When you have a well landscaped yard, a sprawling lawn, or a charming deck that your family enjoys, that enjoyment can be cut short by finding dog waste. All you need is a designated potty spot and a little training. Luckily, dogs are eager to please and can easily be trained to frequent the same location for potty time.
Set Up A Potty Spot
One of the great rewards of training your dog to use a specific area is that you can create an ideal place for easy clean-up away from traffic patterns and precious plantings. One of the most popular arrangements is a frame resembling a sandbox full of gravel that can be sprayed clean or imitation grass. Whether you choose to build a frame designating the new “potty zone” or use a preexisting area of your yard, be sure the boundaries are crisp and clear so that your dog understands.
Control Yard Time
Don’t allow your dog into the yard unless they have either recently “done business” elsewhere, like on a walk or at the dog park, or you believe they’re ready to relieve themselves and you’re willing to guide them to the designated potty spot. Don’t allow unsupervised yard time until you know your puppy has no need to use the restroom.
Learn How to Reward Your Dog
Every time your dog uses the correct area to do business, give them a reward. While learning, this should be a yummy treat or something else you dog covets. Later you can move to using praise and petting once you dog knows what’s expected of them.
For best results, use clicker training methods or an event marker to tell your dog that going potty in that spot has earned him a reward. An event marker is anything you do that is always always followed by a treat. Whether you use a clicker, say “good boy!”, or open the treat tin, be sure to follow it with a yummy treat right after your dog finishes business. This will go a long way to helping your dog choose to use the right area to eliminate.
Walking With a Leash to “Do Business”
When releasing your dog into the yard, you’ve inadvertently given them unlimited choices of where to potty. Your roses, patio seating, the fire pit are all options. You can solve this by leading doggy over to the desired potty area and staying there until they’ve eliminated. Don’t expect your dog to lead himself over to the “potty zone” until they fully understand what’s desired of them to earn a treat.
Using Pheromones in Your Potty Spot
There are attractants available to encourage your dog to use the same area of the yard each time. Products like the Simple Solution Pee Post Outdoor Training Aid can boost the learning process, but shouldn’t be relied on completely. These are training aids, not training replacements.
Consistency is very important. If you use certain commands or methods to train your dog, then make sure that your family members use them as well. This will make the training more effective and consistent.
Clean Up Mistakes
In the beginning, your may get good results by NOT cleaning up waste in the designated potty spot. Always leaving the most recent mess there can help your dog understand that waste belongs in this area. At the same time, all doggy messes in other parts of the yard should be cleaned immediately. and you may want to hose down those spots to remove the smell.
This process will take longer with dogs who have had free access to potty anywhere outdoors for years. Have patience, old dogs can learn new tricks. Your dog will enjoy the challenge of learning something new with positive reinforcement, and you can enjoy a surprise-free yard!