First, my apologies for what may seem like an odd choice for first test of video to blog upload--but it was a short clip that didn't require much editing, and as I find my way around my video equipment and editing software for the first time in nearly three years, this seemed like a task of the right magnitude. Be kind--my videography skills are way out of practice! And being trainer as well as videographer at once is going to take some getting the hang of!
Teaching Puppy to Eliminate on Cue - "Go Potty"
Since Tatsuya's very first potty break in my presence, I've been attaching the verbal cue, "Go Potty," to the behavior. Some dog trainers argue that each type of elimination should have its own cue since they are technically different behaviors. When Toffee was a puppy, her elimination cues were "Better Go Now" and "Zoom." (I'll let you guess which was which.) Over time, all eliminations became "Better Go Now." It just didn't seem to make enough of a difference to be worth the effort.
Back to "Go Potty": After just over a week together, Tatsuya seemed to be starting to get the cue. We were moving from the pre-step of attaching the word to the behavior to actually being able to use the word to prompt the behavior (keep in mind that it can take up to sixty repetions of signal-behavior-consequence in a typical dog's training program to get a behavior on cue.)
However, today we went on a fieldtrip to PetEdge in Woburn (check out their clearance room!) and to my dismay, our bathroom cue failed miserably. It was then that I realized we just hadn't yet repeated this particular dog training process very many times or places outside of our own yard. Sure enough, upon returning to familiar territory, "Go Potty" was back in order. So, note to self: don't babble at the puppy! When in a new situation, go back to attaching the verbal cue:
In this video clip, you'll see one repetition of this dog training process:
1. Just as puppy is about to begin elimination, say your cue clearly, just once.
2. As puppy wraps up the elimination, give a reward marker, and follow up with your reward (Tatsuya's reward was off camera...I had to stop shooting to dig out his goodie!)
Click here for more dog training tips by Bette Yip of Picture Perfect Pets in Arlington, MA.