When your dog has to ‘go’ but you just want to go to sleep

Keeping yourself entertained during a turtle-slow walk

Photo credit: Ketut Subiyanto/Unsplash

You bury your head under a pillow and roll your body into a blanket, hoping your dog will magically stop whining. You’re fully aware it’s not going to happen, and you dread looking at the alarm clock because you know it’s either a ridiculously early hour or crazy late at night. But if you don’t get up and walk your dog, or take her out for a potty break, you’re going to deal with it one way or the other. No matter how well your dog is trained, you will have these moments.

Unlike kids, who will eventually reach an age where they don’t need you at all to use the bathroom, dogs always will — whether it’s opening the backyard door or physically walking around outside. Maybe you’ve gotten hip to the potty game and have a flap door, but I’ve even seen this work against one particular dog who I dog sat. He would go out of the doggy door but was too frightened to run back in and would whine from downstairs until someone held the doggy door up for him to jump into.

Recommended Read: “Why are some women choosing not to be mothers? ~ Eight responses for opting out of motherhood

Here are a few tips to understand why your dog may be moving just a wee bit too slow for you. First hint: She’s not human, never has been and never will be. So get over the idea that your “fur baby” will operate like a human baby and “go” immediately every single time.

Photo credit: David Clarke/Unsplash

Before you adopt or own a dog, you might want to try being a dog walker first (or a dog caregiver) for an extended period of time. This will help you understand the responsibility of having a dog for the long haul (with the perk of no vet bills). Walk dogs of various shapes and sizes if you really don’t have an idea of what breed you’re most interested in. And get used to hunting dogs who speed around the block and will help you reach your 10,000 Fitbit steps from a morning walk alone, along with the slow cruisers who want to shove their noses in every single plant, flower or piece of litter they can find. Doing this helps you become familiar with a variety of dog walking behavior, as well as whether you’re equipped for those late-night potty visits.

According to the American Kennel Club, there’s a method to your dog’s potty walking madness:

  • Dogs use their urine to signal their presence to other dogs.
  • Smelling other dogs’ urine tells a dog all about the other local canines, including gender, age and health.
  • Dogs don’t want to just pee and poop anywhere; they want to leave a fresh deposit on top. AKC compares it to human graffiti.
  • Male dogs specifically lift their back leg as high as possible to get their urine up to the nose level of other dogs.
  • Dogs scratch the ground with their feet to further emphasize their signal. Special glands between their toes leave extra scents on the ground as they scratch, adding even more impact to the scent mark.

So knowing there is a science to how, when and why they “go” where they do means dog owners have to have a certain level of patience. The dog who whines or barks at the door to go outside will probably be frustrating if he doesn’t immediately do the deed as soon as you open the door. But she’s trying.

Considering dogs have 300 million scent receptors in their noses (while human beings have 5–6 million), pulling your dog away from an intriguing scent will blow the walk for her altogether. I, as a dog walker, think the fun in the walk is walking. Some dogs agree; others do not. Some dogs move like fitness instructors, do the deed and are on their way. Others move like bird watchers, just strolling along and sizing up everything.

Recommended Read: “My grandfather is not the only black birdwatcher I know of — anymore ~ Christian Cooper and Black Birders Week prove there are more

Shamontiel is a dog lover to her core: 472 completed walks with 77 dogs, eight dog-housesittings and six dog boardings at the time of this publication. Would you like to receive Shamontiel’s Weekly Newsletter via MailChimp? Sign up today!

Doggone World

For dog lovers, dog walkers and dog owners.

Shamontiel L. Vaughn

Written by

Check out her six Medium pubs: BlackTechLogy, Doggone World, Homegrown, I Do See Color, Tickled and We Need to Talk. Visit Shamontiel.com to read about her.

Doggone World

Let’s discuss all bark-related, (mostly) feel-good content for dog lovers, dog walkers and dog owners.

Shamontiel L. Vaughn

Written by

Check out her six Medium pubs: BlackTechLogy, Doggone World, Homegrown, I Do See Color, Tickled and We Need to Talk. Visit Shamontiel.com to read about her.

Doggone World

Let’s discuss all bark-related, (mostly) feel-good content for dog lovers, dog walkers and dog owners.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store