My puppy seems to HATE going outside. We
live in Chicago and it is currently winter and very cold with some days of intense snow... and I have a
hard time getting him to go outside to relieve himself. I am also in the
process of trying to housebreak him ... any suggestions?
Some puppies and dogs love the cold, especially being able to run through the snow. Other puppies or dog avoid it at all costs. In general, with Boxer dogs and cold weather, you need to keep an eye on the time that they are exposed. With Boxers in snow, this can cause additional obstacles and possible health concerns if they stay outside too long. In your case, obviously, we need to work on getting him outside in this weather so that he can do the deed.
Owners of small breeds dogs have a good alternative; they can train their tiny dog to use a litter box or pee pads. However, this is not applicable to the Boxer. If you try to train a young pup to use pads indoors during cold weather, you will end up with a large adult dog that expects to go to the bathroom inside... Not what most owners want.
There are some ways that you can make going out into the cold more comfortable for your puppyand help train your Boxer to go outside in the cold for housebreaking:
Put a doggie sweater on your puppy. Clothes for dogs is not just a method of making a dog look "cute". Dog clothes really do protect a dog, especially a puppy from the harsh elements outside and a doggie sweater will certainly help keep you pup warmer. When you Boxer is lead outside with a doggie sweater on, and realizes that the cold air is not biting at him, he will be more prone to actually enjoy being outside, exploring around a bit and relieving himself.
You may also want to consider doggie boots. Again, these are not just a way of "dressing up a dog". A dog's paw is made of skin. While it is thick skin, it is still skin. It is a very huge misconception that a dog's paw can handle any surfaces. A puppy will feel the cold on his paws. Protecting those puppy paws with boots or dog shoes will allow your Boxer to walk around in comfort and not feel the discomfort of the near freezing temperatures. When humans go outside in the winter, we do not just wear shoes, we wear 2 layers of socks and heavy snow boot; therefore a Boxer puppy or dog needs at least a bit of protection aside from the thicker skin of their paw.
Keep an eye out for salt. The salt that is commonly put down on ice and snow can cause great discomfort for a dog. It can not only sting when a dog steps on it, but the salt can often cause quite a bit of irritation if a pup stands on it for too long of a time. Try to bring your Boxer to an area that does not have any salt.
If it has snowed, be sure to shovel a good sized path to a good sized area in which your dog may eliminate. Dogs do not like having a very small area. They like to be able to choose "just the right spot". Providing a well shoveled, good sized area will allow your Boxer to feel as if they have enough room to roam, find the right spot and then eliminate.
Once making the above changes, each and every time that your dog goes outside with you and handles it well...be sure to give a ton of praise when he is outside and when he is done can comes back in. Offer excited, happy words, pats, kisses and a yummy dog treat.
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