Why Does My Dog Keep Asking To Go Outside? (Trainer Explains)

Why Does My Dog Keep Asking To Go Outside

It is no secret that fun things happen outside. Whether it is walks, visiting other dogs, chasing wild critters, or receiving rewards from you in the form of treats or a game of fetch, the indoors seem quite boring compared to the great outdoors.

However, when your dog is excessively asking to go outside it can become an annoying habit. Unless they are having a bathroom emergency, begging to go outside by barking, whining, or scratching a door can be frustrating when you are ready for downtime. Moreover, trying to go outside by dashing through an open door can be downright dangerous.

So why does your dog keep asking to go outside?

Your dog keeps asking to go outside when they need to use the bathroom, are bored, want to play, are territorial, or prefer being outside. Alternatively, your dog might lack training or has been accidentally reinforced to beg to go outside. Dogs who beg to go outside probably associate outside with good experiences. 

Dogs who keep asking to go outside can be annoying, but there is probably a reason they are trying to go outside. Let’s determine why your dog specifically wants to go outside and what you can do to help change their demanding behavior. We will also look at when begging to go outside might be a sign of illness and why trying to go outside might be a safety concern.

Why Does My Dog Keep Begging To Go Outside?

There are always exceptions (take a look at these dogs that make great apartment dogs), but most dogs seem to love being outside. Who can blame them, there are lots of interesting smells outside, things and people to bark at, fun games like fetch, and training rewards.

It is no wonder some dogs develop irritating behaviors like trying to go outside every chance they get. And while begging to go outside by barking can be an annoying habit, trying to sneak through the door to get outside can be perilous. So let’s try to understand why your dog could be begging and trying to go outside all the time.

Reason 1. Your Dog Needs To Go To The Bathroom

Dogs usually poop once or twice a day, maybe more if they are puppies or especially active. Healthy adult dogs usually can wait 8 hours or so between bathroom breaks, but older dogs and puppies usually have to pee more often.

So if your older dog or puppy keeps trying to go outside, they might need to go to the bathroom. Because well-trained dogs usually do not like to suddenly poop in the house, they will keep trying to go outside.

Additionally, some dogs are not begging to go outside to relieve themselves but to mark. While some dogs enjoy marking more than others, excessive pooping and peeing might be a sign of a health issue.

Hopefully begging to go outside to use the bathroom is not a chronic health issue but just a quick stomach bug, but we will discuss if you should be worried later.

Reason 2. Your Dog Is Bored And Wants To Play

What sounds more exciting, staying inside and watching you watch TV or going outside and running outside and stretching your legs? Your dog probably prefers the latter. Once get outside they might zoom around, running, playing, and enjoying life.

Dogs will react to boredom differently depending on their personalities. Some get the zoomies, some suddenly become destructive, while others might get into the trash. Meanwhile, dogs that love being outside might beg to outside when they are bored and want to play.

So if your dog keeps trying to go outside, they might be bored and want to play. This is especially true if more fun things happen outside than inside. Fun things outside might include chasing squirrels, barking at deer, or playing fetch with you.

For example, when I scoop poop in my yard, I kick my border collie’s soccer ball. It is a mundane chore for me, but my border collie loves it and asks to go outside to play when she is bored. 

Reason 3. Your Dog Lacks Training

There is a chance that your dog keeps trying to go outside because they lack training, especially door dashers like the husky in this video. He clearly love the delivery man but not every dog is as tolerant of strangers. 

In the dog training world, impulse control means that dogs have control over their emotions and behaviors in different places and situations. Dogs that lack impulse control might bark at a stranger or ignore their recall if they see a critter they like to chase. Some breeds have worse impulse control than others, like these breeds that are not good off-leash.

It sounds like your dog that keeps trying to go outside by running through the door whenever you open it lacks training and impulse control. Consistently using positive reinforcement will help these dogs learn to respect boundaries such as an open door and to not ignore you outside.

Reason 4. Your Dog Has Been Reinforced To Go Outside

A properly house-trained dog will use a signal (bark, bell, staring at the door) to let you know when they need to use the bathroom. Being let outside is the first reward. The second reward is positively reinforcing your dog when they use the bathroom outside, probably with treats and verbal praise. A well-trained dog will even wake you up in the middle of the night when they have a bathroom emergency.

However, some dogs began to associate being outside with those wonderful rewards and keep asking to go outside because they have been reinforced. For example, people train their dogs to ring a bell to let them know when they need to go outside to use the bathroom.

Sometimes these dogs are too well-trained and will keep ringing the bell begging to go outside; hopefully, this Westie needs to go to the bathroom.

Being rewarded for going to the bathroom outside is not the only way to accidentally reinforce your dog to beg to go outside. Playing with them every time they go outside is another way to condition them to keep asking to go outside (kind of like my border collie and the soccer ball, whoops!). Whether you are playing fetch or keep-away, it sounds like being outside is much more rewarding than being inside.

Reason 5. Your Dog Prefers To Be Outside

Many dogs prefer to be outside. It might be their personality or their breed. For example, Huskies love cold weather and might keep trying to go outside in the winter. However, these cold-weather warriors will probably prefer to stay inside during hot weather. Meanwhile, sun-seekers like chihuahuas will probably beg to go outside in the summer.

Many independent dogs also prefer to be outside. Livestock guardian breeds like Great Pyrenees are known to beg to go outside because it is their nature to be outside all the time and protect their flock.

Historically these breeds were raised with livestock to develop the instinct to guard against predators like bears, wolves, and big cats. It is in their nature to be outside and they might keep asking to go outside.

So if your dog begs to go outside only to lay down in the sun, play in the snow, or do a perimeter check of the yard, they might simply prefer to be outside.

Reason 6. Your Dog Is Being Territorial

While some dogs welcome strangers with wagging tails, it is no secret that many dogs are not so welcoming and can be territorial towards strangers or beg to go outside to bark at bumps in the night.

Resource guarding is a behavioral issue where dogs guard toys, food, people, their bed, or their shelter. So dogs that are constantly begging to go outside to bark at people, dogs, cars, or other critters might be territorial and resource-guarding their house. It gives them control of the resources that are important to them.

Here is a video to help determine if your dog’s behavior is resource-guarding.

Therefore, dogs who are being territorial, protective, and resource-guarding might keep asking to go outside. Once outside, dogs like this will probably bark at animals or people who are walking near the yard.

Should I Be Worried That My Dog Keeps Trying To Go Outside?

If your dog is suddenly trying to go outside, most likely they are having bathroom issues. Sudden accidents or frequent outdoor potty trips might simply be the result of an upset stomach. Dogs often eat weird things that do not agree with them and beg to go outside so they do not have an accident in the house.

However, asking to go outside with constant diarrhea for multiple days is a sign of illness. They could have an infection, parasites, or other gastrointestinal issues like colitis. Please take your dog to the veterinarian when they have diarrhea, are lethargic, not eating or drinking, or throwing up.

Furthermore, begging frequent peeing could be a sign of a UTI. Urinary tract infections are fairly common in dogs. Besides frequent urinating, a dog suffering from a UTI might rub, strain, whine, and show pain while peeing.

Luckily UTIs are usually easily treated by a round of antibiotics prescribed by your veterinarian. However, more serious cases of UTI could be a sign of kidney or bladder issues, so always discuss any concerns with your veterinarian.

Finally, it is very dangerous to have a dog who door dashes, or runs out the door without permission. These dogs might take off chasing squirrels, deer, other dogs, or even people. They are also at risk of becoming lost or getting hit by a car.

For their safety and the safety of others, door dashers need training and to be physically blocked from dashing outside. Also, they need to be carefully monitored when they are let outside.

How Can I Change Their Behavior?

Begging to go outside can be an annoying habit some dogs develop. When they do not need to use the bathroom, it can be frustrating to keep taking them outside. It makes it hard to relax if your dog keeps asking to go outside because it is more fun, they have been rewarded, or because they are territorial.

Besides, it can be a dangerous habit. Especially if your dog becomes pushy and dashes through the door outside with no regard for their safety.

Luckily there are some training tips to help the bored, territorial, and outside-loving dogs who keep begging to go outside.

Impulse Control

Door-dashing dogs that keep trying to go outside need to learn impulse control. Most dogs are not born understanding impulse control or self-control. Besides trying to go outside, other examples of poor impulse control include counter-surfing, pulling on the leash, and jumping on people.

Basic impulse control behaviors to teach your dog include “leave it” and “wait.”

Leave-it means your dog will only get access to items that they are permitted to have. A dog with a good leave-it will listen whether it is a spilled bottle of medication or a squirrel they want to chase. Start small with low-value resources and help them generalize to more exciting items. Kikopup has a great video to get you started.

You should also start out small when training your dog to wait. Throwing open a door and yelling “WAIT!” will do nothing when your dog is begging to go outside. Instead, have your dog sit or lie down indoors, tell them “wait” and take one step back. When they do not move, reward them.

As your dog begins understanding the behavior you are asking of them, make the game harder. Take several more steps and do jumping jacks. Only when your dog has succeeded should you open the door, telling them to wait and then reward them with a release. For those naughty door dashers, you might consider putting on a leash for safety precautions.

Phase Out Training Rewards

If your dog is begging to go outside for the treats, it sounds like it is time to start phasing out training rewards. You should never punish a dog for pooping in the house, but you do not always have to reward them for using the bathroom outside once they understand the behavior. This will help shape your dog into only asking to go outside when they need to use the bathroom.

Positive reinforcement relies heavily on rewarding your dog with treats and praise for doing the desired behavior (like using the bathroom outside) but once your dog understands the behavior, you can phase out the treats.

With house-training, only treat them in decreasing intervals, until you do not treat them at all. Eventually, they will only ask to go outside when they need to use the bathroom, not because they want treats. 

However, I personally verbally praise my dogs when I see them use the bathroom outside, especially when we are traveling. Generalization can be difficult for dogs and I like to make things easier for them when there is a big change.

Inside Enrichment

Luckily, you can add playtime to your dog’s indoor life when they are bored and keep trying to go outside. You can practice obedience, play hide-n-seek, or have a good game of indoor fetch. By playing and training inside, you are making inside more exciting so your bored dog will not need to keep asking to go outside.

Adding enrichment to their meals is also a good way to curb doggy boredom. There are plenty of puzzle feeders and other enriching toys you can purchase at your favorite dog boutique, or you can try one of these DIY enrichment toys to help wear your dog out mentally and physically and stop them from constantly trying to go outside.


While it differs depending on their age or their breed, all dogs require some exercise. Your giant Saint Bernard probably only requires a stroll around the block. Meanwhile, your high-drive German Shepherd might like to go for a long run.

Whatever your dog’s exercise needs are, a well-exercised dog will be less likely to beg to go outside. They are tired and have had their physical needs met so they do not need to.

However, the benefits of exercise exceed simply being too tired to keep asking to go outside. It is good for dogs’ joint health, their weight, and is very mentally enriching. They get to see, smell, and explore all sorts of fun places with their favorite person.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes we think of bonding with our dog as indoor snuggles on the couch with lots of pets. However, dogs tend to build their relationship with you outside. It is more fun and interesting to be outside because there are treats, things to smell, games of fetch, walks, and squirrels to chase.

Dogs who get lots of reinforcement outside, whether it is treated for potty training or pulling on the leash to try to chase a deer, tend to keep asking to go outside when they do not even need to use the bathroom. These dogs are probably bored, lack training, or have been reinforced to beg to go outside.

Meanwhile, because of personality or breed, some dogs prefer to be outside. You would be surprised at the cold temperatures certain dogs can handle when they have traditionally lived outside. Although some of the love of the outdoors might stem from territorial behaviors or resource guarding the house and yard.

Nonetheless, with lots of impulse control training, indoor enrichment, and exercise, you can train your dog to be just as happy inside so they stop begging to go outside. Make being inside as fun as the outdoors so your dog does not need to keep asking to go outside but instead will enjoy staying inside for kisses and couch cuddles.

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