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Ask a Trainer Question Answered

Author: Andrea Miller | Date: November 1, 2012

Here’s the next round of answers for our Ask a Trainer feature on our website. It’s your chance to get dog training advice from the pros at AnimalSense. Stay tuned for more questions & answers, and if you have a burning dog training question, just “Ask a Trainer”!

My 16 month old Cairn does not let me know when he has to go out. Can this be taught?

Of course! House training can be a difficult journey but with some solid structure, your dog will soon learn that the only place to go is outside.

Stick to a Schedule

It’s important to have a regular schedule in order to help your dog learn to control elimination. The more opportunity you provide your dog to go to the bathroom outside, the fewer accidents you will have indoors. To start, take him out first thing in the morning, about 15-20 minutes after every meal, midday, evening and then right before bed. If you need help, a dog walking service can make sure your dog gets the right number of bathroom breaks he needs. You can eventually build up the amount of time he needs to hold it, but by providing a schedule, you’ll help his body become regulated. Always use LOTS of praise when your dog goes outside. Make him think he just won the lottery!

Look for Cues

Dogs will often provide cues before they need to eliminate. Look for circling, pacing, whining, stopping in the middle of an activity or walking away. If you notice any of these signs, take your dog out.

Crate Training

Use a crate to get your adolescent dog house trained faster. It will help your dog control the urge to eliminate because he won’t want to use the bathroom in the same place that he rests. Buy a crate that is large enough to allow your dog to stand up, turn around and lay down comfortably.

Ring My Bell

You can also train your dog to notify you when he needs to go outside. Hang a bell from the doorknob and place a small amount of peanut butter in the bell. When the dog licks the bell, it will ring. Immediately say “outside” and open the door and take the dog out. After a few days, stop using the peanut butter. The dog will learn that ringing the bell means it can go outside. Of course, the dog will probably ring the bell when it wants to play in the yard, too, but the bell can be a handy tool for house training.

If you are experiencing trouble with house training, give us a call. A private training session may be just what you need to get your dog on track to success.


When I think of how my dog was when I brought her home from the shelter, I marvel at the change.

Karen M. | View Client Testimonials


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