Sunday, 17 October 2021
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Dog Gone Problems: If my husband is late letting the dog outside to potty, it hides under the bed

Dog Gone Problems is a weekly advice column by David Codr, a dog behaviorist in Omaha. David answers dog behavior questions sent in by our readers. You can reach him at

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Dog Gone Problems,

We’re having a small issue with my 2-year-old dog, Leo. He is usually closest to me, but I’ve been on bed rest for 10 weeks and my husband has taken over walking and feeding duties.

At first it used to be a pain because Leo would get anxious when it was time to go out and he’d tuck his tail and even pee a little. But after several weeks, he got used to it and was OK to go out with my husband.

My husband usually takes him out between 6:30 and 7 a.m., and Leo is fine. He runs over to him ready to go. However, if my husband waits too long — like 8 a.m. — to take him out, Leo will hide under the bed and refuse to come. Then I have to get on the floor and coax him from under the bed so my husband can take him. I don’t understand this behavior. What are your thoughts?




Hi Dominique,

Well, first off, I hope you are recovering well. I can’t imagine what 10 weeks of bed rest is like. Second, without knowing Leo’s back story, it’s hard to say. It could be that previously, Leo was punished for having an accident. This is a common mistake many people make when potty training their dog.

People’s intentions are to communicate that “When you potty in the house, I don’t like it.” But what the dog hears is, “When I go potty, the human gets mad.” Additionally, yelling at the dog or rubbing its nose in urine or feces does not help with potty training. Studies show it actually makes potty training harder. This can lead to the dog to hiding in places to eliminate where you won’t see it. This can also happen if you call out the command word to potty after the dog has an accident or hides the elimination somewhere.

My guess is the dog was scolded when he was a pup, and now if he doesn’t go out to do his business, he thinks he may get into trouble…so he hides. My advice would be to have your husband start re-branding the command word and potty ritual.

Pick a new word like “business,” “deposit,” etc., and have your husband go out with the dog at potty time. As soon as the dog starts to go No. 1 or No. 2, say the new command word in a normal tone of voice within three seconds of the dog going. As soon as the dog finishes, have your husband pop a treat into the dog’s mouth within three seconds of finishing and say the command word again after the treat goes into the dog’s mouth.

After a week or two, your dogs should respond to the new command word, which won’t have the baggage of your current word. Additionally, all the positive reinforcement should help the dogs see that your husband likes it when they go potty outside and it’s nothing to run and hide about.

Good luck and remember — everything you do trains your dog. Only sometimes you mean it.


Submit your pet questions to David Codr by emailing a photo of your dog and question to Visit for more from David.


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