The number one most important command for an active, traveling or any dog to know is "come." And your dog knows it, right? And you practice it every day, even several times a day, correct? How about today? It's okay. I'll wait....
Great. Now that you and your best friend have had a fun and productive recall training session, take your dog outside. You are now on your way to teaching the second most important command for a dog that travels and leads an active lifestyle. Yes, the one you came to read about: "go potty." Did I mention that "go potty' is one of the easiest cues to teach your dog? Well it is. All you have to do is label the behavior each and every time your dog does it. I use two separate cues for pee and for poop, "go potty" and "go poo-poo." When Wilhelm, Brychwyn or Huxley do their business, I say "go potty" or "go poo-poo" with their name while they are doing one or the other. Then I tell them "good potty" or "good poo-poo" and praise them with petting or a treat
If you'd like to teach your traveling or active dog to go potty on cue, first pick a cue. I have heard many creative cues like "hurry, hurry," "do business," "squat" and "leg lift." Next, use that cue while your dog does the action you are labeling each and every time they do it. Like all training, consistency is key! For those of you who usually let your dog out in the yard to relieve themselves alone, your dog will either not learn the cue at all or they will not learn it quickly and reliably. Teaching this cue doesn't take long if you take the time to teach it.
Be a one person pee and poop cheering section.
After your dog goes pee or poop, tell them what a good job they did, using your cue word or phrase again, praise and/or reward. The more excited you are about your dogs new "trick," the more excited your dog will be and the faster they will catch on. Just like with house training (or any training,) positivity and joy go a long ways.
The biggest mistake trainers make in teaching "go potty" (among other tricks!) is asking the dog to go on cue before the dog fully understands what is expected. In fact, the phrase "haste makes waste" could never be more wrong! How do you know your dog is beginning to understand the cue? One sign is that your dog will begin to come to you for their praise and/or reward after eliminating. This is when you should start to cue the behavior before it happens- immediately before it happens! When you see signs your dog might do their business, say your cue. You will know you have moved too fast if you give the cue and your dog does nothing. Remember that when your dog fails, it's because the trainer has failed! It's never the dogs fault. Unfortunately, moving too quickly with the "go potty" (or any) cue means you must step backwards and give the cue while your dog is actually eliminating as well as getting extra exuberant about the results.
Are you planning to teach this command to your dog? Leave us a comment!