Hi Everyone,

I have a strange question for you.  Several weeks ago I took Miss Nala out to her potty patch at night.  She was on her leash and I had a flash light.  We do this all the time with no problem.  The yard is fenced in, but huge and very dark at night so I don’t just let her go out there off leash at night.

So....while I was in the patch something hopped over my foot and I let out a horrific scream.  Nala’s hair stood on end and she pulled back to the house.

Ever since then she refuses to go out at night to potty.  I thought it would pass, but it isn’t. Thank goodness it is summer and stays light out longer, but she still needs to go before we go to bed.  

Last night I got her out the door with some treats.  She understands everything I say, so she knows I want her to pee.  She is scared and doesn’t go far at all until she is pulling so hard to go back.  To the point of choking herself.

Any advice to help her out?

Thanks for any help,

Christine & Miss Nala

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  • Maybe try taking her to the potty area during the daytime and dropping treats in that area randomly; maybe find some new high value treats that she can only "find" over there, and never give them to her anywhere else. Maybe she will start to associate the area with something positive.

  • I'd carry her over to the spot and keep her in your arms while you say, "Good Girl," and feed her some tasty new treats. Don't even put her down yet.  After a few days of this during the daylight hours and the dark, you could transition to carrying her there and placing her down to do her business, rewarding and praising her before and after she goes. 

  • We have a large dark backyard and we put up a light over the potty area for the dogs and me at night.  That might help.

    Even a string of white "Christmas" lights helps with seeing a lot.  You might just try a really powerful flashlight at first.

  • If she is small enough, carry her out and place her in the area you want her to go.  Then pick her back up and carry her inside.  She is scared and with reason.  You did not like something jumping on you at night either.

  • Hi,
    Thanks so much to everyone for the advice.  I unfortunately can’t pick her up, I have a back issue.  She has no problem with the potty patch or the yard when it is light out, and I think she is associating the dark and the flashlight with what happened out there.  

    I like the idea of lighting up the area so I don’t have to rely on a flashlight, which I really think she is associating the negative experience with.  I also think high value treats will help.  

    Lynda, I totally agree that Nala is scared with good reason.  I actually feel really bad that I was responsible for that.  We love Nala as if she were another one of our children and I wish I hadn’t reacted that way.  :(     

    thanks again for all the tips!

    Christine & Nala 

  •  I like the treats randomly being placed in the yard. Just throwing this out, but could you take her to the front yard to go potty for a while?

    • Nancy, 

      Please do not think I am nuts when I tell you this.  I thought of the same thing.  So...I went down the driveway at night and a frog jumped on my foot...you can’t make this up....and I screamed!  And off Nala pulled to the door....

      My luck


  • Lol. I couldn’t believe I screamed yet again.  Nala is 3 years old, almost, and this has never happened...I think I am on edge because I had a health diagnosis recently that upset me and I am just not myself.  My mind is always thinking and so I feel like the slightest thing will startle me.

    thanks for the tips.  :)


    • Even in daytime, I stay out of the way of the many lizards we have in our yards - screaming if one runs at me instead of away!  I'd have to change into jeans and boots to take my dogs outside in the dark if I had an encounter with something running/hopping in my vicinity, much less my foot!  I hope your health diagnosis is not to serious and has a simple cure.

      • I was actually going to suggest wearing boots for the night time potty trips.

        I'm just amazed at all you screamers. I tend to freeze up, physically and vocally; I used to have dreams where I was trying to scream and nothing would come out of my mouth. A gasp is the best I can manage.

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