Clicking With Canines

Home | Welcome to Clicker Training | Articles from Karen Pryor Clicker Training | Bio | Training Philosophy, Methods, and Equipment | Research and Development Staff Profiles | Directions to the classroom | Training Tips | Shelter Page

1.  When in the house, watch your dog like a hawk.  Limit the rooms he is able to be in with closed doors or gates.  Your eyes should NEVER be off him.  Consider tying him to you on a 6-8 foot leash or rope, if necessary.  If you cannot watch him, use a crate but correctly train its use first.  Upon seeing signs (vigorously sniffing the floor, going to out of the way areas, scratching at the door) that your dog needs to eliminate, take him outside for a business trip PRONTO. 


2.  For a puppy, plan on taking him outside for a potty break at least every two hours whether it appears he needs to go or not.  The goal is to give puppy MANY opportunities to potty outside and little or no opportunity to potty inside.  This is setting your dog up for success.  If he NEVER has an accident inside, housetraining will go much quicker and easier.  Remember, young puppies do not have much control over their bladder.


3.  Feed on a schedule.  Do not free feed so that you will have a good idea when your puppy will need to eliminate.  Take your puppy out at the following times:

       Right when he wakes up in the morning

       After a vigorous play session (watch him carefully – sometimes it is during!)

       After any naps

       15-30 minutes after he drinks water

       15-20 minutes before and after he eats


4.   AWAYS go with your dog when he goes outside!  It is the only way you can positively reinforce him when he goes outside.  When he does eliminate outside, CLICK just as he/she finishes (not before or you will interrupt the job) and give an especially good reward, like a chunk of cheese, and praise.  Make as if your dog has really done something wonderful (he has).  Also, reward with a walk, game of fetch, or other playtime.  (If he does not eliminate, NO playtime…right back inside instead).


       If he has an accident in the house, do not punish him!  This is just going to scare him and make him think that going to the bathroom in your presence is dangerous.  You may interrupt him with a “Hey!” or “Oops!” or a clapping of your hands.  After he has stopped, take him outside.  If he finishes, great – CLICK and TREAT as above. 


5.  Housetraining is really easy if you adhere to the following:  1)  Watch your dog at all times in the house, limit his inside space, and crate him when he cannot be supervised; 2)  Set him up for success:  Take him outside OFTEN and CLICK/TREAT when he goes outside; 3) reward with especially good food (a whole slice of luncheon meat will work;  4)  Ignore any accidents inside:  make no fuss, just clean it up and be more determined to watch your dog when he is inside.

Steve Benjamin, KPA CTP
Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner
Karen Pryor Academy Faculty Member
P.O. Box 5715
Endicott, New York 13763