Dog Only Eliminates in One Location

Here is how to Train to Eliminate Anywhere


We adopted a puppy in March at 3 months old. We had no problem house training Duke. The problem is he will not eliminate when we take him for a walk, go hiking, go to the dog park, etc. He will hold until we get home and he went to the area we trained him to eliminate. How can I train him to eliminate when we take him for a walk or hiking?


Dr. Nichol:

Duke follows the letter of the law. He connects that one location in your yard with elimination-end of story. The trick will be to teach him to associate urination and defecation with a verbal command regardless of where he is.


The next time Duke makes it clear that he needs to see a man about a horse equip yourself with a bag of special treats and lead him on-leash to his special place. As soon as he hikes his leg or squats say the magic word, hand him one outrageously good treat, and then take him for a brief walk off property-the natural reward that’s hard-wired into all canine brains. Repeat every time nature calls for several days, using the same command and reward ritual.


For Duke’s next restroom adventure, instead of heading for the yard, take that good dog for a walking tour of neighborhood trees, bushes, and fire hydrants. Show him a tasty morsel and say the secret word. If he produces give him the treat and nominate him for president. On the other hand, if he looks confused and forlorn take him home in silence. Failure to produce gets no treat and no place on the ballot.


At some point the light will dawn. You and Duke can then reach for the stars as you expand his horizons to include canine restrooms all over our state as he learns to connect the command and reward with eliminating anywhere in the great outdoors. Have faith. Even if it takes him 4 years there’s always vice president or governor.