Convincing Your Dog to Potty in One Place

Having a dog that eliminates in a designated place is a real advantage. No yellow stains marking up the lawn, no standing outside for hours waiting for your dog to go, a handy travel cue to take with you on trips; the benefits are endless!

You can teach this trick whether or not your dog is fully house-trained. And when you succeed, you will consider it no small miracle. Just follow these steps:

1. Select a "sacred bathroom area" in your yard. Using white clothesline, create a 6- to 12-foot-wide circle to designate this area. Take your dog to this area on lead when you're sure he's got to go!

2. If your dog goes potty in the circle say, "Get Busy." When he's finished, give him a treat and be sure to tell him, "Good Dog!" If he misses your mark, praise warmly but don't give him a treat.

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If your dog decides to play with the rope, soak it overnight in Bitter Apple Spray (found in local pet supply stores), a nontoxic substance with a taste dogs find unpleasant. Have faith! Soon your dog will be as potty-trained as a 6-year-old.

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Pick up after your dog! No dog goes where she's gone 20 times before. Would you?

City canines

So you don't have a three-acre spread in the country — don't feel bad. The rope trick can work for city folks, too; you just need to modify the circle to encompass the curb. After all, if you're in the city, dogs must eliminate on the curb.

City dog owners must clean up poops immediately. Though there are designer pooper-scoopers on the market, I've found it very tidy to cover my hand with a plastic bag, pick up the poop, and then turn the bag inside out to surround the deposit.

Inside jobs

Do you have an indoor dog? The circle trick may not be necessary because your dog usually goes wherever the paper is placed. If you and your dog are seasoned travelers, however, a portable rope outlining the paper can help ease the travel transition for your dog.

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Wherever you live, hang bells by your front door, level with your dog's nose. Encourage your dog to ring the bells by tapping them with your fingers each time you make a run to the sacred bathroom area. Soon your dog rings the bells every time she has to eliminate. Some trick!

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