Dear Sadie:
I have three rescue dogs.  All of them spent some time (several months if not longer) out on their
own either on the streets or in the woods.  One was kept at a no-kill shelter for a couple of years
but she was in an outside pen almost the entire time.  The problem I have is that when it rains or
snows, they just do not want to go outside to relieve themselves.  It is like they don’t ever want to
be wet or cold again.  What can I do to have them trust me enough that when they go outside I
will let them back in?  Thanks for your help!
                                        Mess in Mount Olive

Dear Mess,
First let me say that I commend you for being so generous as to take in so many homeless
dogs.  I speak for all of dogdom when I say thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Second let
me say that I am very glad they are at your house and not mine!  I have two in my house that are
just like that and I declare they are a trial when it rains.  But you hit the nail on the head when you
said that you have to get them to trust you enough that they know you will let them back in after
they do their business.  Get your umbrella handy and go out there with them and act like it is
Sunday.  By that I mean give praise, praise, praise!  As soon as they are done let them right
back in and say praise (and amen!) again.  As with all of my advice, a healthy dose of chicken
will go a long way to putting some positive reinforcement on the behavior you are after.  Chicken
is just all around positive and humans are well served to remember that.  Anyway, keep
consistently reinforcing by praise the behavior you desire and in time they will go out without
hesitation.  At some point they may get like me if any of them are girls.  I love going out and
putting it down in the snow to go – so cool and refreshing!  It reminds me of my puppy days in
Salt Lake City.  But I digress.  The point is, you have to let them know they are safe with you and
that, like my all time favorite human heroine Miss Scarett O’Hara, they can say with you “I will
never be hungry or cold or wet or pee in the house again!”