How to Train Your Dog to Poop While on Leash

How to Train Your Dog to Poop While on Leash
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon2-4 Weeks
General training category iconGeneral

Introduction

Well, poop. There is nothing quite like getting up close and personal with your pup's poop. You get to clean up those little (or maybe not so little) piles, step in his landmines, find them on the living room rug, and more. Yet despite all of this, there is nothing worse than when your pup simply won't poop. At least not when you take him outside on his leash. Not wanting to poop while he is on a leash is nothing too unusual, in fact, it's far more common than you might think.

Does this mean your pup is too shy to poop while you are standing there with his leash in your hands? Certainly not! Dogs simply do not have the sense of modesty we share as human beings. More likely than not the reason he will not poop while on a leash lies with how you potty trained him. Not to say that this is your fault, but your pup has spent his entire life being told when he could poop and where he could go. Now you are asking him to do something different. 

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Defining Tasks

What we are looking at here is training your dog to poop while he is on his leash. Your dog may not seem to have a problem peeing while he is on his leash, he can only hold out so long. But in most cases, your pup can hold his poop for a very long time. Think back to potty training, how often did you have to take him out to pee as opposed to pooping? The problem is that since he is not pooping on his leash while going for a walk, he may end up leaving you a nice stinky package on the carpet when he does finally go.

The idea then is to work with your dog and train him to poop while on his leash just as easily as he does when he is running around in the backyard. Teaching him this habit shouldn't be too hard, but it is going to take time and patience, especially if your pup is resistant to doing so. 

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Getting Started

Before you start training your dog to poop while he is on a leash, he needs to be potty and leash trained. This will allow both of you to focus on the training at hand. It doesn't take much in the way of supplies, it takes far more in terms of time and patience. You will need:

  • Treats: To reward your pup when he gets the idea.
  • Leash: The whole point of this training.
  • A place to practice: Somewhere where the two of you can go for nice long walks with minimal distractions.
  • Time: This could take as little as a few days or take as long as a few weeks for your pup to master.
  • Patience: You can never have too much of this.
  • Poop bags: Always, always, always clean up after your dog.

How soon your pup learns to poop on his leash depends heavily on how many walks you can take him for a day. You can also just take him for walks around the yard if you don't have the time to go for a long walk. 

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The Friendly Leash Method

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1

Make friends with his leash

Start out by teaching your pup to think of his leash as part of him, sort of like an extra tail. Many puppies are scared of their leashes. Leave the leash laying on the floor and let him look at it, sniff it, get used to it and then clip it on his collar. Let him run around in the house until he gets to the point where he no longer notices it.

2

Going outside

Now take him outside on his leash, just be sure to give him some space. Being forced to be too close to you is likely to make him uncomfortable, in which case he may not poop. Be sure to choose your training times to coincide with when he is most likely to need to poop, such as shortly after he eats.

3

Be patient

Be patient and prepared to spend a lot of time walking him. Be aware that you may have to take several walks before he even looks like he might poop. Whatever you do, don't give up on him.

4

High Praise

When your dog finally does poop, be sure to give him lots of praise and reward him with his favorite treats.

5

Try adding a verbal cue

Sometimes your dog wants to take his own sweet time and needs a verbal reminder that it's time to go. Consider adding a verbal cue or command each time he poops. In time he will associate the command with the action, this can also help to speed up training.

6

The same spot

One last thing to consider when training your pup to poop on his leash is to use the same place each time as this may also encourage him to poop. You may have to try different spots before you find the right one.

The Crate Method

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Crate

Crate your pup.

2

Hook him up

Release your pup from his crate and hook him up to a standard-length walking leash. Be sure he has been in there long enough that he needs to go potty.

3

Take a hike

Go for a nice long walk around your neighborhood together. The most important thing to keep in mind here is that you need to remain calm. If you become impatient, your pup may become too stressed to go potty.

4

Keep to a tight timeline

Keep the length of your walks to 15 minutes before returning home. If by this time he hasn't pooped, go home, take him inside, and leave the leash on. Head out to the backyard with him still on the leash and allow him to wander around and take care of business.

5

Keep to a routine

Keep taking him out at the same times every day, your pup likes a routine as much as you do. They learn much better this way. Be sure to praise him and give him a treat every time he poops while on his leash. In time, he will do so just as easily as he does when he is not on a leash.

The First Steps First Method

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About that leash

You need to make sure your pup is leash trained and comfortable walking on his leash.

2

Around the yard

Let your dog drag his leash around the yard. Watch him and when he pees or poops be sure to praise him and give him a treat.

3

Pick up the leash

Pick up the leash and follow around behind him as he walks around your yard until he poops. Praise him and give him a treat. You are trying to teach him that you approve of what he is doing.

4

Shorten the leash

Start shortening up on the leash and walking your dog around the yard, repeating the same process. Rewards such as praise and treats can be used to let him know he is doing the right thing.

5

Go for a walk

Now you can take your pup out for walks on his leash. Here again, you need to reward him when he poops while on his leash. It may take a few weeks for him to get this right. Just be patient and it will happen.

By PB Getz

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

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Luna

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Australian Cattle Dog

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8 Months

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Question

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We just rescued Luna from a shelter. We currently do not have a fenced backyard. We are trying to get her to poop on a leash but she just doesn’t go. We are unsure of what to do because there isn’t a quiet space really and we can’t just let her roam with the leash not in our hands in fear that she will run away. Any tips are appreciated.

Nov. 15, 2020

Luna's Owner

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Alisha Smith - Alisha S., Dog Trainer

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257 Dog owners recommended

Hello! If you haven't tried taking her out after a meal, I would start there. Dogs typically have to eliminate about 30 minutes after they eat. Take some treats with you and walk her a pretty decent distance to get everything in her digestive system really moving. Once she goes, praise the heck out of her and give her some treats. This will relay the message across to her that going on walks is a good thing!

Nov. 16, 2020

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Chica

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German Shepherd

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3 Years

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I rescued her a couple weeks ago and I had to train her to go outside to do her thing. I also have another German Shepherd and a four year old mutt. Since the Shepherds are attention hogs my mutt has had very little attention for awhile so I decided to crate both of them and take him to the dog park. When we got back everything seemed fine and she decided to pee on the carpet which I thought was a thing of the past. Later we were upstairs and I saw her go in the office by herself where she’s pooped and peed several times in the first week and yes I caught her peeing again, scolded her and put her outside. I’m very curious about why she would start this again, was it because she’s revolting because I took the other dog without her? Now I have her tethered to me again which is a pain. Any advice would be appreciated

June 1, 2019

Chica's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Robert, Since she has only been working on potty training for two weeks she likely was just given too much freedom too soon. Most dogs take about three months of consistent potty training to be reliable, and that's if accidents are prevented well most of the time. It's possible that simply having her routine thrown off with you leaving and your attention not being on her made things a bit harder for her. She also may have smelled the other dogs when you came home and wanted to mark her territory because of that - since she hasn't been potty trained for long that tendency is probably just not broken yet. She needs keeping the house clean to become a strong enough long-term habit that is trumps a desire to mark at will also. Keeping a space clean and marking are both instinctual - dogs have to learn to consider their homes as dens and a space to keep clean. The instinct to keep a space clean has to become strong enough from building a long-term habit of doing it, that it trumps the other instinct to mark. Be sure to clean up accidents with a cleaner that contains enzymes. Other cleaners leave scent that dogs can still smell - even bleach, and the smell needs to be removed for a dog not to feel the urge to mark in the same spot again later. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

June 2, 2019


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