How to Train a Dog to Go Outside

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Training your dog to go to the bathroom outside is the first, and most important part of his training. No one wants to live in a world where urinating and defecating on the rug of your home are accepted practices.

That’s why potty training is the first thing on the mind of every dog owner. But training your dog to go outside isn’t an immediate process. It takes time, it takes patience – and it takes the right tactics.

Training Puppies and Rescues

Training a puppy to go outside is easier than training a grown dog. Adult rescue dogs can have unfortunate histories – and little training. If you have recently rescued an adult dog that isn’t potty trained, don’t worry. Adult dogs have the same desire to please you as puppies do. They’re just a bit more set in their ways.

Puppies have their own challenges. While they are more pliable, they also have short attention spans. It may take you longer to train a puppy than an adult dog, or vice versa. But remember that your adult dog will react differently – sometime more emotionally – than your puppy will. Your patience will be key whether you are training an adult rescue or a precocious puppy. Make sure you give your dog the benefit of the doubt, regardless of his age.

Tips for Training Your Dog to Go Outside

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There are various ways to train your dog to go outside, including:

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

Dogs learn like people – through repetition. There’s a reason the most popular children’s shows are so maddening to parents. Hearing the same thing over and over again can drive you crazy. But children, and dogs, learn most efficiently through routine.

Giving your dog the same commands – and taking him to the same spot every time he has to go to the bathroom – will help him associate the action with the command and the atmosphere. Little by little, your dog will learn that when he has to go, he knows where to go.

Monitor Your Dog at All Times

Training your dog is a process. You must monitor the process at all times. Your dog or puppy will take every opportunity to go inside the house if you’re not looking. The more often you miss the act, the more empowered your dog will feel to continue to go inside. Let your dog know the eye in the sky is watching. He’ll notice. And he’ll feel like he’s doing something wrong.

Every instance you can catch your dog doing the deed in the house is a teachable moment. When you catch your dog in the act, immediately carry or direct him outside to finish. This is the best method for showing your dog what the right reaction to nature’s call is. If you repeat this process a handful of times, your dog will become housetrained very quickly.

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Pick Your Spot

Encouraging your dog to go in the same spot every time he has to go is the key to housetraining. Not everyone, though, has the luxury of shuffling their dog out the front door into a private yard. If you live in the city, or in a smaller space, your options can be limited. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t apply the same principles of potty training.

If you have a small place and a small dog, you may want to utilize “pee pads.” Pee pads provide your dog with a designated spot to do his business. It has the same effect as teaching a dog to go outside – except that it’s inside your home, which, admittedly, is not ideal. Many trainers will caution against the pee pad approach – with good cause.

But many people don’t really have a choice. Here’s the god news – pee pad training can help you transition your dog to going outside. While its true that he will get used to going inside your home, he’ll also get used to a routine and going on a certain spot – as opposed to in a certain spot. You can use this to your advantage. The spot is more important than the area. Learn the difference – and teach it to your dog.

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