How to teach a dog to do its business outside

Having a dog is a rewarding experience, but potty training can sometimes be a challenge for owners. However, with patience, consistency, and a positive approach, you can teach your dog to potty outside. Here are some tips to guide you through this educational process.

  1. Start early and be consistent

Housetraining should begin as soon as you bring your puppy home. Dogs are generally easier to train when they are young. The key to success is consistency. Take your dog outside regularly, especially after meals, waking up, and playtime . Keep in mind that puppies do not have control of their sphincter before they are 4 months old and they therefore do not have the possibility of restraining themselves for more than a few hours (we estimate 1 hour per month of life)

  1. Create a routine

Dogs love routines. Establish a fixed schedule for outings, this will help your dog anticipate when he will be able to do his business. Always take him to the same place to reinforce the association between that place and elimination.

  1. Use positive reinforcements

When your dog poops outside, praise him profusely. Use words and a gentle voice or caresses to reinforce this positive behavior. Dogs are more likely to repeat actions that are followed by rewards.

  1. Pay attention to the signs

Learn to recognize the signs that your dog needs to go outside. This may include walking in circles, sniffing the ground intensively, or even staring at you insistently. By paying attention to these signs, you will be able to anticipate and take your dog out in time.

  1. Avoid punishment

If your dog poops indoors, avoid punishing him. Dogs do not understand punishment well after the fact and this can create anxiety. Instead, simply clean up the mess and work harder to reinforce good habits outdoors. Your dog loves you and wants to do things right but he doesn't always know how. We favor positive reinforcement here, there is nothing better for training a dog.

  1. Use a small space

A small space or a particular room in the house can be a useful solution for potty training. Dogs naturally tend to avoid doing their business in their living space. For example, for just a few nights, you can have your pet sleep in a rather small room and he should quickly learn to restrain himself. Of course, it makes no sense to lock a 4 month old puppy in a room for 8 hours thinking that he will become potty trained (see point no. 1). Like babies, your dog needs time, and like babies, some learn faster than others, be patient and kind.

Some will tell you to use a transport cage to limit space. This is still a debate today. At Goofy Goldens we do not recommend using this type of cage, we find them traumatic for the dog and we believe that there are other ways to limit space and learn to clean.

But what should I do if I adopt an adult dog that is still not potty trained?

Same thing as with a puppy. A key piece of information to remember is that dogs can continue to learn throughout their lives. So, it is important to go back to basics when educating them! Encourage them, congratulate them and above all, motivate them. The main goal is to get your dog to associate the outdoors with a comfortable place to do his business. We therefore advise you to take your dog out more frequently and keep treats within reach.

However, the outdoors can present many distractions for your dog, especially if he has previously lived in a cramped space. He may forget to relieve himself or feel uncomfortable in this environment which he perceives as hostile. It is therefore crucial to transform this environment into a pleasant place for him. This is particularly the case for dogs rescued from abuse who are not yet clean because they have been locked in cages or on balconies or even tied outside day and night and therefore do not have the right codes to do their needs.

To teach him this, look for a quiet, unstimulating place where your dog will feel safe. As soon as he does his business, reward him immediately with a treat and petting. Repeat this exercise regularly, and over time your dog will learn to be potty trained. It is also important to pay attention to the signs he shows when he needs to relieve himself. If he's walking in circles, heading toward the door, or trying to get your attention, it's likely he wants to go out. In this case, don't delay and take him outside while praising him.

Consult a veterinarian if a problem persists

If your dog, whether puppy, young, or adult, continues to poop indoors despite your best efforts, there could be an underlying medical problem. Consult your veterinarian to rule out any physical cause for this behavior.

In conclusion, potty training a dog is like it is for humans, it requires time, patience and consistency. By following these tips and staying positive, you will create an environment conducive to learning and strengthen the bond between you and your faithful companion

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