Shy Pup Avoids Taking Care of Business Outdoors

Dear Alex,

I've had a 9-month-old wheaten for a month and I've managed to get her to use our astroturf-covered porch to do her business. However I cannot transition her to the real outdoors no matter how long I walk her out there. Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance.

- Steve

Hi Steve,

Some dogs want to stick to one restroom area, and do not want to go in other places. This seems to be what’s going on with your Wheaten. In your case, your Wheaten is doing exactly what you’ve trained her to do-- she’s going potty on the porch. You potty trained her to the porch, so she thinks this is where her restroom is.

If you would like her to go outside during walks instead of on the porch, you’re going to need to re-train her to do so. You will essentially need to begin the potty training process over again. When it’s time for her to use the restroom, you will need to take her on a walk instead of letting her use the porch. It will be important to block off her access from the porch during this time. She needs to be given one restroom option during her “potty training,” and no others. After she develops the new potty habit, you may begin to reintroduce the porch. Since she already knows the porch is a restroom option, she will feel free to use it. She will also be comfortable going on walks, because you have now made that an option as well.

- Alex

Alexandra (Alex) Macias has been a certified Dog Trainer and Behavior Specialist since 2008, and is the owner of Alex Macias Dog training, a Long Beach-based dog training company. To ask Alexandra questions for a future article, leave them in the comments below, or email her