Raising dogs in my early years consisted of memorable walks, cuddling, and potty training. Yes, I knew that it was important to house train the dogs, or… expect mom to yell. But it wasn’t until I raised Ammo with Tom that I valued the importance of consistent, proper potty training which led to Potty On Command.
From the beginning, Tom gave many rules to housebreak Ammo. In hind-sight, I now understand why he made so much effort in potty training him properly. I am so blessed to have a husband that’s a dog trainer!
We started with determining a specific location where he would relieve himself every time. It was a small spot so nothing else in the backyard was ruined. The Small Spot concept was also to eliminate spending a long time sniffing around before relieving himself. This helped when I was in a rush to go to work but still had to take the dog out.
Once a location was established, we had a paper on the fridge and filled in the time, #1 or #2, and any comments (i.e. didn’t make it outside and peed in living room, only took 5 min. hooray!, etc.). Journaling is a valuable resource for many things in life, and it holds true for potty training as well! We started to see a pattern and would take Ammo out minutes before he usually peed to resolve the issue of relieving indoors. As he got older it was super easy to tell our neighbor to stop by and take Ammo out back every four to five hours or at specific times when we’d go on vacation.
So now he has a place and pattern. You’d think that the potty training stopped there, right? Not with a dog trainer in the house!
On walks, Ammo wasn’t allowed to just pee at any time. We didn’t allow him to dictate the walk. We walked with a purpose and he would only get to potty once we reached our destination…. someplace near a garbage can! This eliminated the rock-paper-scissors game my husband and I would play for who holds the bag of poop until we find a garbage can. And, because every dog loves a routine, once we got to a place to potty he would know because I’d make him Sit, Stay, OK (our release word), Go Potty. Again, we’d use the Small Spot Concept. This eliminated his need to sniff the entire field before finding the right spot. He’d sniff as far as he could on his leash then I would redirect him and remind him to Go Potty. It really works when Ammo has but only a small island in a parking lot to use before going into a store or hospital.
Which brings me to today, when Ammo is now 5 ½ years old, going to nephews’ double-header baseball games, clients’ homes for training, schools, and convalescent homes. In the AKC Canine Good Citizen test and Therapy Dog International Exam, if your dog eliminates at any time during the tests they automatically fail. And how embarrassing it would be to shop for a cool toy at Pet Extreme only to hear on the loud speaker, “Clean up on Aisle 3.” Our consistent commitment to pottying on command has now become a real winner in my book. We can go to a pet event or even a car show and Ammo will Go Potty before entering the event. I can freely walk into shops knowing that he’s not going to mark on every bone or toy in the bottom aisle.
Now we all know that natural circumstances can cause a dog to pee even when we least expect it, and that there are no guarantees. But for the most part, I can confidently take my dog to a restaurant and enjoy a meal with my friends and it’s just one less thing to worry about.
If you would like to learn more on anything discussed on this post. Or if you’re ready to take your training to the next level, don’t hesitate to call A+ Dog Training at 209-985-7898.