Dogs can easily be trained to go in a certain spot outside using the Marker Training rewards system. Follow the clicker training directions using the marker word Yes instead of the clicker. Remember to be consistent with the command and reward within 1 second of the desired behavior! A dogs natural instinct is not to soil the area where it lives. So the principle is to build your trust in your dog not to soil in confined areas like the crate, then expand those areas and your trust gradually.
Another practical command that should be taught is the park / business / potty / (eliminate) command. I’ve spent many cold nights waiting on my dog. If you don’t have a fenced in yard, and take your dog out on a leash, it can be pretty frustrating sometimes getting your dog to realize that he’s there for a reason, and it’s not checking out the neighborhood dog news.
Step 1: Designate a specific spot in your yard to make clean-up easier.
Step 2: Wait until he finishes eliminating, then click and treat.
Step 3: Do this each time, introducing a command such as “Park” or “Find a good spot.”
Step 4: Be consistent, but vary the reward.
When it’s cold and rainy outside, you can imagine how helpful an obedience command such as this would be. When teaching Caspian to park on command, we would take a bag of treats and a clicker with us whenever we took him outside. As well as food treats, we would treat him in other ways as well, such as playing with a tennis ball or frisbee. If you start out by bringing your dog in immediately after he is finished, you may teach him to prolong parking so that that he can explore more and have more time outside. Playing with Caspian afterwards trained him to do his business first, then playing and exploring comes afterwards.
After training for days, I say, “Park!” but he doesn’t go! Pay attention to step 4: Be consistent, but vary the reward. Make sure you take something outside with you that your dog really wants, and make sure he knows you have it. If you’ve established that, then he’ll try doing everything he can to get it, which will result in good behavior.
Tip: You don’t have to give your dog a food treat each time you click. Try playing fetch with him for a while, or taking him on a nice, long walk! Dogs love attention just as much as they do food.