“Go potty, get it done, hurry up, do the deed and let’s potty” are some of the phrases used to start the elimination process. Yes, you can actually teach them where and when to do their business. One student uses the words “cricket creek” to trigger the process. Of course, I had to ask, as curiosity got the best of me but turns out that this was the name of a park they visit daily so it just made sense to him. You can use any word or phrase but I highly recommend you choose one you are comfortable repeating while out in public…
For those that have no choice but to walk the dog for elimination, whether your dog is a puppy or an older dog, you really do have the advantage. Since you are right there with them, why not just add a few words to the process. You will see the quickest results first thing in the morning. Initially, try to take them to the same area on a leash, even if your yard is fenced. As soon as they start sniffing, repeat your phrase calmly and quietly. If the dog starts fussing with the leash, just ignore them. On the other hand, if your dog is still at an age of which you can out run them, (not a very large window here) simply carry them to the spot if the leash is just too distracting.) Be very patient with the youngsters as life in general is distracting to them.
Repeat the command as often as necessary to start the process. As soon as the pup starts eliminating, calmly praise them once or twice but not to the point of distraction. When they finish, you can stop the praise. No need for a big celebration following the process as your dog will forget what the fuss is about and will probably join you in the festivities. Of course, we are very happy that this activity occurred outdoors instead of in but some dogs will start jumping all over you and get out of control if you allow it.
This process works for all elimination phases regardless of ground surface or distractions. Yep, it really does work. Again, even if your yard is fenced, you will still need to take them to the desired area on a leash.
This is an excellent way to housetrain the dog; big or small; young or old. Give them a couple of weeks to catch on. Most get it within a few days but be patient as each dog is different. Next, try it in on leash in a different dog friendly area . Be sure to have a clean up bag with you because your new system is going to become very effective in a short period of time.
“What is the point of this?” Why should I bother?
I always seem to be running late and those seem to be the days when the dogs just want to take their sweet time. After all, they know you are leaving soon. They just know. Try to get them out at least a half hour before you plan to leave and do not make any car key noises until they are already comfortable in their crate or other area of confinement and you are ready to walk out that door.
Some dogs are very wise to the fact that after they “do their business” during the walk, you turn right around and take them home. Many adult dogs will “hold out” longer and longer just to keep the walk going. (We have steps 2 and 3 for the wise, stubborn ones.) Just post a comment and we will set you up with Step #2.
What about traveling with your dog? Wouldn’t it be great to have them “go” immediately upon command at the rest areas? This way you know they are comfortable for the rest of the trip . This also holds true if your trip involves an overnight stay in a hotel.
What about those bad weather days? Some dogs are too distracted on a very windy day. Cold, snowy days also happen for many of us. But, for a lot of them (and us) rainy days are the worst. Some are just too annoyed by the rain that they cannot be bothered. Any of you have one of those dogs that sticks their head out the door, realizes it’s really raining and their look implies “No, thank you. I’ll just get on with my breakfast, please.” Those bad weather days will generally have you leaving a bit earlier for work or an appointment, as it is and now your dog has declined the offer to go outside.
Male dogs are usually not too fussy where they “go” but a lot of the girls are. Traveling is not fun when your girl only wants to “go” in her yard, in her spot and only when no one is looking.
Getting back to the male dogs…you might have to lead them to a couple of trees to start the process. Once their bladders appear to be empty, bring them back in. They don’t need to water every tree in the yard and especially while out on walks. If you are trying to walk for exercise or obedience training purposes and allow them to eliminate randomly every 2 minutes; it will be difficult to accomplish your goals. If you pay attention, you will see that 3/4 of the stops are “dry runs” anyway. They can stop and sniff when, where and if you direct them.
There are those dogs that purposely want to save their “business” for the walk. This can get old really fast and it’s always going to be on the day you forgot to bring a pick-up bag. These thrill seekers will also benefit from steps 2 and 3.
I’ll bet there will be a time that your vet will ask for a urine sample. (That sounds like a fun time now, doesn’t it?) Yes, it is more challenging than obtaining a sample of something that just sits there and it might take a couple of tries but you will succeed.
This technique also works for those dogs that can use a litter box or other type of indoor elimination setup. The list goes on and on…
Light at the end of the tunnel…
In time, for those that have a fenced in yard, eventually you can just let them out the door and point to the spot while giving the command. Always keep an eye on them (you need to make sure they actually accomplished something) and we recommend that they never be left alone unattended.
To sum up, in the words of my good friend, Dr. Marge Smith (now deceased), quoted directly from her book Eliminate on Command, published in cooperation with The Foundation for Applied Studies of Animal Behavior ,1984-
“You can establish a conditioned reflex in your dog by associating a special sound with the beginning of both urination and defecation. Fifty to seventy-five repetitions are needed in order to establish a functional result. When the repetitions have been adequately carried out, the sound itself will cause the dog to “feel an urge” and respond to it by eliminating anything contained in his bladder or bowel at the moment.
From then on, whenever you say the trigger word, even at a strange time or place, your dog will do his best to eliminate almost immediately.
Feed the dog the same amount of food at approximately the same time every day. Take them to the same spot for the first couple of weeks. Dog should be on leash. Very young pups may be too distracted if not used to a leash yet, so you can carry them to the spot. Pick your word or phrase. (something you can say in public…)Repeat your words until the dog starts eliminating. Calmly praise. Stop the praise when they are finished. Do not bring the dog into the house and immediately put in crate. Allow at least a few minutes for that after they come back into the house.
Gradually, make the transition to off leash. (In a fenced in area only.) Stop within 6 feet of the area, point and give them the command. Do this for a week. The next week work up to 10 feet, etc. If the dog starts to get lazy with this, you may have to go back to using the leash. Be patient and soon you will be able to open the door on a rainy day and easily direct them to their spot.
Please remember to pick up after your dogs.
Dog Notes, Inc.
Content copyright 2010 . My Dog Never Did That Before, Dog Notes, Inc.. All rights reserved.