Dogs have plenty of nuances that can drive both new and seasoned dog owners a little crazy. When we set out to purchase a puppy or adopt a rescue dog into our homes, we typically have an idea of how we want things to go. 

We’ve acquired a dog bed, leash and collar, toys, and dishes. We’re spending time getting our home ready to welcome your new family member. Expectations tend to run a little high, but it’s important to remember that we need to prepare for anything. 

Dogs never operate under a particular set of rules. They each come with their own personality and preference, and while one may love to walk on grass, others might refuse to do it.

Why does my dog not walk on grass?

Whether you’re having issues with a new rescue dog, a puppy, or a dog you’ve had for years that suddenly decided to forego grass, a dog refusing to walk on grass can be incredibly frustrating. Not only is grass, well, everywhere, but it’s often essential to walk on it during the warmer months when the asphalt heats up. 

If you’re unsure why your dog is refusing to walk on grass, there are a few things to consider before you give up on him. 

Your dog hates the feeling of grass

Perhaps he’s been this way since he was a puppy, or it’s a disdain he’s recently developed, but it’s possible that your pup doesn’t like the way grass feels. You can take the time to work with him regarding the issue by helping him get used to the feeling of grass beneath his paws. 

If you have a backyard, start by taking little steps with him around the yard. Offer up plenty of treats in the process. Not only will snacks distract him from the discomfort the lawn causes, but they will help him build a positive correlation and see that the yard isn’t so bad at all! 

You have a long-time shelter pup

Dogs that spend a lot of time in a shelter don’t see the grass as often as others, and sometimes not at all. Even the most reputable animal shelters have concrete flooring and play areas because it’s easier to clean. 

It’s only natural that dogs who have spent a great deal of time playing on hard, non-pliable surfaces need some time to get used to romping (and going to the bathroom) on grass since it moves beneath them. Patience is the key here. 

The grass is wet

Dogs around the globe are regularly refusing to walk on wet grass, and who can blame them? It’s uncomfortable, usually cold, and dogs don’t have the protective footwear that humans can access. A dog not enjoying the wet grass is quite common, and we’ll discuss that in a little more detail now. 

Why does my dog not like wet grass?

As previously mentioned, wet grass can feel quite awful, primarily right after a mow. It sticks to your feet, it’s chilly, and it’s an overall unpleasant feeling for many dogs and people alike. 

Wet grass often means soaking wet paws. Most dogs don’t go to the bathroom the moment they step out of the house. They sniff, they wander, and they find the perfect spot to do their business. If the grass is wet (during or after a rainstorm), this can result in some dripping paws, and there are man dogs that would rather avoid that feeling. 

You can help your dog get used to wet grass in the same way that you’d help them get used to a dry lawn. Make a game out of it, provide plenty of treats and praise, and build up a positive association with the wet grass. 

Why is my dog suddenly afraid of the backyard?

Dogs do not typically become suddenly afraid of something unless they’ve had a negative or scary experience. If your dog is showing sudden fear of the backyard, something may have frightened them. 

Since dogs are so different, it could be anything ranging from a loud neighbor to a raccoon or thunderstorm. Take the time to investigate your backyard, and take note of any changes in the environment. Try to remember when your dog first developed a fear of the backyard, and if you can, put the puzzle pieces together from there. 

If you can’t pinpoint any reason in particular that your pup has a sudden fear of the backyard, spend some time with him out there. It never hurts to consult your vet as well, just to make sure there’s nothing medical going on that you could have missed. In the end, a trainer may be necessary to help your dog overcome his fear. 

Why won’t my dog pee in the grass?

Dogs can be particular when it comes to where they go to the bathroom, hence sniffing when they go on walks and hang out in the yard. If your dog doesn’t want to pee in the grass, there could be a few things holding him back, other than him simply not liking the way it feels on his paws. 

The grass doesn’t smell right

If you’re just beginning your journey together and your dog is living in a new place, or if you’ve recently moved, the grass might not smell familiar to your dog. Perhaps another dog lived in your home previously, or a wild animal is living too close to your home. 

Both of these scenarios could make your dog uncomfortable enough to refuse to use the grass. The situation will likely change over time as they become used to the surroundings and acclimate to sharing the yard with other creatures. 

You have a rescue dog

Again, many rescue dogs have trouble using the lawn as their primary potty location. Shelter dogs typically have a set schedule, and coming to live with you is likely to throw a wrench in that routine. 

If your new addition is used to peeing on concrete or walking at specific times during the day, it might take you a while to coax them into using the lawn. It would be best if you didn’t become frustrated with them. They’ll get used to their new home, and you’ll grow and bond together accordingly. 

How do I get my dog to like the grass more?

Helping your dog to enjoy the grass will take time and plenty of patience. While humans assume that going to the bathroom on the lawn should come naturally to a dog, sometimes, that isn’t the case. 

If you’re having trouble getting your pup to like the grass, you’ll want to get to the root of the problem before you start in with training. It’s crucial to understand why your dog is having issues walking and going to the bathroom on the grass. Once you’ve eliminated anything medical or scary situations that could be holding them back, you can begin to help them love the grass. 

Begin with basic training

A great place to begin is by asking your dog to start walking on the lawn or using the bathroom in your yard is basic training. With training treats, basic commands, and maybe a clicker, you can show your dog that the yard isn’t scary and can be enjoyable if they give it a chance. Bring their favorite toys out to play with to keep them distracted and having fun!

Buy your dog a pair of shoes

Okay, this one might sound silly, but if you have a grass-hater on your hands and you’ve tried absolutely everything to help them get used to the grass, short of paving your entire lawn, it might be time to invest in some shoes. 

Yes, they make shoes for dogs, and many dogs can tolerate them faster than grass. You never know until you try, and if you’re at wit’s end with a stubborn pup, it may be an excellent alternative!

Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.