In service dog training, it's important to be able to tell your dog that this is bathroom time and to hurry up and go to the bathroom. One of the many "first things" we teach our service dogs is to go to the bathroom on cue. We use the words "Hurry up," to tell the dog that the clock is ticking - this is your chance to go to the bathroom.
This is an essential skill for the service dog, but I find it helpful to teach the family dog to go to the bathroom on cue, too! This is great when it's raining and you don't feel like standing in the rain with your dog 'til he decides it's time to go; for when you're in the car with your dog and you stop at a rest stop; and for anytime you want to tell your dog that time is limited, he better go to the bathroom now if he needs to go.
How to Teach Potty On Command
It's super-easy to teach your dog to go to the bathroom on cue. First, decide on a word or phrase. I like "hurry up," or "do your business," but you can use any word you want. Next, take your dog outside on a leash. Just as he starts to go to the bathroom, say your cue. All you're doing at this point, is just pairing the word (or phrase) with the action of going to the bathroom. Say your word when your dog starts going to the bathroom (no matter if it's #1 or #2). Try to get your words in just as he's starting to go.
Praise quietly and enthusiastically (too much enthusiasm might make your dog stop mid poo or mid pee!). I don't use food for this - it just seems to get in the way and muddy the process.
Continue pairing the word with the deed for about a week or two every time your dog goes to the bathroom. Long about the beginning of Week 3, say the word just before your dog does his business. Praise quietly and enthusiastically just like you did before.
Finally, around Week 4 you can start saying the word to cause your dog to go to the bathroom. If you did your homework in the first three weeks, when your dog hears those words, he should start to do his business! Unless, of course, he doesn't have to go.
Now, you've got yourself a really cool tool to tell your dog that this is his chance to go to the bathroom.
Have you taught your dog to go to the bathroom on cue? Please leave us a comment with the word (or phrase) you use.