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How To Clip A Dog’s Nails When The Dog Is Scared Of Clippers



how to clip a dog’s nails when the dog is

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Is it that time again already, when the click-clack sound of your dog’s nails reminds you that your cute pooch is about to become the ultimate drama queen?

If this sounds like a familiar scenario, you’re probably wondering how to clip a dog’s nails when the dog is scared of clippers. 

Although most dogs aren’t fans of having their paws touched and their nails trimmed, most tolerate this grooming routine just fine when rewarded with tasty treats.

Unfortunately, though, some pups would rather suffer the pain of long nails than spending a second in the same room with a pair of clippers.

Extreme fear of nail trimming is common in dogs who got “quicked” at some point and now have anxiety whenever you try to touch their paws or nails.

My pooch has completely black nails, and I had the misfortune of cutting into his quick a bit. Although the cut was very small, my pooch remembered it for the longest time and liked to throw tantrums whenever he saw the clippers after that experience.

Seeing my dog anxious makes me anxious, too, so I’ve tried several things to make nail trimming more fun and less stressful for both of us. In this article, I’ll share with you how to trim the nails of an anxious dog without sedating your pooch or using a calming aid.

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Why Are Dogs Scared Of Having Their Nails Clipped?

A dog’s nails and paws are highly sensitive, so it comes as no big surprise that some dogs react to nail clipping like it’s their worst nightmare. If given a choice, most dogs would prefer that you don’t touch their nails or paws ever, unless you are willing to dole out a huge amount of high-value treats. 

In many cases, dogs develop an extreme fear of nail clippers and nail trimming after a previous painful and traumatic nail clipping experience. Some pups develop severe anxiety at the mere mention of nails or even to the sight of nail grinders. 

For most dogs, the initial trauma stems from the fact that their nails have been cut too short and that they have been “quicked.” Trimming your dog’s nails too short and injuring the quick can be extremely painful and often leads to bleeding. 

Even if you have cut into your dog’s quick just once, one time is usually enough for most dogs to become permanently afraid of nail trimming. And if you think about it, cutting into the quick and bleeding is painful and stressful for people too, so why would it be any different for our canine companions?

Once a dog develops a fear of having their nails trimmed or is afraid of nail clippers, some owners can make matters way worse by trying to restrain their dogs. Furthermore, many owners won’t admit that they are scared to trim their dog’s nails but will get too emotional during the whole ordeal and increase their dog’s anxiety level. 

By adding to your dog’s original trauma, you make the nail trimming experience seem much worse than it actually is, deepening your dog’s fears and anxieties. But while things might look hopeless, the good news is that with patience and effort, you can teach your dog to have a non-stressful nail trimming experience at home. 

Why Are Long Dog Nails A Problem?

Since fear of nail trimming is a common issue in dogs, many owners decide that the best course of action is to avoid the issue altogether. But, while you won’t have to deal with an anxious dog or temper tantrums whenever you pull out the nail clippers, you’ll have an even bigger problem on your hands.

Allowing your dog nails to grow too long and letting them remain long can create problems for your dog’s health. 

The first issue associated with long nails in dogs is foot pain. As your dog walks on hard surfaces, their nails contract, pushing the nail back into the nail bed. Not only does this sound uncomfortable, but it is extremely painful and can put pressure on all toe joints or cause the toe to twist in an unnatural position.

In both cases, toes become extremely painful and inflamed, sometimes even developing arthritis. And when even the slightest touch is painful to your dog, you can imagine how uninterested and afraid of nail clipping they will be in this situation. Before you learn how to trim a scared dog’s nails, make sure that your pup’s toes aren’t inflamed and too painful to touch.

And if this hasn’t sounded bad enough, the second problem caused by overgrown dog nails is even more serious. Dogs, like all other animals, rely on the nerves in their feet to move through the world and provide accurate information and process gravity.

For millions of years and through the process of domestication, wild dogs have filed their nails down and kept them short by running on hard surfaces. So, the only time a dog’s nails have ever come into direct contact with the ground was when they were climbing a mountain. 

A dog’s brain is still wired to make the same assumption. So whenever your pup’s nails are clicking on the floor, their brain sends them a signal to shift their body accordingly to accommodate a climbing position. 

Essentially, your pooch is shifting their entire posture, leaning forward over their front legs, and also has to compensate with its back legs to avoid falling on its face. 

Research has shown that this type of posture results in over-used muscles and overused joints, especially in the back legs. This in turn decreases a dog’s mobility, making it hard for them to walk normally, jump into the car, or climb stairs, and they’ll even have a hard time laying down and getting up. 

Learning how to clip a nervous dog’s nails can seem like a cure-all, especially for dogs who already suffer from problems with their back legs, caused by overgrown nails. Having short nails can improve your pup’s overall well-being, and regular trimming can be a great preventative for these serious health conditions.

While trying to cut the nails of a fearful dog might seem like a bad idea, letting your pup develop serious health problems due to overly long nails is even worse. So, let’s see how to clip a dog’s nails when the dog is scared of clippers and won’t allow their paws to be touched.

How To Clip A Nervous Dog’s Nails

While clipping a nervous dog’s nails might seem like an impossible feat, there are simple steps you can follow to train your dog to tolerate nail trimming. Even if your pooch is afraid because you have injured their quick before, you can desensitize your dog to nail clipping.

You should have realistic expectations, though, and don’t expect to see any major changes or miracles happen overnight. However, with lots of patience, consistency, and rewards, you can teach your dog to stop being afraid of nail clippers.

Follow these steps to teach your dog to feel comfortable in the presence of nail clippers. And don’t forget, this is going to be a long and challenging process, so be prepared to spend every day working with your dog.

1. Get Your Dog Accustomed To Seeing Nail Clippers

The first thing you will need to do to get your dog to tolerate the sight of nail clippings is to get them used to seeing this tool. Bear in mind, your dog may associate nail clippers with a past negative experience or may be completely new to the world of nail trimming. Whatever the case, go slow and give your dog time to get familiar with the clippers.

To help your pup overcome their fear of nail clippers, call them to come and hold the clippers in your hand in your dog’s presence. Act happy and untroubled while you pick up and hold the clippers and give your dog a tasty treat.

Repeat the whole process several times a day for a few weeks or until your dog feels completely at ease in the presence of clippers. After a few days, your pooch should associate seeing clippers with rewards and praise. So when your pup starts being excited about this, you can move to the next step.

2. Teach Your Dog To Allow Paw Handling

When your dog starts to be more relaxed and accustomed to the clippers, you should start training them to tolerate having their paws touched. Start by lightly touching your dog’s shoulder, going all the way down to their paw. Praise and talk with your dog using a soothing voice to keep them as calm and relaxed as possible while handling their paws.

If your pup seems content, you can start focusing on their toes, giving each one a gentle squeeze. After you are done with the toes, turn your attention to nails and touch each of your dog’s nails while applying gentle pressure.  

If at any point your dog becomes too scared or anxious, stop what you are doing and give your pup time to completely calm down. During the entire process, you can also give your dog treats in addition to using praise as rewards for positive behavior. 

However, you shouldn’t praise or reward your dog in any way when they remove the paw or become too anxious to allow handling. Continue repeating this step a few times a day for as long as it takes for your dog to feel completely at ease while you are touching their paws. 

3. Familiarize Your Dog With The Sound The Clippers Make

To get your dog used to hearing the sound of the clippers without experiencing an anxiety attack, you will have to repeat the first step with a single addition. So instead of just holding the clippers in your hand, you should open and close them, producing the tell-tale sound all clippers make. 

While doing this, talk with your dog in a calm and soothing voice and give them treats. As your dog gets used to hearing the sound of clippers, slowly decrease the distance between your dog and the clippers without touching your dog with the tool. 

Once your pup starts to be excited when they hear the sound of the clippers and starts looking for treats and praise, it is time to raise your training to the next level. Keep in mind, your dog may need several weeks to learn to stay comfortable while hearing the sound of the clippers, so don’t rush the process. 

4. Mix Paw Handling With The Clippers

The main goal of this step is to teach your dog to tolerate being touched by the clippers. Call your pup and sit down on the floor with them while they are completely calm and relaxed. Start touching your dog’s paw with one hand while you open and close the clippers with the other, before placing the clippers on the floor. 

Repeat the same thing over and over again, but also gradually and slowly move the clippers in your dog’s direction. Bring the clippers closer and closer each time, and if your dog stays relaxed, try to touch one of their toes with the clippers. Don’t forget to be very gentle and continue praising and talking to your dog using a calm and soothing voice. 

If your pup remains relaxed, proceed to touch each one of their toes with the clippers. If by any chance your dog becomes nervous or scared at any step of the way, stop completely and give your dog time to calm down and relax. If necessary, take a small break and wait a few minutes before attempting to touch your pup’s toes.  

5. Try To Trim Your Dog’s Nails

If your dog now remains calm through all previous steps, the day has come when you can actually attempt to trim your dog’s nails. Hold their paw gently and slowly grip one of their toes. Use the clippers to trim only the tip of your dog’s nail, making sure that you don’t cut too much and injure the quick the very first time. 

After you manage to trim your pup’s nail without incident, praise them enthusiastically and offer high-value rewards. And while it may seem like you are on a roll, don’t tempt your luck by trying to cut all of your dog’s nails at once. 

Most dogs react way better to nail trimming when the entire process is divided into several shorter sessions. Ideally, you should try to trim one or two nails at a time, at the most, followed by a break, praise, and treats. 

If your dog is in the mood to continue after the break, you can trim more of their nails. If not, leave the rest of their nails to be trimmed the next day or in a few days. As your dog gets more and more used to the routine, you may be able to cut all of their nails in a single day, taking shorter breaks in between.

With a bit of patience, consistency, and perseverance, you can teach your anxious dog to stay calm during nail trimming and even learn to enjoy this grooming routine. 

However, if your pup shows signs of severe anxiety or extreme fear, including panting, drooling, trembling, snapping, or growling, you should consult your vet to see what your best options would be. Your vet may find that your dog needs a calming aid to keep their anxiety levels under control and help you get a chance to trim their nails. 

FAQs About How To Trim A Scared Dog’s Nails

How Can I Calm My Dog To Trim Their Nails?

Try to calm your dog by talking to them using a calm and soothing voice, and giving them praise and rewards. But, if your dog seems way too anxious or nervous about having their nails trimmed, you should talk with your vet about using a calming medicine.

Most dogs react well to Benadryl, a mild antihistamine sedative that can help keep your dog calm in extremely stressful situations such as nail trimming. You can also try melatonin supplements or a natural calming aid, and talk with your vet about the safest option for your pooch.

We recently put together a blog post that included natural calming aid remedies for dog anxiety that you might find helpful.

How Do You Cut An Uncooperative Dog’s Long Nails?

If you have an uncooperative dog, start by holding their paw gently but firmly and place the clippers at a 24-degree angle from the nail.

Squeeze the nail clippers and only cut tiny pieces of your dog’s nails to not traumatize them any further.

When you notice a small, white-greyish dot in the middle of your dog’s nail, stop clipping since that is your pup’s quick. 


Clipping a dog’s nails is rarely an easy task, but it can be almost impossible and overly dramatic if your dog is nervous.

If your pup’s nails are clicking on the floor and becoming way too long for their comfort, you probably want to know how to trim a scared dog’s nails. 

Here are a few things you can do:

  • Train your dog to feel comfortable in the presence of nail clippers
  • Don’t cut too much, too soon, to avoid injuring the quick
  • Consider calming meds and natural calming remedies to soothe your dog’s anxiety

Do you trim your dog’s nails?

Tell us about your experiences in the comment section below.

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My Dog Is Scared of Clippers!? How Do I Clip His Nails? Yellow Lab lying on grass getting nails clipped.My Dog Is Scared of Clippers!? How Do I Clip His Nails?

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    We Like: Wellness Soft Puppy Bites – One of our favorite treats for training our service dog puppies.
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For a list of all the supplies we get for our new service dog puppies check out our New Puppy Checklist on the blog.

How To Clip A Dog’s Nails When The Dog Is Scared Of Clippers was last modified: April 25th, 2021 by LTHQ

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Dog Training and Behavior

My Dog’s Reactive! What Should I Do?



my dog’s reactive! what should i do?

This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

So your dog goes ballistic when he sees a dog walking on leash a block away. He barks, whines, and lunges as if he was Cujo.

Your Max is usually such a sweet dog at home.

You’re embarrassed and don’t know what to do. Don’t feel bad. Some great dogs are also reactive.

One of my rescues, a Lhasa apso named Mikey, was one of the most reactive dogs I’ve ever seen.

He was the poster dog for reactivity.

He would bark and lunge in a very menacing way when he saw another dog. 

Mikey was a stray found on the streets. He had bite wounds and apparently a very rough life.

He was the cutest, spunkiest, black-and-white ball of fur. 

As a dog trainer and behavior specialist, I wanted to help him live a happy life. 

But I realized that it would take a lot of time and patience to see any progress.

And so our adventure began.

In this article, for simplicity I am using reactivity to another dog as an example. But the same techniques can be used for other things that your dog is reactive to, such as people. 

I am dealing with leash reactivity in this article. 

Dogs may be reactive at home too. Some dogs bark out the window when they see someone.

We call it the “mailman syndrome” because the person goes about his/her business. But your dog thinks that his barking sent the person away.

Again, as in every situation, manage it. Block your dog’s view. If your dog’s reactive to noises, play soft music or a television to block the sound. Or close the window.

And dogs who are reactive in their yards shouldn’t be left alone to practice their reactivity. Do the exercises below, then, when he’s ready, practice them in your yard.

So, first identify what your dog’s triggers are. Then, you can work with him.

Contents & Quick Navigation

What Is Reactivity?

Reactive dogs overreact to certain stimuli or situations. They respond to stimuli in a higher-than-normal level of intensity.

Some may react adversely to men or women or dogs. Or they may react to very specific things such as men with beards or women with hats. Others react to cars driving by or a bike passing by.

Each dog’s an individual.

Reactive dogs may demonstrate the following characteristics: 

  • Hypervigilence (a high state of alertness)
  • Restlessness (pacing)
  • Vocalization (barking, howling, whining)
  • Systemic effects (urinating, defecating, vomiting)
  • Displacement or stereotypic behavior (spinning, tail or shadow chasing)

I’ve successfully worked with many reactive dogs over the years. I’ve even conducted classes for reactive dogs for a local shelter. 

Reactive dogs are anxious, stressed dogs in the situations in which they’re reactive.

Signs of an Anxious, Stressed Dog

A dog that’s reactive is usually very anxious and stressed. He may show the following signs: 

Yawning when not tired: shedding dandruff; lip licking; tail tucked under body; leaving paw prints when it’s not hot; drooling; and sudden scratching.

A stressed dog that’s highly aroused by a stimuli or situation may show the following body language: 

Whale eye (whites of eyes showing); intense stare; tense/stiff body leaning forward; tail held high with a slow wag; raised hackles (hair on back of neck/shoulders); straining on leash/lunging; and ignoring redirection

What Causes Reactivity?

Generally, reactivity is fear-based. The dog is put in an environment where he’s scared.

Many things may cause a dog to be reactive. His genetic make-up may play a part. He may not have been properly socialized.

Or he may not have been sufficiently trained to have impulse control. He may even have had a frightening experience.

Any of these–or any combination–may cause reactivity.

With my rescue Mikey, it was obvious he had been attacked by or in a fight with dogs by the various wounds on his body. 

All he had to do was see a dog and he barked and strained at his leash.

The first few months with him weren’t easy. But he was worth it.

What Dogs Are Likely To Be Reactive?

Any dog can be reactive. But some breeds and mixes are more likely to be.

This is usually because of the job that they were bred to do.

Herding dogs are often reactive to moving objects. They may bark and lunge when a person on a bike passes by.

Or go ballistic when a car or motorcycle or jogger zooms past them. 

Shelties, border collies, German shepherds, and Australian shepherds are some popular examples. Their herding instinct makes them want to chase moving objects.

Working breeds such as boxers, doberman pinschers, and rottweilers also tend to be reactive with new things. They were bred to be watchdogs and family guardians.

Terriers can also tend to be more reactive than some other breeds. 

Scotties, for example, were bred to hunt and they make excellent watchdogs and, in the breed standard, they are known to be cantankerous towards other dogs. 

Westies also tend to chase after anything that moves.

So sometimes it’s truly in the genes. But that doesn’t mean the reactivity can’t be managed. 

I’ve had herding breeds for over 22 years.

Some have been obedience dogs, therapy dogs, and participated in other activities. 

Of course if I didn’t manage their innate predisposition to bark and chase things, there’s no way they could have participated in these activities.

And it would have been much more difficult for them (and for me) in everyday life.

Safety First

It’s important that everyone remain safe when working with a reactive dog. People and dogs should be at a distance that your dog cannot reach. 

Being too close passes the threshold of what your dog can handle.

Make sure that your dog can’t get out of his training equipment. I recommend a well-fitted harness that he can’t escape from.

If you feel that your dog can get out of the harness, try a different one. 

You can also use a double-leash system with one leash attached to the harness and another to a well-fitted Martingale collar from which dogs shouldn’t be able to get loose.

A leash with a tight collar conveys something’s wrong to a dog. This can set him off to be reactive.

When training a reactive dog, use a six-foot leash, keeping the dog close to you with slack so that the leash forms a “J.” 

Don’t use a flexi-leash or long-line. Your dog should never be able to rush another dog.

What Can You Do To Help Manage a Reactive Dog?

There are many things you can do to help your reactive dog make progress. 

First, his environment must be successfully managed.

For example, if you know he’s reactive to other dogs, you don’t want to take him to PetSmart on a Saturday afternoon where there will be a lot of canines.

Doing so will inevitably set back your behavior program and training. It will be too much stimulation for him.

1. Remain calm. 

I know that this is easier said than done. 

When I took Mikey out to walk him, I was always somewhat on edge about how he’d act when he saw a dog. 

But, as much as possible, I’d try to remain upbeat and calm. 

Dogs read our body language and scent; they can even sense our fear or     stress.

2. Train your dog. 

Training can not only get verbal control of your dog, it can also give him confidence.

It teaches him what’s expected and can give him something to focus on rather than being reactive to the environment.

You can teach him to look at you on command to redirect him away from what he’ll be reactive to.

Mikey developed a default behavior to look at me, which I rewarded.

Your pup can learn to sit on command to help get some impulse control.

3. Keep your dog under threshold. 

This just means not overstimulating him with things that he can’t handle.

Generally, this is done by keeping a safe distance from what he’s reactive to.

So if he’s reactive to moving cars or dogs, you want to stay at a distance at which he’s not reactive. 

This varies by dog. Some dogs can be fine at 20 feet away, but not at 19. 

When I first adopted Mikey, he couldn’t see a dog at even 60 feet away. He would bark and lunge at the dog even when the other dog was nonreactive.

I learned to work with him at his pace and what he could handle and wasn’t triggered.

4. Do science-based behavioral work. 

In classical conditioning, the appearance of another dog means food appears. So, when he sees a dog, give your pup high-value treats. 

This is what you’ll do in the beginning. 

PRO-TRAINER TIP: Use extremely high-value treats. For this work, you want to use something that your dog loves–not just his kibble. It should be a treat that he gets only for this. Some suggestions are: cheese, hot dogs, chicken, or Happy Howie’s meat roll. Cut up the treat in small, pea-sized pieces. Make sure that what you use is something that your dog’s stomach tolerates.

In operant conditioning, the dog learns that the appearance of another dog  means great treats will be given.

He learns to feel relaxed rather than tense what the other canine appears. He’ll learn to look to his owner for reinforcement rather than lunging at the other dog.

The dog performs the behavior of looking at the owner or away from the other dog without having any cue given by the owner.

The dog makes the choice to not react to the other dog and is reinforced for that behavior.

5. Do set-ups to work with the reactivity.

In the above method in #4, you can use a handler with a test dog. The handler with the other dog shouldn’t look at your dog and their dog must be nonreactive.

And, like all your training, the handler/test dog duo must be at a distance at which your dog isn’t reactive or stressed.

You can have them go in-sight, then out-of-sight.  When the duo is in sight and your dog is calm, you give him a series of treats until the duo goes out-of-sight.

Do this about three times during your session. You don’t want to over-do it and stress your dog.

Alternatively, you can have the duo in place and you and your dog go in-sight, out-of-sight. 

Of course, you give a stream of treats when the other dog is in sight and give no treats when the other dog’s not in view.

How long should your dog be able to view the other dog? It depends on your dog. You want to end the session before your dog shows any stress signals. 

Generally, it should be no longer than a minute or so.

Once your dog understands he gets treats when a dog appears and he’s not reactive, you can add the cue, saying in a happy tone “where’s the dog?” when the dog appears.

What if you don’t have someone with a nonreactive dog to practice? I’ve used pet shop parking lots.

I’ve stayed at a distance where my dog isn’t triggered as dogs exited the store or their cars.

Of course, do this for only a short time with a few dogs coming and going.

6. Make a u-turn. 

Life happens. So I teach clients to train their dog to make a u-turn and walk 180-degrees away from a trigger. 

A person walking a dog suddenly appears around the corner. That’s when you make the about turn.

Train it without distractions before you need to use it. Walk straight, then have a treat lure in the hand next to your dog as you make the u-turn. 

Also give the cue “turn” simultaneously. Practice a few times per session.

After practicing this with your dog without any distractions, then you can use it in real-life situations.

7. Redirect your dog to something else. 

Train the following exercises without distractions so that you can use them when there are distractions.

Teach your dog to redirect to a game. Have a favorite toy and throw it right in front of him (not too far so that it’s well within the range of his leash).

Tell him “get it” and play with him with it.  After he understands the game, you can use it on his walks.

Another useful game is to have about five high-value treats in your hand and throw them down, telling your dog to “find it.” 

This engages his natural scent ability. 

Most dogs love this. Play this game without distractions. 

Once he understands it, he’ll look down to the ground upon your “find it” cue, looking for his treats when a dog suddenly appears in the distance.

These redirection exercises help your dog focus on something else. 

They also make him more relaxed, which helps because reactivity is usually caused by stress.

8. Teach a “settle” command. 

This is a great impulse control exercise. It teaches a dog to calm down on cue.

Granted, most reactive dogs won’t be able to do this with distractions in the beginning. But, after doing some of the exercises above, they often are.

Always start training in a calm atmosphere without distractions. Add distractions only as fast as your dog can handle them. 

There’s no cookie-cutter approach.

They need to learn that they are safe when they’re with you. 

Check out how we teach our dogs the settle command.

9. Teach a “place” command. 

Teach your dog to go to a place like a mat or bed, Then teach him to settle on the mat as described in #8 above. 

Although this is a command that you’ll probably only use inside or not far outside your house, it’s very important for impulse control.

Training exercises in which your dog learns impulse control will help him in other situations.

Check out how we teach our dogs the “place” command.

10. Exercise your dog. 

A dog who receives a sufficient amount of physical and mental exercise is less likely to be reactive.

It’s difficult when you have a leash reactive dog.

Try playing fetch or other games at home before your walk. Have him play with puzzle toys.

The more stress relief he has prior to the walk should help him.

Is It Aggression or Reactivity?

Both may stem from fear, anxiety, or stress. A reactive dog may become aggressive but not all reactive dogs are aggressive.

A reactive dog may become aggressive if pushed too far. 

As indicated above, there are certain stress signals that a reactive dog will send. 

An aggressive dog will escalate those behaviors. In the spectrum of fight or flight, the aggressive dog will fight.

He may: have a stiffened body; lip licking; muzzle punches (pokes with a closed muzzle); snap; or bite.

A good example of a reactive dog who wasn’t aggressive is my Lhasa Mikey. He had all of the posturing. 

But one time a beagle got off his leash and ran at us. Before I could pick him up, Mikey hid behind my legs.

Luckily, the beagle was very friendly and nothing happened. But Mikey then–and at other times–never followed through with his warnings.

Rule Out Medical Causes

Sometimes there are medical reasons for the dog’s stress and anxiety. A full physical should be conducted and any tests run, like a full thyroid panel, that your vet recommends. 

If there’s a medical reason for your dog’s reactivity, you won’t be totally successful in your behavior modification and training program unless that’s treated.

Get Help If You Need It

If you feel overwhelmed or if you haven’t seen progress, I recommend getting professional assistance. The same is true if you’ve seen any aggression.

A veterinary behaviorist or positive reinforcement trainer who has a successful record with reactivity and aggression issues can help.

Don’t Try This at Home: What NOT To Do

There are some things that you shouldn’t do. They can make the problem worse–much worse.

Don’t punish your dog. 

Doing so will make him more stressed and more reactive. 

And suppressing his reactive behavior may lead to him being aggressive and biting someone seemingly without warning. He may feel he has no choice.

Don’t let others ruin your training program. 

Be your dog’s protector and advocate. As much as possible, don’t let dogs or people (if that’s his issue) greet your dog unless you invite them.

And don’t feel obligated to let someone say “hello” to your dog. Depending on your dog, he may never greet dogs or other people face-to-face.

We have to respect what our dogs can handle.

Move at his speed.

Final Thoughts

If you have a reactive dog, don’t despair. Help is available. 

Many reactive dogs’ behavior can be very successfully managed to the point where a casual observer wouldn’t even know he has an issue.

Believe it or not, my reactive dog Mikey got to the point that I could take him places and he was a different dog. 

He went to obedience classes and learned to ignore other dogs.

I even showed him in obedience and he was a top Lhasa. 

Of course it took a lot of patience, work, and time. But it was worth it.

Have you had a reactive dog?

If so, please tell us what you did to help him in the comment section below.

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My Dog Is Reactive! What Should I Do - Yellow Labrador Retriever growling

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    We Like: Wellness Soft Puppy Bites – One of our favorite treats for training our service dog puppies.
    We Like: The Farmer’s Dog – A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer’s Dog.

For a list of all the supplies we get for our new service dog puppies check out our New Puppy Checklist on the blog.


CPDT-KA, Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Behavior Specialist. Winner Channel 17’s Philly Hot List #1 Dog Trainer. Debbie has been training dogs for over 24 years and has nationally ranked obedience and rally dogs, agility dogs, trick dogs, and therapy dogs.


My Dog’s Reactive! What Should I Do? was last modified: May 10th, 2021 by Debbie

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Dog Training and Behavior

My Puppy Keeps On Peeing Inside After Being Outside – WHY?!



my puppy keeps on peeing inside after being outside –

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If you just started to house train your new puppy, you are prepared for accidents to happen. But, the thing no one warns you about is that your pup will pee outside and then go inside and pee again! What’s that about, and is it normal if a puppy keeps peeing inside after being outside?

The first time my puppy did that, I was completely baffled by his behavior. We had just come back inside from a successful potty, and as soon as he was off leash he squatted and peed again in the middle of the carpet. And let me tell you, cleaning up urine stains from a white carpet is even harder than it may seem!

PRO TIP: you’ll want to use and enzymatic cleaner when cleaning up potty messes. Our favorite is Rocco & Roxie’s Stain And Odor Remover.

Needless to say, the whole experience left me extremely frustrated, and I was worried that my pup would form a habit of peeing inside the house.

As someone who is obsessed with cleanliness, I decided then and there that I couldn’t live in a home that smells of puppy pee. Armed with enzymatic cleaners and potty training guides, I was determined to nip this problem in the bud!

In this article, I’ll tell you why your puppy pees inside after going outside and what you can do to stop it from happening. Keep on reading to learn more!

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Why Does My Puppy Pee Inside After Going Outside? 

If you are in the process of potty training your puppy, certain behaviors such as peeing inside the house after being outside will leave you scratching your head. The first thing you will ask yourself is “why?” 

I know I wondered why my puppy was doing this and whether this was some sort of revenge. But if that were the case, what did I do wrong to deserve this?

Knowing what I know now, I realize how silly I was being—my pup wasn’t on some bizarre revenge quest or trying to make my life miserable. As it turned out, he had an actual medical problem, which I’ll tell you about in a bit. 

The only way you will ever resolve inappropriate urination is to figure out why your puppy keeps on peeing inside after being outside. Once you identify the reason behind this behavior, you will know what to do to stop your pup from peeing inside the house. 

Below, I’ll list the most common reasons puppies may pee inside after being outside on a regular walk.

1. Your Puppy Has A Medical Condition

Puppies, like older dogs, can unfortunately develop all sorts of diseases and infections that can cause increased urination. There is no point questioning or changing your puppy’s training routine if the answer to your problem is as simple as a prescription for antibiotics. 

A lot of different medical conditions can cause a puppy to repeatedly squat and pee inside the house after peeing outside. The most common one is a urinary tract infection, which was exactly the problem my puppy had.

If your puppy pees inside the house after being outside and is also only releasing a few drops of pee, they may have a urinary infection.

Furthermore, other medical conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease can also cause your pup to urinate frequently. Your pup may also obsessively lick its genital area, drink more water, and ask to go outside repeatedly.

Even if your puppy isn’t exhibiting any of these other behaviors, you should take them to the veterinarian. Inappropriate peeing in itself can be a sign that your pooch has a health problem. 

Your vet will most likely take a urine sample from your pup and do a urinalysis and probably a urine culture. These tests will show if your pup has bacteria and abnormal cells in its urine. If the tests confirm a urinary tract infection, your vet will prescribe antibiotics that will kill all the bacteria that are causing your pooch to frequently pee inside the house. 

However, if it turns out that your puppy doesn’t have urinary issues, your vet may want to do additional tests to rule out other conditions that can cause inappropriate urination. These tests will depend on your pup’s other potential symptoms, and the treatment will be determined based on a diagnosis. 

2. Your Puppy Isn’t Completely Potty Trained Yet

Another reason your puppy pees inside after going outside is that they aren’t entirely potty trained yet. It’s not uncommon for first-time owners to think their puppy is completely house trained just because a few days have gone by without peeing accidents. 

Naturally, you start to relax, giving your puppy more alone time inside the house, when all of a sudden you come across a puddle on the floor. And because you believe that your pup is already potty trained, you fail to consider the alternative. 

House training a puppy won’t happen overnight—it takes a lot of time, patience, and consistency to properly potty train a dog. Generally, it’s safe to say that your pooch is potty trained only if they haven’t had an accident in the past six months. Anything less and you will be lying to yourself and expecting too much from your pup way too soon. 

In the light of things, be honest: Is your puppy really potty trained or not? If the answer is no, don’t worry! Start or continue house training your puppy as you did before, and don’t expect a miracle to happen in a day, a week, or a month. 

No dog was potty trained in one day, and it’s unrealistic to expect that from your pup, no matter how smart they are. If you’re struggling with house training and don’t know how many times a day a puppy should poop and pee, take them out on a leash every hour. When they go potty, praise and reward copiously.

However, if your pup doesn’t do anything while outside, take them back in and keep them on a leash close to you, to prevent accidents. Take your pup for another potty break in 20 to 30 minutes, and if they go that time, praise, reward, and repeat. 

As time goes by, you will be able to prolong the time between potty breaks and eventually train your pooch to hold it until it’s time for a walk. 

3. Your Puppy Isn’t Emptying Its Bladder Completely While Outside

Being outside is extremely exciting for puppies, especially first thing in the morning. Your pup may be too eager to see you and spend time with you outside that it fails to completely empty its bladder in the first go.

Some puppies also get so overstimulated or distracted by all the smells and sounds while in the backyard that they forget why they came out in the first place. 

In this case, the puppy will remember that they have unfinished business only after they come back inside the house. If your puppy quickly pees while outside and then comes inside and pees again, you may be dealing with an overly excitable pup. 

For an easily excitable puppy, staying outside a bit longer and giving your pooch extra time to potty should do the trick. Staying out a few minutes longer will give you a good idea of whether or not your puppy needs to pee more. Some pups may even pee three or four times when given the opportunity.

Another thing that helps with easily distracted puppies that forget that they need to pee is training them to go in a designated potty area. This means you will have to pick a spot in your backyard that will serve only for peeing and pooping. 

Taking your pup day in and day out to the same spot may be boring, but it will teach them to focus on the task at hand. To encourage your pup to empty their bladder completely, just walk around the designated potty area in small circles that will discourage sniffing and exploring. After your puppy pees, you should praise them and offer treats.

If you have a completely fenced-in yard, you can let your puppy off-leash after they finish peeing completely. This way, you are teaching your pup that they will earn some fun time to sniff around and explore only after going potty. And by going to pee in the same area day after day, your pup will be able to focus on peeing rather than be distracted by all the fun things in the yard. 

4. You’re Praising And Rewarding Your Puppy Too Soon

Picture this: You’re outside and your pup just started peeing in their designated potty area. You’re so over the moon about your pup’s accomplishment that you start doling out treats too soon, distracting your puppy and interrupting the urine flow. Now you have a puppy with a half-full bladder and a tummy full of treats!

So once you go back inside, your pup will remember that they still need to pee and finish the job on your brand new carpet. If your puppy pees after going outside or is coming back to you excited after releasing a few drops, you might be an untimely reward-giver. 

Even if you have just realized the error of your ways, don’t despair! Just start waiting until your pup finishes peeing before offering praise and treats. And if your pup stops mid-pee and turns to you for a reward, don’t give any treats or praise until they pee again.

Dole out rewards only after you are certain that your puppy has emptied its bladder completely.

5. Your Pup Still Doesn’t Have Full Bladder Control

If your puppy will only pee inside the house, you need to remember that young pups don’t have complete control over their bladder. Most puppies aren’t able to hold it until they are about 4-6 months old, and this is the time most accidents happen. 

You should also monitor your pup’s water intake, since everything that goes into your puppy must come out at some point.

If your puppy drank too much water, they will have a much stronger urge to pee and may not be able to completely empty their bladder in one go. In that case, your pup will pee outside and then go back inside only to realize that they need to pee again. 

Keep in mind that puppies tend to drink the most in the morning, after waking up, after eating kibble, and after playing. That means that your pup is more likely to have an accident inside the house after these situations.

So, to prevent inappropriate urination, be one step ahead and take your puppy out for a walk first thing in the morning, after a meal, and after an exciting playing session. 

Don’t forget to give your pooch a chance to empty their bladder fully while out, even if that means prolonging the potty break for a few minutes. Also, always reward your pup for a job well done before heading back inside. 

FAQs About A Puppy Peeing Inside

What do you do when you catch your puppy peeing indoors?

Whenever you catch your puppy peeing inside, interrupt them right away and, using a firm voice, tell your pup “NO.” Then, pick up your pooch and take them outside to their designated potty area. Tell your puppy to go pee, or use your cue word for elimination, and then praise and reward your pup after they finish peeing in the proper place. 

Make sure that your puppy has fully emptied its bladder before you start praising them and giving treats. Don’t yell, scold, or punish your puppy for peeing inside the house! Rubbing your pup’s nose in the urine puddle won’t work either, so don’t do it, no matter how frustrated you are. 

Why does my puppy refuse to go potty outside?

Fear and anxiety are the most common reasons why a puppy refuses to urinate outside and continues to have accidents inside the house. There is a chance that your pup had a bad experience while being outside on a potty break and is now scared of reliving the same bad thing.

To get your puppy to pee outside comfortably, consider whether there is anything that may be stressing your dog out and causing it to be afraid. Are there any loud sounds such as a lawnmower or construction site nearby? Unfamiliar smells left by other dogs or leftover holiday decorations can also be the things that are making your pup nervous to pee outside. 

How long should you wait outside for your puppy to pee?

You should give your puppy 15 minutes to go potty outside. Take your pup to their designated potty area and give them the cue to pee. If you think that your pooch hasn’t emptied their bladder completely, walk around the potty area and give them a chance to eliminate again.

After you are sure that your pooch has finished peeing, praise and reward them and spend a few minutes playing in the yard. However, if your pup doesn’t pee within 15 minutes, take them back inside, put him in his crate, and wait around 15 min before taking them outside for potty again. 

How do you train a stubborn puppy to pee outside?

Although it might seem impossible, even stubborn puppies can be potty trained to pee outside. Keep in mind, it takes up to six months to properly house train a puppy, so stick to training and stay patient and consistent. You’ll also need to put your puppy on a regular feeding schedule, so they will eliminate at the same time every day. 

Don’t forget, puppies have small bladders and poor bladder control, so you will need to take them out to pee every two hours in the beginning. As your pup grows and develops bladder control, they will need fewer potty breaks. 

What is the hardest dog to potty train?

Small dog breeds, especially those from the terrier group, can be exceptionally hard to potty train. Jack Russel terriers and Yorkshire terriers are notoriously hard to house train due to their stubborn nature and the fact that they are easily distracted. 

If you have trouble potty training your small pup, set up a designated potty spot in your backyard. Make sure there isn’t anything that can distract your dog from the task at hand, and reward and praise them extensively after they pee in the right spot. 


As you can see, there are many reasons why your puppy keeps on peeing inside the house after being outside.

While your pup’s accidents may seem like some type of revenge, there are many factors—some medical, some behavioral, and some training-related—that can cause your pup to pee inside the house. The most likely reasons for your pup’s peeing accidents are:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • The puppy isn’t properly house trained
  • Your pup is easily excited and forgets to empty its bladder completely

In the end, figuring out why your puppy is peeing inside after being outside is the only way you will deal with inappropriate urination and stop cleaning pee puddles once and for all!

Is your puppy having potty training problems?

If so, tell ask us questions or leave us a comment below.

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My Puppy Pees Outside then Inside? What Should I Do? - White fluffy pupy peeing on the floor.

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For a list of all the supplies we get for our new service dog puppies check out our New Puppy Checklist on the blog.

My Puppy Keeps On Peeing Inside After Being Outside – WHY?! was last modified: May 9th, 2021 by LTHQ

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Dog Training and Behavior

Cesar Millan's Tips On An Overly Aggressive Dog #CesarSOS



cesar millan's tips on an overly aggressive dog #cesarsos

Cesar gets a request to help a very aggressive terrier pup. Every time the owner lets him out of his kennel he goes straight to attack their other dog.

Cesar provides tips and suggestions for this pup with so much energy to challenge him mentally and physically. Presenting specific activities and other ways to connect and engage with this pup.


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