Have you ever traveled with your dog and really needed her to eliminate, and have found yourself doing laps around and around the hotel grounds because your dog is having such a fun time and she not ready to eliminate? Or, how about when it is raining or snowing, and your pup decides this is her favorite weather and would like to stay outside just a wee bit longer? The same holds true for young puppies that are just learning where to eliminate. The training plan below, while not technically a house-training plan, can help you teach your already house-trained dog how to eliminate on cue.
No magic potion here, just enough pairings via classical conditioning (all about associations, remember?) between a verbal cue and the act of eliminating. In addition, and in order to make the behavior “stick” and not go into extinction, you will need to present a reinforcer as your dog is learning to associate your verbal cue with the act of eliminating. Once this association is achieved – meaning your dog eliminates whenever you give the cue, you will have to reinforce (unless your dog really needed to eliminate and this serves as the reinforcer). So, continue to pay on occasion with a treat, a short game session or anything else your dog finds reinforcing. Here is how to train:
- Think of the verbal cue you want to use. For example: Go potty, Do your business, etc.
- Arm yourself with some tasty treats.
- Take your dog out to eliminate when you think she has to do so.
- Observer your dog closely; when she is ready to eliminate say the verbal cue.
- Pay your dog as she is eliminating.
- Continue to follow the steps above until your dog begins to eliminate just after you have given the verbal cue.
- Pay for eliminating.
- You can use the same verbal cue for peeing and pooping or use different cues.
Voila! No more standing in the rain or doing laps at the hotel grounds, your dog will be able and willing to eliminate because you have paired it with good stuff for her, and because after all mother nature is also calling.