Is Your Dog Reluctant to “Go” Outside in Winter?


It’s fairly common for dogs to decide that it’s just not worth the trouble of dealing with rain, snow, or freezing temperatures in order to relieve themselves in the winter; they’d prefer to relieve themselves indoors, thanks very much! Of course, that’s just not acceptable to most of us! Here are some suggestions to help your reluctant canine pal maintain proper toilet etiquette in bad weather:

  • Create an outdoor sheltered bathroom area – a shed with a dirt floor, a lean-to, a tent – some space that you keep cleared of snow and that is sheltered from blowing snow and rain.
  • Keep a path shoveled to the above-mentioned sheltered bathroom area so your dog can access it easily.
  • Initially go out with your dog to the sheltered area on a regular bathroom routine until he learns to go there on his own, just as you initially would with a pup when first housetraining.
  • If your dog has a short coat or gets cold easily, consider a jacket and boots. Remember to spend some time conditioning him to them so he loves them.
  • Alternatively, you can create an indoor bathroom for your dog. We tend to think of litter boxes as a cat-thing, but it really might be the right answer for some dogs as well. There are some well-constructed commercial canine litter boxes – I personally prefer the ones with artificial turf to the ones with real grass (it’s easier to keep the artificial grass clean than it is to keep replacing the turf) and I’m not a fan of the basic pee pad. It may be difficult to convince your well-house-trained adult dog to use an indoor litter box; you might start by getting him to use the litter box outdoors and then bring it inside. 


  1. Pat, thanks for this informative article.
    We have a healthy 5 yr old poodle mix. We just got 6 inches of snow and I again wondered if there was a way to retrain Lucy to do her buisz inside. I.m 75 struggling with health concerns. It would be ideal to not to have to go through the prep work and slipping and falling outside. I’d be very pleased if she would understand some how.
    Lucy is very smart but also slightly stubborn. Which method and products would you suggest?
    Thank you.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here