Choosing a particular area for your dog to use for potty breaks helps protect the rest of the yard so it’s nice, green and clean for kiddos to run and play. It also keeps the garden space urine free (hooray!).
Can an adult canine be taught? Yes! It’s easier for a new puppy as he’s being house trained, but adults have the ability to learn quickly too.
Selecting The Designated Territory
First choose a location to best serve this purpose. The size needed depends on the size of the dog. A little poodle won’t need the square footage a German shepherd does.
No hard and fast rules, but try setting aside about 6 lengths by 6 lengths (1 length = the length of dog). This gives them a little room to roam and provides some free space to work with if scooping between each bathroom break is missed.
The zone can be covered with grass, mulch, gravel or any surface the pup accepts–even concrete or patio blocks work.
- Once the best location in the yard is selected, place a scoop or two of the doggy’s ‘doo’ inside the area. Make sure there are zero droppings in the other parts of the yard and water the rest of the lawn very well to remove traces of past urine zones.
- Choose a command buddy will understand, example: “time to go potty” or “do it”, and use consistently.
- When your friend shows signs of needing to go (like sniffing around and lowering the butt), attach a leash and take him outside directly to the location. Give the command “time to go potty”. For new pups, usually 30 minutes after meals, after exciting play, before bed and first thing in the a.m. are the usual moments. For adults you know their schedule, work with that.
- Tip: Take buddy to the spot first thing when going outside and don’t let allow run and play time until business has been done–have him leashed. This enforces to get business done right away and will pay off down the road.
- Every instance the pup performs as desired, give lots of happy praise, playful pats and a treat. If he shows signs of wanting to expel in an off-limits area, say “no” or “not there” and lead to the proper place.
- If there’s a slip, avoid giving praise, treats, attention and no play. Make sure to clean up immediately and saturate the spot with water so he won’t smell the pee.
Being consistent and watchful is key. Hover over and keep buddy leashed when outside for at least two weeks to make sure he consistently goes where required.
After two weeks try being out off-leash and watch. If he heads directly to the spot first to take his potty break, you know things are catching on. If not, have the leash on for another week and then try without it again.
After a solid four weeks of perfect performance and close monitoring, you can relax and be confident the habit is being set successfully. Still watch though and correct mistakes as they happen.
Be sure to keep the assigned zone clean. Canines aren’t happy tip toe-ing through piles of poo and urine. They like their bathroom areas tidy like we do, some are super fussy.
During training leave a scoop or two of “doody” within the space so the pooch has an idea where to go, but be diligent about maintaining the rest of the space.
Water the urine spots well and scoop the poop immediately, do a daily cleaning and watering if possible.
Once the habit has been set, you’ll still need to do your part by maintaining things or the pooch begins to look elsewhere to do business.
For every successful occurrence, keep affirming the behavior by giving treats and praise (for at least a couple months).
Note Well: Take him for regular walks so he’s also accustomed to doing the job in back alleys, side roads and fields (remember to bring the doody bags).
The thing you don’t want to do is teach buddy to think there is only one location he can ever go to the bathroom. This will be a real problem as he travels with the family or when he stays elsewhere while you’re away–the poor fellow will suffer and absolutely not go until his body physically forces him to.
The idea is to teach this pet there’s only one place in the yard he can expel, not just one place no matter what.
Be diligent, watchful and consistent. A few weeks of training provides a lifetime of benefit to you as owner :).