My 9 month old dog is well behaved and goes outside to urinate if we leave the back door open. But if it gets a bit cold and we shut it, she won't hold it at all and will just go without her approaching us for a sign or anything.

Winter is coming and we don't really want to constantly leave the door open. We do open the door regularly to let them out. My older dog doesn't do this, but the younger one does.

Has anyone got any ideas?

2 Answers 2


She doesn't understand that she is supposed to go outside yet, you just need to explain this in a way she can understand, and enforce it consistently in a way that will make her feel happy and confident about doing it your way.

When I am house training adult rescue dogs, I usually keep the dog on lead in the house for a few days. It's a pain, but it means the dog cannot slip away and get it wrong, if she starts to sniff or squat, you'll see it.

I also take the dog outside at least once an hour, give her time outside which isn't ball games or exciting stuff, just hanging about. Usually a dog with nothing much to do will pee before too long. Then you can praise her for getting it right, and maybe reward her with a ball game or treat.

Once she has the general idea you can let her off the lead in the house, but continue to supervise closely and pop her outside regularly. Over time, she'll form a routine and will probably begin to ask to go out if she needs to.


It might be helpful to positively reinforce using a specific area as a toilet.

As an example, when I lived in an apartment, I took my dog out to the same spot (a mulched area) to do her business before we went on a walk. While this was mostly to avoid being a nuisance and killing the grass in the common area, it meant she knew the correct place.

To set this up for you, pick a specific place in your yard (away from your garden or prized flowers, for instance) and take your pup out there, on a lead and on a schedule. This enables her to not get a chance at a wrong answer, like Victoria pointed out. It might also help if you use the same door every time. (Most dogs are bad at generalizing information.)

When she does her business, make a big deal out of it. Pet her, tell her how smart she is, give her a high value morsel. (High value treats are often something stinky, like cheese or cut-up hot dogs, but this can be unique to your dog, too. I had a dog who learned freestyle dancing on frozen green beans alone.)

Soon enough, when she feels the need to toilet, she'll try heading to the most rewarding place to do it - the place you've conditioned her to go. This will probably look like heading to the chosen door on her own or coming to get you, the holder of treats. Reward this, too, when you see it. She's got the right idea, make being right fun and rewarding.

Remember to be gentle when she gets a wrong answer, you don't want her to associate peeing with you being upset, that will further confuse the issue and delay the result you're looking for.

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