Michael Baugh CDBC CPDT-KSA
It’s the one thing all of our dogs need to know for hurricane season – where to poop and pee.
But, wait. Don’t all our dogs already know where to potty? Yes, maybe. And, maybe not.
Most of our dogs know pretty well where to do their business near our home on a sunny or mildly inclement day. Things can get a bit iffy, though, if the weather is really bad (some of us already know that). And lots of dogs forget potty training altogether if they are staying in a different home or (worst case) in a hurricane shelter. It’s up to us to teach them specific potty instructions that will hold up under lots of circumstances.
The core of potty training remains the same:
- Praise and treats for going in the right spot. We need to be there to pull this off. Practice in lots of places and in all kinds of weather. Pro tip: teach your dog to walk with you under an umbrella. This is so important for puppies, but it can be taught at any age (we can show you how).
- Supervise your dog inside.
- Safely confine the dog when you can’t supervise. These last two points are extra important if you are staying at a family member’s or friend’s house, in a hotel, or at a shelter.
And here’s a hurricane hack for folks who already have dogs who are sensitive to pooping and peeing in the rain. You can actually purchase a box of grass and teach your dog to do his business there – maybe in the garage or under a patio. All the same rules of potty training apply. But, remember, you’ll want to practice this now not in the throes of a storm. It may take a few weeks to nail it.
- Guide your dog to the spot
- Wait for the poop or pee
- Praise and treat
- Pro tip: Gather a bit of pee from your dog (you can use a saucer for this). Put it on the sod in the box. The scent will attract him to go there again.
Build excitement around going potty in the designated spot with a special cue. I use “let’s go potty” or “go outside go potty.” That’s always a sure bet for my dogs. If they hear that cue and go out to poop and pee, they are getting a treat for it. This is video of Stella and Stewie peeing outside during a Hurricane Harvey downpour (so proud of those two).