When people ask me about skills that I deem important for traveling dogs, I always start with “Potty on Command.” Many people look at me in disbelieve. Really? Why would teaching your dog to do his business on command be such a big deal? But I insist, teaching your dog to potty on command is one of the most needed skills if you like to take your dog with you on day-trips or vacations. Here are my 3 reasons why you should teach your dog to potty on command.
1. Unfamiliar Places are Distracting
Whether you travel far or just to the local Farmers’ Market, all the new and unusual smells are very distracting for your dog, so he will be too busy taking it all in and he will forget to do his thing. Then, when you are walking in a crowded area, he will remember that he has to go and relieve himself in the most inappropriate area. Believe me, I’ve been there.
This is why being able to tell your dog when he should do his business is so useful. I make it a habit to find a nice grassy area and have my dogs relieve themselves, before I take them to any busy area. This way I am sure there won’t be any messes right outside the restaurant or in the aisle of the Farmers’ Market.
When you trained your dog to potty on command, you are able to tell him to relieve himself before you get to the restaurant or the market place.
2. You Can Choose the Right Place
But it's not only convenient to tell your dog when to go, but also when and where not to go! When you are out with your dog, there are lots of places that are inappropriate for your dog to do his business.
When I travel with my dogs, I find there are a lot of places that say “No pets!” By being able to tell my dogs when it’s appropriate to go, I can make sure we don’t break any rules at campgrounds or hotels.
3. It's Helpful When You Have Little Time
Quite often when you travel, there isn’t a lot of time for potty breaks, especially when you travel by airplane. There is seldom a lot of time between flights and it can be difficult to get to an area your dog can use the potty at. Many airport terminals now offer dog areas. These small areas are usually lined with fake grass or even tile. Naturally they are constantly cleaned with heavy duty chemicals to prevent the spread of diseases. Many dogs will not relieve themselves in these places, unless they are trained to do so. When your dog has learned to potty on command, he is likely to relieve himself in any circumstance and no longer requires to walk around and sniff for just the right spot. For smaller dogs, it is ideal to use a potty pad in addition to the command, as this allows you to have your dog “go” in any area that you lay down the pad. This way you can take your pet to an appropriate area or even put the potty pad into his crate and have him relieve himself.
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