Just go to the bathroom, dammit!
June 4, 2010 8:40 PM   Subscribe

Why won't our dog go out like she used to?

I am staying at my parents' house for the summer and I have our dog Olive with me while my husband is going to school and working full time. Olive's normal "let's go out!" routine consists of putting her on a leash, walking down the street and doing her business. She is always excited to go out. Now that I am at my parents' house in somewhat rural area, she has free reign of three wooded acres and a small pond (which she loves), as well as the opportunity to play with my parents' three other dogs. During the day, she loves to go outside and play with them, but when it comes to our "let's go out!" routine before bedtime, she has recently begun the "let's play dead". In the daytime she runs outside willingly, but at night, she barely responds to her name. I know that she is completely out of her normal routine. Is there a way to coax her outside that I'm completely missing? I am so frustrated with her, even though she is totally housebroken and has not gone to the bathroom in my parents' house. I sense that my frustration is what's causing the problem, but I am clueless as to how to fix it. Hope me, Metafilter!
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith to Pets & Animals (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Go outside when she's out there and play with her instead of asking her to follow your routine.
posted by TheBones at 8:51 PM on June 4, 2010

Geeez, mom, let me go to bed!

She's tired. She isn't excited about going out in the city because she needs to go out, but because its a chance to exercise, after being run ragged by three other dogs all day she hardly needs that just before bed, and if she isn't in a panic in the morning, you hardly need to worry about it.

If you miss the time with her (which I suspect you do), then take her out an hour or two earlier.
posted by Some1 at 8:55 PM on June 4, 2010

Best answer: If your dog could write to metafilter, she would be saying: "I'm completely housebroken. What can I do to keep my owner from pestering me to go outside when I'm exhausted."
posted by Flunoid at 9:07 PM on June 4, 2010 [16 favorites]

She's letting you know that you don't need to walk her when she's been playing, running, and peeing au naturale all day long. Fix your frustration by having relaxing cuddles with her instead.
posted by amethysts at 9:17 PM on June 4, 2010

Come on, you guys, this dog is terrified.

Something bad happened to her in the dark out there, something frightening, and now she doesn't want to go out there no matter how uncomfortable it makes the morning.

Try going out with her and see how close she sticks to you.
posted by jamjam at 10:11 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Nthing that she just may be finished for the day, and doesn't need an evening run or pee. But she also may be smelling something outside that she's not at all interested in meeting -- depending on where you're located and how rural this is, it could be something small like a raccoon or skunk, or bigger like deer or coyote.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:15 PM on June 4, 2010

Are there coyotes in the area? Maybe Olive knows it's better for her to stay inside.

I would try taking Olive outside with your parents dogs. If the entire "pack" goes out together, Olive might go along.
posted by grayber at 11:26 PM on June 4, 2010

While I agree that you should make sure she hasn't had a scary nighttime experience, this is exactly what my dog does when she's tired from a day full of playing. She will even pretend to be asleep when she's not so she doesn't have to get off the warm couch and go outside. Unless it's been a long time since she went out, I generally trust her judgement.
posted by periscope at 11:44 PM on June 4, 2010

You say that she isn't interested in the let's go "routine". Have you tried just letting her out at night? She may be having so much fun running around free with the other dogs that she would rather stay inside than go out on a leash. Even if a dog is exhausted they should still go with you when you request it. If she's too tired to go out she should be asleep and you should have trouble even waking her up. If that's not the case then she has a reason that she doesn't want to go out. Either she's fighting the leash and the routine, or-

I work with dogs and have met more than a few that are fully afraid of the dark. Some are so bad that they cry or quiver just being in a dark room, but more commonly they just don't like a large open space that's dark (like a giant wooded yard area). Also, like jamjam said, something could have happened to her out there in the dark and she's avoiding it. It really doesn't take much for some dogs to avoid repeating an experience. I'd recommend reading up on dog body language. There are lots of behaviors that can mean different things in different situations, or that might seem to mean one thing to humans, but mean something totally different in dog talk. For instance, dogs yawn when they're sleepy, but yawning can also express anxiety or aggression.

Good luck!
posted by gally99 at 12:52 AM on June 5, 2010

One more thing- how old is she? When a dog's eyes are going their night vision is often first to go. She may just be having trouble seeing outside and is avoiding it. Are there street lights at home but not at your parent's house?
posted by gally99 at 12:56 AM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

My dog has this general routine:

  • in and out of the house during the day
  • long walk after dinner
  • short walk around 11:30pm or later

    However, sometimes she'll just go up to her bed earlier. At first I'd call her down and do the late night walk anyway when she did this, but several episodes of her not going when awakened to walk followed by her not peeing in the house or waking me up at 4am for a walk were proof enough for me to let sleeping dog lie.

  • posted by mikepop at 6:19 AM on June 7, 2010

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