(123)456 7890 demo@coblog.com

How to Teach Your Dog to “Go” on Command

How to Teach Your Dog to “Go” on Command

Teaching your dog to "go" on command is an extremely useful skill that all dog owners should work on. Having a dog that will go to the bathroom on command prevents accidents in the house and makes it easy to clean up after them when out on walks. While it may take some time and patience, teaching this skill is absolutely possible for any dog. In this comprehensive guide, I'll walk you through all the steps needed to teach your dog to go on command.

Choose a Cue Word

The first step is picking the cue word you want to use. Many people choose "go potty" but you can use any short phrase like "do your business" or "go now." The important thing is that you are consistent and always use the exact same phrase when you want your dog to go. Don't use multiple different phrases interchangeably. Choose one and stick with it.

Some things to keep in mind when choosing your cue word:

  • Make it two words max. A short phrase is easiest for your dog to recognize.

  • Avoid common words your dog hears a lot like "come" or "stay." You want an uncommon phrase they only hear related to going to the bathroom.

  • Don't use negative or scolding words. The cue should be encouraging and positive.

  • Consider the location. If you'll be training your dog to go on command both indoors and outdoors, make sure the phrase makes sense in both settings.

Once you've chosen your cue word, make sure to use it consistently moving forward.

Teach Your Dog the Cue

Once you've picked a phrase, it's time to teach your dog what it means! This will take repetition and positive reinforcement. Here are some tips for training the cue word:

  • Say it right before they go naturally. Pay close attention and as soon as your dog starts to sniff and circle to go, enthusiastically say your cue phrase. As they finish going, provide lots of praise and a high-value treat.

  • Take them to an appropriate potty spot and wait. When they finally go, immediately say your cue phrase and reward. This helps them associate the phrase with going in the right spot.

  • Don't punish accidents. If your dog goes in the house without being given the cue, just calmly clean it up. Don't scold them, as this can discourage them from going when you cue it.

  • Be patient and consistent. It will likely take weeks or months of repetition before your dog fully understands the meaning of the phrase.

How to Give the "Go" Cue

Once your dog understands the cue word, you'll want to use proper technique when actually cuing them to maximize success. Here are some tips:

  • Use an encouraging, happy tone. Never sound angry or impatient when giving the cue.

  • Time it right. Only use the cue when you're reasonably sure your dog needs to go based on time since last potty, hydration, behaviors, etc. Don't over-cue.

  • Take them directly to the approved potty area. Don't just say the cue and expect your dog to go find an appropriate place. Guide them to the right spot.

  • Give them time. After saying the cue, give your dog a few minutes to sniff around and go. Don't repeat the cue over and over. Be patient.

  • Reward every time. When your dog goes after being given the cue, reward them with praise and a treat every single time. This reinforces the behavior.

Troubleshooting Problems

Teaching your dog to potty on command can take some troubleshooting if they are struggling to pick it up. Here are some common challenges and how to fix them:

Your dog doesn't go when cued: Make sure you are using the cue word consistently and taking them to an approved potty area. Don't over-use the cue or say it at bad times. Be patient when waiting for them to go after giving the cue and reward them highly when they finally do. Consider going back a few steps with more basic training if they are really struggling.

Your dog goes in between cues: This means your timing is off. Make sure you are giving the cue when they are likely to need to go based on your knowledge of their potty schedule. Avoid giving the cue when their bladder is likely empty.

Your dog goes in the house instead of waiting: This requires more general housetraining work. Make sure to thoroughly clean all indoor accidents with an enzyme cleaner. Keep your dog on a consistent feeding and potty break schedule to minimize accidents.Reward them heavily for going outside. Consider tethering them to you or crating when unsupervised until potty trained.

Your dog goes in the right spot but without a cue: This is actually a sign of progress! It means your dog understands where they should go, just not on command quite yet. Reward them anytime they go in the right spot, whether cued

Have Realistic Expectations

While teaching your dog to go on command is absolutely possible, it's important to have realistic expectations about the process. Keep these things in mind:

  • It may take weeks or even months before your dog understands the cue fully. Be patient and consistent with training.

  • Even well-trained dogs will still sometimes go without a cue, like if they really have to go. Don't expect perfection.

  • Certain dogs and situations will be more difficult. Very young puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with health issues may struggle with potty training.

  • Accidents and setbacks are common. Stick with it and don't get frustrated!

The most important things are to be consistent, encouraging, and patient during the whole process. With time and practice, you can teach even stubborn dogs to go on command!

Use Positive Reinforcement

The number one training technique that should be used when teaching this or any skill is positive reinforcement. This means rewarding your dog with praise, treats, toys, or anything else they love every time they correctly go on cue. Some key tips:

  • Have treats on you at all times when practicing this skill. Food is a powerful motivator!

  • Give the reward immediately after they go, while they are still in the act of pottying. This strengthens the connection.

  • Use high-value "jackpot" rewards for big successes like going in a new location.

  • Say "yes!" or click your clicker the moment they start going then follow with a treat.

  • Praise effusively when they go on cue using an excited tone and petting.

Avoid punishing or scolding your dog if they struggle or have accidents. This will only teach them to fear pottying at all, even when cued appropriately. Reward-based training is the way to go!

When to Give the Cue

Timing is important when giving your dog the cue to go potty. Here are some good times to use it:

  • First thing in the morning when your dog wakes up
  • 20-30 minutes after mealtimes
  • Before crating for short periods
  • Before getting in the car
  • Upon arriving at a new location
  • Before bedtime or naptime
  • Frequently on long car rides or trips away from home
  • After playing vigorously or drinking a lot of water

Pay close attention to your individual dog's potty habits so you learn their natural schedule. Use this knowledge to predict when they are likely to need to go based on how long it's been since they last went.

Try to avoid giving the cue at bad times like if your dog has recently gone or you've just come inside after being unsuccessful. This can disassociate the cue from the meaning for your dog.

Be Consistent

Consistency is absolutely crucial when potty training dogs of any age. You need to be consistent with:

  • The cue phrase. Stick with one phrase only.

  • Location. Always take them to the approved potty spot.

  • Rewards. Reward them every single time they go on cue.

  • Timing. Use the cue at logical times based on their potty schedule.

  • Patience. Allow time for them to go each time you give the cue.

  • Cleaning accidents. Use an enzyme cleaner to fully erase any smells.

  • Supervision. When indoors, keep them in your sight or crated at all times.

  • Attention-seeking. Ignore attention-seeking behaviors. Only give attention for appropriate pottying.

  • Schedule. Feed meals and take potty breaks on a consistent schedule.

If anything is inconsistent, it will confuse your dog and slow the training process. Consistency equals success!

Have a Designated Potty Spot

Having a consistent outdoor potty spot for your dog will help reinforce where they should go on command. Pick a spot in your yard and always take them to that same location.

Things to look for when choosing a potty spot:

– Easy access. Make sure it's easy to get to quickly from the house or anywhere in the yard.

– Natural substrate. Dogs prefer grass, mulch, dirt, or sand to go on if possible.

– Privacy. Often dogs prefer a slightly more private or enclosed space.

– Avoid distractions. Pick a quiet spot away from kids' play areas, garden beds, etc.

– Observation spot. Choose somewhere you can watch your dog go from a distance without being in their space.

– Cleanliness. Make sure it's somewhere that's easy for you to clean and maintain.

– Shade. Dogs often prefer shady spots on hot days. Provide shade if needed.

Mark the approved potty area clearly with rocks, pavers, turf, or other landscaping so your dog learns the exact right place.

Use a Long Line/Leash

Especially in the early stages of training, keeping your dog on a long line when taking them to their potty spot can help set them up for success. A long line is simply a leash made of fabric or rope that can extend 10-50 feet.

The benefits of using a long line when potty training include:

  • Preventing wandering. You can restrict your dog from wandering off to go in the wrong area.

  • Controlling movement. Guide your dog right to the approved potty zone then anchor the line so they stay put.

  • Providing gentle guidance. Gently guide your dog into a squat or lift the leg position once in position.

  • Initiating play. Start playing immediately as a reward once pottying is complete while dog is still leashed.

  • Adding supervision. Keeps your untrained dog tethered to you while learning this new skill.

Make sure to only keep your dog on the long line temporarily during the initial potty training stages. Allow them to drag it so you can step on it to stop unwanted behavior. Remove

Use a Crate

Crate training can be hugely helpful for potty training if used properly. A crate both minimizes accidents and teaches your dog to hold it when you can't actively supervise them or take them out. Key tips:

  • Only crate for short periods. Avoid leaving a young dog crated for more than 3-4 hours max.

  • Set them up for success. Always take them potty immediately before crating and immediately after letting them out.

  • Make it comfortable. Provide soft beds and safe chew toys so they enjoy the crate.

  • Create positive associations. Randomly reward them with treats and Kongs when crated so they build happy memories.

  • Ignore whining. Never let them out while crying or they'll learn whining gets them released.

By crating your dog when you are away or sleeping, you ensure they can't wander off to potty in the house. They learn bladder control since they won't want to eliminate where they sleep.

Manage Accidents

No matter how consistent you are with training, your dog will likely have some potty training accidents in the house before they are fully trained. Here is how to handle these properly:

  • Stay calm. Never punish or yell at your dog after the fact. Just clean it thoroughly.

  • Quickly interrupt. If you catch them in the act, interrupt with a firm "eh eh!" then immediately rush them outside. Praise if they finish going there.

  • Thoroughly clean. Use an enzymatic pet odor eliminator to break down urine or stool smells. Regular cleaners won't fully erase the scent.

  • Monitor closely. Keep your dog leashed to you or crated when loose in the home until consistently potty trained.

  • Adjust schedule. If accidents happen around the same time daily, adjust your potty break schedule to get them outside more frequently.

Stay positive! Accidents are part of the training process.

Other Helpful Tips

Here are some other miscellaneous tips that can help make potty training on cue go smoother:

  • Teach a cue like "hurry up" to encourage them to go quickly on command when needed. Reward when they comply.

  • Always use the cue before opening doors or gates to go out for a potty break.

  • Try tethering your dog to you indoors so you can monitor and prevent any accidents.

  • Feed your dog on a consistent schedule rather than free-feeding to help regulate their potty habits.

  • Use baby gates to restrict access to rooms you can't actively supervise.

  • When away from home, return to familiar potty areas whenever possible. New environments can throw dogs off.

  • Give your dog plenty of water so they need to urinate frequently for more training opportunities.

  • Avoid punishing dislikes like loud noises and sprays. They will associate negativity with pottying.

Stay positive, consistent, and patient, and you'll have your dog pottying on cue in no time!

Troubleshooting Difficult Cases

While most dogs can learn to potty on command with time and effort, some struggle with this concept more than others. Here are tips for troubleshooting difficult cases:

Older dogs likely lived their whole lives going potty whenever needed. Retraining them to hold it and only go on cue can be challenging. Manage accidents through supervision and confinement. Re-Housetrain them from scratch with positive reinforcement.

Recently adopted dogs don't yet have an established bond and trust with you, which are crucial for training. Building a relationship should be your first focus before emphasizing obedience like pottying on command. Let them adjust to their new home first.

Submissive urinators pee involuntarily in response to excitement, fear, stress or being scolded. Never punish these dogs for accidents. Build their confidence with rewards-based training. Learn their triggers to avoid.

Dogs with medical issues that cause incontinence, frequent urination, or loose stools may physically have trouble holding it until cued. Work with your vet to resolve any health problems leading to accidents.

Highly distracted dogs easily forget cues when seeing or hearing something interesting. Practice training in gradually more distracting environments to proof their potty cue. Use high-value rewards.

If you stay patient and keep troubleshooting, even challenging dogs can learn this useful skill!

Be Realistic About Your Dog's Age and Abilities

It's important to have realistic expectations about how quickly your dog can learn to potty on command based on their age and individual abilities. Here are some guidelines:

  • 8-12 week puppies have very limited bladder and bowel control. Focus on introducing them to an approved potty spot and positive reinforcement. Don't expect much cue-based training yet.

  • 3-6 month puppies can start to learn to go on command but will still have frequent accidents. Keep training sessions very short and rewards frequent at this age.

  • 6 months to 1 year is when most dogs can reasonably start to grasp going on cue and hold it longer between breaks. Training will progress much faster at this adolescent stage.

  • 1-3 year adult dogs have full physical control of their bladders and bowels. They should be able to learn a solid potty cue fairly quickly with consistent training.

  • Senior dogs often regress in their potty training abilities as they age. Remedial housetraining and management of accidents becomes necessary again.

Know your dog's abilities and quirks. If one method isn't working, don't hesitate to try something new!

Prevent Your Dog From Wandering Off

It can be challenging to teach your dog to potty on command if they tend to wander away and go wherever they please. Here are some tips to prevent wandering:

  • Keep them on a leash or long line when first teaching this cue to maintain control.

  • Use gates, fencing, tie-outs, or dog runs to restrict where they can access.

  • Practice training in enclosed areas like your yard before public areas where they can roam farther.

  • Reward for focused attention and check-ins. This increases engagement with you.

  • Work up to going off leash by first rewarding stays and recalls in safe areas.

  • Consider a GPS collar or tracking device if your dog has a history of running off or ignoring cues. This will allow you to locate them.

  • Practice coming to you or the door to be let out rather than letting themselves out through dog doors.

  • Avoid letting your dog out unattended if they don't yet have a solid potty cue. Always supervise outings.

With proper management to avoid wandering, you can keep your dog in the right potty area until fully trained.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *