Some people don’t want to use a doggy door for their dog’s house training. For Fido, this represents an issue; even if your dog is very well housebroken and really knows he should only potty outside, he can only get there if his person opens the door for him. This will work fine as long as the person sticks to a predictable schedule, but what happens when your puppy gets sick? Or when he waits by the door for hours but no one notices him? Some dogs that we call “housebroken” still have accidents because they don’t have a way to tell their owner they need to go outside. These dogs need a clear signal they can send to their owner saying, “Open this door. I’ve got to go!”
This training is for you if you’ve already started a housetraining program with your dog and are ready to take it to the next level. Make sure your dog is already doing well with his housebreaking before starting this training. If your dog isn’t sure yet where he’s supposed to be going potty, you’ll have poor results with this training exercise.
Before starting this training, be sure you really want to have a dog that barks for what he wants. If you have a dog that already barks excessively or you really don’t like dog barking, you may be better off teaching your dog to ring a bell to go out. If your dog generally enjoys spending time outside, he may begin to bark when he just wants out, not because he needs to potty. He may also decide to try barking at you to get you to do other things after he learns it works to go out (get his toy from under the couch, give him a massage, pick up some KFC for dinner, etc.). As you might imagine, this can be rather irritating, so if you think your dog might be the type looking for a butler, you may also decide that this training isn’t right for you.
But if you find that you forget to let your dog out, or that you don’t notice his subtle signals saying he has to go out, or if you sleep through them sometimes, this training may be just what you’re looking for. Your dog will learn how to communicate with you, taking some of the responsibility off your shoulders and greatly reducing the chance for future accidents (at least when you’re home). And if he does decide to try to make you into a butler, you can always tell him no.
There are two basic methods of training your dog to bark to go outside. Read the brief descriptions below and pick the method you think will suit you and your dog.
This method will definitely work well if you’ve already started umbilical cord housetraining. It’s also the best method for dogs and puppies who aren’t very excitable, and for owners who don’t want to get your puppy worked up and would rather take the patient approach.
If you aren’t the patient type or don’t want to use the umbilical cord housetraining method for some reason, there’s another option to train your dog to bark to go out. You can start teaching your dog to bark using treats and then make use of this skill in your housetraining. This technique works well with excitable, energetic dogs and puppies. For calmer dogs, Method #1 will probably work best.