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Teaching an older dog to potty on command?

April 10th, 2007, 07:38 PM
I need your opinions. There is somewhat of a situation with the new dog on the block. It barks non-stop when its outside, and it gets put outside for rather long periods of time. To be fair to its care givers, they inherited the dog when their daughter and grand daughter moved in unexpectedly. The regular family that lives there consists of a husband and wife and son with downsyndrom, all of which don't know dogs at all and are afraid of them, even this little 10 lbs shih tzu. The daughter works long hours it would seem and she has off site care giving for the kid. End result, the dog gets put outside for a long time, during all of which it barks at Charley and I if we are outside.

This has been going on for a month and tonight I went over and asked if there was something that could be done so I could reclaim the peace and quiet of my back yard (in a very friendly and non threatning maner I might add)... The dog was wound up tight! I offered to come and get the dog so it could play with Charley in my fenced back yard and also offered to take it walking with us (as I've rarely seen it being walked). The guy was a little put off, but was willing to give it a go.

So my question is, if I can teach it what a clicker is, could I possibly teach it to eliminate on command? They seem to think a dog needs to be outside for extended periods of time to eliminate and if I can show them that she will now do so on command, maybe the peace and quiet of my suburban back yard will return?

Any input welcome!

April 10th, 2007, 08:34 PM
Hi PetFriendly

First of all, THANK YOU for doing a good thing and helping with your neighbour's dog. I'm sure even though at first they were a bit put off, they will really come to realize and appreciate it! :highfive:

Second - I do think you can teach an older dog to eliminate on command with a lot of practice/training. But the problem you might come across here is that the dog will 'go' for you and not for the family if they aren't able/willing to take over the training themselves and be consistent.

Dogs love routine. For example, ours knows that its time to go to the bathroom in the backyard right after each meal. He'd been ill recently and had to 'produce' a stool sample, so my husband even had to send him back out a second time if he didn't come up with it the first time. He used a specific tone of voice to get that accomplished! :laughing:

April 10th, 2007, 10:54 PM
The other thing of course is they simply may not want the dog in the house period. Well, we all know what that poor dog must be going through ~ new house, new neighbourhood, new people, abandoned outside, bored and lonely. :sad:

April 11th, 2007, 04:07 PM
The other thing of course is they simply may not want the dog in the house period.

Well yes, there is that possibility... I'm willing to give this a try though, the grand-daughter is a cute kid and I've seen her playing inside with the dog. The neighbour mentioned having to re-home the dog should the complaints continue, and I'd like to know that I did everything I could to prevent that...

My dog goes on command, so I know it can be taught. And this little shih tzu came readily to me when I called it so I think (and this is my uneducated guess) that if I teach it something others will be able to use the command.

I'll let you know how the play date goes!

April 11th, 2007, 05:19 PM
So, you have just met your new dog?! I ended up with a third a few years ago this way! The little dog I think does need a new environment.

April 11th, 2007, 08:52 PM
Nope, not my kind of dog, too much grooming needed :yuck: , I only brush, I don't clip! :shrug: :o besides, this dog is in a less than good place because its owner is having issues, I guess, it seems otherwise well balanced and has a 6 year girl who loves her.

April 11th, 2007, 10:50 PM
I can tell you that if there is a disturbance that prevents them from being "comfortable" in the yard, a command won't do anything. :o Boo goes on command, but if he's disturbed, he won't go at all.

April 12th, 2007, 07:09 PM
So you're thinking that because she'll be in my yard instead of her own she might not go at all? Which would mean I couldn't teach her to do it on command if she isn't going to begin with?

If you mean that Charley and I would distract her when she's home, yes, there is that, but this guy knows so little about dogs he thinks they are supposed to need to be outside for more than 5 minutes to 'do their thing'.

April 12th, 2007, 08:04 PM
I got my dogs when they were older. And they do pee on command. I just praised them when they were doing it at first (good peepee, good boy/girl) and now I only say ; peepee (when I'm in a hurry) and they do it.

April 12th, 2007, 08:09 PM
Oh sorry, I was really spacey last night.. I thought Charley wasn't going because the dog was barking all the time...

But it would apply to her too- she's in a new place and doesn't seem to have anybody there to show her everything is safe (as you can tell by the constant barking). IMO, she needs routine before you can start introducing commands. Like if she goes in the same spot every day, you couple the spot with the command and she will be able to make the link more easily.