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That lovely Golden Retriever puppy is going to make a great new member of your family. But at the same time, he is going to leave a lot of puddles and piles on the floors of your home until he is fully potty trained. The good news is that retrievers are very intelligent and should be relatively easy to potty train.
Remember, the younger you start training your pup, the easier and faster he will learn. That's not to say an older Golden can't be taught to do his business outside, you may just need to give a little extra consideration to his background and establish habits. In any case, the keys to success are consistency and persistence.
The goal of this type of training is to teach your Golden to stop pooping on the carpet and start doing it out in the yard. Providing you are willing to put in the time and work consistently with your pup, he should be accident-free by the time he reaches 6 months of age. Some dogs do take a little longer, particularly if they are older and aren't familiar with potty training, so don't worry if yours takes more time to get things down. The worst it is likely to mean is that you will have a few more messes to clean up.
The best way to get started on potty training your pup is to start from the moment you bring him home. Get him out of the car, put him on a leash, and take him straight to the designated spot in the yard to go potty. When he does, be sure to praise him and give him a treat. This will help set the stage for future success. You need a few training supplies:
- Crate – For training and to put your pup in when you can't watch him
- Treats – To use as rewards
- Leash – To take him outside on
- Potty Spray – For training purposes
Beyond this, you need to have time to work with your pup and plenty of patience. Remember, positive reinforcement works, getting angry has the complete opposite effect.
The Not in the House Method
Treats at the ready
If you don't have a large supply of your pup's favorite treats, run out and buy some, you'll need plenty.
I've got my eyes on you
Keep your pup in the same room as you and watch him like a hawk. At the first sign he is thinking about pooping (sniffing, scratching, squatting), in a firm voice tell your pup "NO!". Be loud enough to startle him, but do not use an angry voice.
Hit the road, Jack
Hitch your pup to his leash and take him right out to his spot on the lawn. As you head out the door, use a cue word like "Go potty". This will help him associate the command with the desired behavior.
When he goes
When he goes, be sure to praise him and give him a treat.
When he doesn't go
If he doesn't go within 15 minutes, take him back inside. Keep an eye on him and if he assumes the "going potty stance" take him straight back outside.
Keep working with him
The rest is all about working with your pup and extending the time until your pup learns to go potty outside by letting you know or waiting until it is time for you to take him out.
The Oh Spray Can You See Method
You need "The Spray"
There is a magical spray available at your local pet supply store specially made for potty training your pup. It contains dog pheromones designed to attract your dog to the spot you mark and make him want to go potty there to mark it as his territory.
Blowin' on the wind
Take that amazing bottle of smelly stuff and spray an area of your lawn that your pup will be able to use for his personal potty. Apply it liberally to make sure your pup can find it.
Mmmm what's that smell?
Put your pup on his leash and take him out the marked area. He should quickly pick up on the scent and develop a sudden desire to mark the area himself. While most people think that only peeing does this, all dogs have anal scent glands that also mark by coating their poop. When he poops, be sure to praise him and give him a treat.
If he doesn't go
If after 15 minutes he hasn't pooped, take him back inside and keep watching him. The moment he shows signs of needing to go poop, take him back out to the same area. When he finally goes, praise him and give him that treat.
Keep up the good work
Keep working with your pup every day, slowly extending the time between outings until he finally understands that the only place he is allowed to go poop, or pee for that matter, is outside in the area you marked at the beginning.
The Training Crate Method
Start out with a training crate
Start out by placing your pup in his crate with a few toys, a bowl of water, and a bed to lay down on. Set a timer for 30 minutes. When it goes off, take your pup outside to go potty using a verbal cue, like "potty time!" on the way out.
If your pup has not pooped after 5 minutes, take him back inside and put him in his crate. Wait for another 30 minutes and then take him back out using your cue.
A successful poop
If your pup poops, give him lots of praise and a treat.
Once he figures it out
Once your pup figures out what you want of him, he is going to do his best to make you happy by holding himself until it is time to go out.
A daily workout
Keep working with your dog every day, slowly increasing the time between potty breaks. In time, as he reaches adulthood, he will be able to hold himself for several hours at a time. Your job is now complete!
By PB Getz
Published: 03/02/2018, edited: 01/08/2021