How to Train a Golden Retriever to Poop Outside

Medium
1-6 Months
General

Introduction

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. 

Defining Tasks

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. 

Getting Started

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

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Step
1
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.
Step
2
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.
Step
3
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.
Step
4
When he goes
When he goes, be sure to praise him and give him a treat.
Step
5
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.
Step
6
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.
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The Oh Spray Can You See Method

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Step
1
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.
Step
2
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.
Step
3
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.
Step
4
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.
Step
5
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.
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The Training Crate Method

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Step
1
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.
Step
2
Five-minute intervals
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.
Step
3
A successful poop
If your pup poops, give him lots of praise and a treat.
Step
4
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.
Step
5
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!
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Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Roy
Golden Retriever
2 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Roy
Golden Retriever
2 Months

How to train the dog to not poop inside the house

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
85 Dog owners recommended

Very cute! I have the perfect guide for teaching Roy to poop outside. Take him often, even when you don't think he needs it and eventually he will catch on. Clean up any accidents inside with an enzymatic cleaner as it is the only thing that will remove the odor. You may not smell it but Roy does and will continue to go to the bathroom inside. Try either the Crate Method or the Timing Method:https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside. They work well. Good luck!

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Question
Adena
Golden Retriever
8 Weeks
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Question
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Adena
Golden Retriever
8 Weeks

Hi. We just got an 8-week golden retriever and it’s been really tough training him in the crate. When he starts barking loud we take him out and he ignores the pad (even if we use the spray) and he’s been peeing and pooping on the carpet. After he’s done all of this, we lace him back in the crate and she begins barking again and since we live in an apartment we don’t want a noise complaint; so, we take him out. We really need help!

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
87 Dog owners recommended

Hello! It sounds like you have your hands a little full. Right now, he is still pretty young and doesn't quite know what is "normal" or expected of him. I am going to send you some potty/crate training basics that will help you speed this process along. Potty training: Know Your Pup. As you spend time with your puppy, learn your puppy’s love language. Just as some people prefer gifts, touch, or time spent together, puppies can be the same way. Some puppies love praise or pets, while others prefer treats. As you get to know your puppy, consider what reward your puppy loves the most. Create a Daily Schedule. It is best to have a routine for your puppy. A schedule helps them understand when to eat, play, and “go to the bathroom.” Your puppy should go out frequently and the routine should be the same every time. When? Start the day by taking your puppy outside, and repeating based on age and ability. They should also go out after napping, chewing, playing, and within 10 to 15 minutes of eating. Although some puppies can sleep for seven hours, it is important to set an alarm and take your pup out during the night. When you do, don’t make a fuss about it. Quietly take them outside with minimal stimulation and light. Praise them if they go to the bathroom and gently return them to their bed or crate. You don’t want them to get stimulated and ready to play in the middle of the night! As you get to know your puppy, you will become aware of their individual habits. Click here to learn more about house training schedules for puppies. Where? Take your puppy to a specific area to urinate or defecate. Be consistent. You can create an area by using urine-soaked paper or bowel movements to help create an aroma to stimulate your puppy. How? Take your puppy out on a leash so they can focus on the desired activity. This will help prevent them from wandering off to play. Once your puppy is in the selected area, use your verbal cue, such as “Hurry Up,” “Poopies,” “Go tinkle,” or any phrase your puppy responds to. What? Know the signs that your puppy has to go to the bathroom. Every animal may have a different “I gotta go” gesture, which often include restlessness, sniffing around, circling, scratching at the door, barking, and, eventually, squatting. At the first sign that your pup has to go, calmly and quickly take them outside to their bathroom spot. Deal with Accidents. Accidents are a normal part of house training a puppy. What to Do If you see your puppy in the process of urinating or defecating inappropriately, calmly and quickly interrupt them in the act. Tell them to stop (either by a jarring sound or command), and immediately take them to an appropriate location for elimination. After your puppy goes to the bathroom, lavishly praise them and offer a treat. Thoroughly clean up accidents, so your puppy is not attracted to this area again. Create a consistent feeding and watering schedule. Depending on the age of your puppy, they will eat three to four times a day. A consistent feeding routine can create a regular bathroom schedule. Take away water about 2 hours before bedtime. Learn more about ideal dog schedules here. What NOT to Do Don’t punish your puppy when they have an accident. At that point, it is too late. When a puppy has an accident in the house and they walk away, within seconds they have already forgotten about what they did. Taking them to the scene of the crime and yelling and/or rubbing their nose in it does not help and, in fact, can harm your puppy! Supervise. The best thing you can do is to prevent accidents and the best way to do this is to supervise your puppy at all times. You can tether your puppy to your waist with a five or six-foot leash and carefully observe them for signs that they need to go to the bathroom. If you can’t supervise, then crate or confine your puppy. The more accidents your puppy has in the house, the more confusing it will be for them and this can delay house training. Reward, Reward, Reward. It is important to give your puppy a reward for their good behavior. This can be for commands such as sitting and coming to you, or for appropriately eliminating outside. In a puppy, a reward can be a couple kibbles of puppy food or a treat, such as a small piece of meat. The treat should be exciting for them and only available as a result of good behavior. Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog's age, temperament and past experiences. It's important to keep two things in mind while crate training: The crate should always be associated with something pleasant and training should take place in a series of small steps. Don't go too fast. Step 1: Introduce your dog to the crate Place the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Take the door off and let the dog explore the crate at their leisure. Some dogs will be naturally curious and start sleeping in the crate right away. If yours isn't one of them: Bring them over to the crate and talk to them in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is open and secured so that it won't hit your dog and frighten them. Encourage your dog to enter the crate by dropping some small food treats nearby, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If they refuse to go all the way in at first, that's OK; don't force them to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If they aren’t interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days. Step 2: Feed your dog meals in the crate After introducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding them their regular meals near the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. If your dog is readily entering the crate when you begin Step 2, place the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. If they remain reluctant to enter, put the dish only as far inside as they will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed them, place the dish a little further back in the crate. Once your dog is standing comfortably in the crate to eat their meal, you can close the door while they’re eating. The first time you do this, open the door as soon as they finish their meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until they’re staying in the crate for 10 minutes or so after eating. If they begin to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving them in the crate for a shorter time period. If they do whine or cry in the crate, don’t let them out until they stop. Otherwise, they'll learn that the way to get out of the crate is to whine, so they'll keep doing it. Step 3: Practice with longer crating periods After your dog is eating their regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine them there for short time periods while you're home. Call them over to the crate and give them a treat. Give them a command to enter, such as "crate." Encourage them by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the crate, praise them, give them the treat and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to 10 minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time and then let them out. Repeat this process several times a day, gradually increasing the length of time you leave them in the crate and the length of time you're out of sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you mostly out of sight, you can begin leaving them crated when you're gone for short time periods and/or letting them sleep there at night. This may take several days or weeks. Step 4, Part A: Crate your dog when you leave After your dog can spend about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving them crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put them in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave them with a few safe toys in the crate. Vary the moment during your "getting ready to leave" routine that you put your dog in the crate. Although they shouldn't be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate them anywhere from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving. Don't make your departures emotional and prolonged—they should be matter-of-fact. Praise your dog briefly, give them a treat for entering the crate and then leave quietly. When you return home, don't reward your dog for excited behavior by responding to them in an enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low-key to avoid increasing their anxiety over when you will return. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when you're home so they don't associate crating with being left alone. Step 4, Part B: Crate your dog at night Put your dog in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night and you'll want to be able to hear your puppy when they whine to be let outside. Older dogs should also initially be kept nearby so they don't associate the crate with social isolation. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night with the crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer, although time spent with your dog—even sleep time—is a chance to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Potential problems Whining: If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether they’re whining to be let out of the crate, or whether they need to be let outside to eliminate. If you've followed the training procedures outlined above, then your dog hasn't been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from their crate. If that is the case, try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, they'll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at them or pounding on the crate will only make things worse. If the whining continues after you've ignored them for several minutes, use the phrase they associate with going outside to eliminate. If they respond and become excited, take them outside. This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If you're convinced that your dog doesn't need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore them until they stop whining. Don't give in; if you do, you'll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what they want. If you've progressed gradually through the training steps and haven't done too much too fast, you'll be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again. Separation anxiety: Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won't solve the problem. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but they may get injured in an attempt to escape. Separation anxiety problems can only be resolved with counterconditioning and desensitization procedures.

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