Benefits of teaching and using an EMPTY command
Ever been in a hurry to go somewhere, and you know you will be gone for a while, so it’s vital your dog go potty before you leave? You let your dog outside, either on its own or via a leash, and all the dog has on his mind is sniffing, playing or investigating the yard causing you to be frustrated and late. What if you could teach your dog to go potty on command?
Using Pavlov teaching to induce a reaction
Here, at Otter Tail Kennels, I train dogs to go potty using the command “empty”. It’s easy to teach and comes in handy frequently.
To teach the empty command, I use classical conditioning learned from Mr. Pavlov from the late 1800’s. For those that remember psychology in school, Pavlov had dogs salivating at the ring of a bell. How did he do that? Simply by ringing a bell each time, prior to giving the dog food. Over time, the dog associated the bell with being fed.
I approach teaching the empty command in a similar way. Every time, and I repeat every time, the dog is going potty, I casually say the word “empty”. After doing this for several days, I then say the command just before I detect the dog is about to defecate or urinate. By saying the word each time the dog is going potty, it is only a matter of time before all I have to do is say the word and I get the conditioned response I want.
A couple of caveats
- First, the dog will actually need to go, if their system is not in need the command will fail.
- Second, and most importantly, I do not ever test the dog with this command. I have had several people request I say the command, just so they can see the dog respond. This is a recipe for disaster. Again, only say the command when you know the dog is able to respond.
Final thoughts on teaching your dog to go potty on command
While this is not a magic pill that will make your dog a robot when it comes to going potty, I have found that it can speed up the process when you need a quick response.
Remember, if you really want your retriever to grow and progress in his/her hunting training this year but doing the training yourself sounds overwhelming or maybe your schedule is just too busy to get it done, I’m here to help! You can email me (email@example.com) or just give me a call. I would be happy to discuss your goals for your retriever and tell you about the programs I offer.
Until next time, happy retrieving.