful not to scare him though.
Step
4
Choose a designated area
Choose a particular area outside and consistently take him to it on their leash, to avoid confusion. Make sure they’ve had their vaccinations if it’s going to be somewhere outside of your backyard though.
Step
5
Praise when he goes on-leash
Give him a tasty treat and lots of tummy rubs when he goes while on leash. Peeing on-leash needs to be a fun and rewarding experience.
Step
6
Introduce a command
If you like, once he's got to grips with peeing on leash, you can even get him to associate it with a command such as ‘pee’ or ‘go’, so that he’ll pee on leash when you use the command.
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The Routine Method

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Step
1
Establish a sensible routine
Make sure that your pooch is taken out the correct amount each day for his or her breed and/or age. Make it a routine thing, so that your pooch knows when he'll get the opportunity to go. Take him out around meal times, for example.
Step
2
Clean up accidents quickly
To make sure your pooch doesn’t associate an area of your home with peeing, make sure you clean up any accidents that occur right away.
Step
3
Designate an area
While on-leash, choose an area outside where you want your pooch to go and consistently take him there, so that he recognizes his scent.
Step
4
Let him relax
Although you’ll have him on the leash, make sure you give your pooch as much space as you can to let him do his business, and don’t distract him while he's in the middle of it.
Step
5
Rewards
Give lots of praise and a lovely, tasty treat when he goes while on the leash.
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The Crating Method

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Step
1
Get an appropriate sized crate
Crate your dog while he’s inside to stop him from peeing. Dogs don’t like to pee where they rest.
Step
2
Leash him
Pop him on the leash and take him outside, it’s likely he’ll have been holding it in and will be keen to do his business. Make sure you take him out enough times a day for his size and breed though.
Step
3
Be patient
Take your pooch for a good walk around, don’t just go outside and expect him to do it. A 20-minute walk may be necessary. Don’t be anxious or impatient, as this may put him off.
Step
4
Try again
If he doesn’t go on the first walk, keep him on the leash inside and have a 5 minute rest. Take him back outside somewhere free from distractions, he should now pee. Make sure you take him out the required number of times, at roughly the same time every day. Dogs are creatures of habit.
Step
5
Lots of treats
When he goes on the leash, give him lots of high value treats and praise so he knows he’s been a good boy.
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Written by Catherine Lee-Smith

Published: 11/10/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Dobby
Dachshund
7 Months
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Question
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Dobby
Dachshund
7 Months

We have a fenced in yard and would love to be able to let our puppy outside to potty and not go out with him on a leash. How do we train him to go and then come back?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
943 Dog owners recommended

Hello Heather, To teach this, take pup out into your yard on leash. Teach pup "Go Potty", by telling pup to "Go Potty" each time you lead them there and praising and rewarding them when they go potty in that spot. As they learn that location and begin to go more quickly while on leash, start going with them with pup off leash, still accompanying them and telling them to "Go Potty", rewarding and praising after they go. I will often point to the general area I want pup to sniff around in to go while doing this, to help pup learn that too. When pup is doing good with you there but not on leash, start sending them from slightly closer to the house so they are walking those last couple of feet to the spot on their own. I will often point toward where I want them to go like I was doing before to send them further out. When pup is doing well walking those couple of feet away from you to go when you tell them "Go Potty", then gradually add more distance between you and pup, back up to the house overtime. To do this you would stand a couple of feet away from the potty spot, then gradually add distance one foot at a time, until you have worked your way back to sending them from the doorway of your home that lets out into the yard, on command. Once pup will go out into the yard when you let them out and stand in the door way, telling pup to Go Potty, and praising and giving a treat after they do so and return back to you, then you can begin stepping inside, eventually closing the door after and spying on pup from a window to see if they are really going, poking your head back out to say "Go Potty" as a reminder if pup is getting distracted, then rewarding pup when you let them back in after they come to the door. At that point, you can open the door, tell pup to "Go Potty" and let them do their thing in the yard once you have been doing this for 3-6 months. For reliability that doesn't require spying on pup to ensure they are really going, pup will need to be supervised and reminded a bit until going on command has become a long term habit, they do automatically simply because its habitual now. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Asher
Siberian Husky
3 Months
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Asher
Siberian Husky
3 Months

He does not go to the bathroom, neither poop nor pee on walks. We can be out on a walk for an hour and as SOON as he comes in he poops and pees even though we were just out. How do I get him to go outside instead of waiting when he comes in to go ?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
943 Dog owners recommended

Hello Aaliyah, Check out the crate training method from the article I have linked below. I recommend following that consistently to get pup in the habit of going outside on the grass. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside The crate training method will ensure that he only has the option of going potty while outside, until he gets desperate enough to go when you take him out, and after a few times of going potty outside and being rewarded, he should gradually start to understand why he is out there with you when he has a full bladder. Many dogs will also intentionally hold it if they are used to being taken on a walk to go potty, because they learn that as soon as they go potty, they have to go home, or they are too distracted by what's on the walk to go. For those dogs, I recommend choosing a boring area where you can walk pup around in wide circles slowly before you take them on a longer walk down the road. Walk pup around there slowly for up to 15 minutes for peeing, then again for pooping if they pee. If pup won't go within 15 minutes, take them home and crate for 30-60 minutes, then repeat the trip outside to that boring area. Do this every hour or so until pup finally goes potty outside when you take them. If pup does go potty when you take them to that calmer area outside, praise, reward with a treat, then if it's time for exercise, take pup on a walk at that point - so the walk becomes a reward for finishing their business quickly also, and not something pup is holding out for and not going potty in hopes of continuing. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Yaya
Collie shepherd
8 Months
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Question
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Yaya
Collie shepherd
8 Months

My dog is potty trained for the most part but for some reason she likes to go upstairs and in my kids room to poop. Not sure why? Or what to do anymore?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
943 Dog owners recommended

Hello Paige, It sounds like pup is probably seeking the privacy of the room, is being encouraged to go in that same spot over and over again by the scent of previous accidents, and has now developed a habit of preferring that area. I would start by thoroughly cleaning an areas you are aware pup has ever had an accident up there with a cleaner that contains enzymes. Only enzymes will break down the pee and poop at a molecular level, so even though you likely cleaned with something there, to remove the scent to the level pup's sensitive nose needs, you will need enzymes. It the area is carpeted, the cleaner not fully penetrating the carpet or rug could also be an issue, so it may be worth renting a deep cleaner and purchasing an enzymatic carpet cleaner to clean that room with. A rug can be removed from the area if you can't fully clean it. As far as pup seeking privacy, you have three options. You can either keep pup tethered to you whenever they are upstairs and prevent upstairs access at the steps at other times. This will take at least a couple of months for habits to change. You can similarly, keep that door closed or purchase a pet barrier device, with a range that can be set only to be as large as that room, that corrects pup whenever they enter that room if you never want pup to go into that room. You can set up a camera to spy on pup and correct pup remotely whenever you see them enter the room, via by speaking to pup over the camera if pup responds well to your voice, or with something remote like a remote training collar that vibrates, releases a puff of air (don't use citronella though, only unscented air), or low level stimulation. All of these options equal pup not being allowed in that room unless tethered to you. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Reagan
German Sheprador
7 Months
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Question
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Reagan
German Sheprador
7 Months

Before bed, walked dog on leash 45 minutes and dog never peed. What is your recommended length of time to walk a dog before you stop and rest for a while and try again?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
943 Dog owners recommended

Hello Michele, I recommend teaching pup the Go Potty Command, and teaching pup that the walk is a reward for pup peeing when you first take them out. Many dogs will hold it during a walk because they have learned that as soon as they go potty, they have to turn around and go home, so they hold it to keep the walk progressing. You want pup to learn to go potty immediately, then walk further after. Normally I would take pup potty on a leash and walk pup around in a certain area where pup can sniff in that area to find a spot, keeping things more boring walking just in that area. Tell pup to Go Potty calmly, then giving three small treats or pieces of kibble after they go. Once they have gone potty, then I would give a short walk for a bit of exercise as a reward for going. At first this will probably take more time but within a couple of weeks put will normally start to pee quickly when you take them. Pooping is triggered by smells and movement, so sometimes pup may poop during the walk even after they have peed because they didn't feel the urge until you started walking. Most of the time if you walk pup around in that smaller area and pup has learned Go Potty, if you walk pup and say Go Potty again for a few minutes once they have already peed, they will also poop then too. If pup doesn't go potty within 15-20 minutes, I would go inside and try again in an hour, crating pup during that hour if pup may have an accident once back inside. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Tulip
Redbone Coonhound
1 Year
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Question
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Tulip
Redbone Coonhound
1 Year

My dog was perfectly house trained because we had her going in the yard but she killed all of the grass. She would hold it on walks and go in the yard. Now I’m keeping her out of the yard but she’s still holding it on walks and now having accidents when left alone. We will walk over an hour and she holds it. I give her a treat but I’m worried she will keep peeing in the house when left alone because she thinks that’s okay.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
943 Dog owners recommended

Hello Grace, I would start by crate training pup and crating pup when left alone to stop the accidents inside, so that pup's only option is to pee when outside. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Since pup seems to think it's not acceptable to pee while on a walk, I would also allow pup to pee on the outer edge of your yard, closer to where you walk at first. If you want to salvage your grass you could put a disposable real grass pad on top of your regular grass in that spot. Once pup is going potty there well, then move the grass pad or take pup a bit further from the edge of home and have pup pee a little further away from the house each time, until pup is peeing somewhere that's considered part of your walking route. When you do this, tell pup to Go Potty, and give a treat each time they go potty to help pup learn to go on cue while on a walk, and so that pup knows its acceptable to pee when not in the yard. Real grass pads www.freshpatch.com www.doggielawn.com www.porchpotty.com Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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