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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dog Won't Potty on Wet Grass

Last week, after a heavy rain, I walked outside in my bare feet. Temperature was around 60 degrees. The cool night air and the wet grass made my feet uncomfortable and numb. And I thought about how I often ask my dogs to step on wet grass when temperatures are even lower than 60 degrees.

Luckily, I can get them outside most of the time. But sometimes it takes a bit of work. If your dog doesn't like walking on wet grass, here are few things that have seemed to work for us.  Note that I have a fenced yard. If you don't have a yard or if your yard is not securely fenced, modify as necessary to keep your dog and the public safe.

Bribing is not always ideal. But if you need to get to work on time... try putting some super high value food out on the ground.  It needs to be a good amount. Or else they will just snatch it up and run back into the house.  Put out a nice little pile that takes a while to eat.  Actually eating normally stimulates my dogs to want to pee.  Additionally, author John Rogerson (The Dog Vinci Code) suggests putting the food in a circle. So it activates the dog's natural tendency to circle before pottying.  I tried that with my pups but they kind of hopped around. They didn't really circle.

Fun game.
Run around with the dogs in the house. Once they are into the chase game, run out the door. Encourage them to stay out with you.

Body Position.
If I walk out to the yard ahead of the dogs then get on my knees, they are more likely to walk towards me. Once they get outside, they will often go potty. I give them treats for coming towards me and for pottying.

Work on building a lot of mat value.
Then go outside ahead of your dog and put down a mat. See what happens.

Keep fresh pieces of sod handy. Try putting some down when the yard is wet. Some dogs might be interested in the novel grass.

Roll out the red carpet
Well it doesn't have to be red and it doesn't have to be carpet, but your dogs might appreciate a path that is either not wet or slightly less wet.

My dogs don't seem to care about wet grass when we go for leashed walks away from home.

And of course we could also try to be proactive. Acclimate your dog to wet feet when the grass is not wet and the dog does not need to go out to potty.  We might start with something really easy - like rewarding your dog for walking on different dry surfaces. Then maybe a slightly damp surface (make the surface damp with warm water inside a warm residence). Then slowly increase the criteria in teeny tiny increments - the same way we might acclimate a dog to baths:

Booties might help some dogs. But many might hate booties more than they hate wet grass. Slowly acclimate your dog to booties if you choose to use them.

How do you convince your dog to walk or potty on wet grass?  Tell us in the comments section below

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