Walking the Dog: Hurry Up, Rover!
My dogs have learned a lot of commands, but none is more important than “Hurry up.” Yes, that wonderful command prompts them to get the job done quickly so I can return home to a warm cup of coffee on a cold morning. Now don’t get me wrong. “Come,” “Sit,” and “Lie down” are all important, but none of them will prevent frostbite.
Teaching your dog to eliminate on command is a relatively straightforward and simple process. It does take a little work, but the more you go out with the dog and train, the sooner he’ll learn what you want him to do. This means you should start now. Besides getting yourself and your pet back inside when the weather is miserable, the command is a real time saver when traveling or visiting any new environment where Bubba might easily be distracted from getting the job done.
Those Special Words
The first step is to chose your command words. You can choose anything you like as long as you consistently use the same words. “Do your thing,” “Download,” “Go poop,” or “Go pee” are all fine. But, you may want to follow my uncle Norm’s advice: Don’t use words you would be embarrassed to call out in the neighborhood. Because, sure enough, someday you’ll find yourself repeating “Go poop” in front of your daughter’s teacher or a group of nuns. For my dogs, I’ve always used the command words, “Hurry up.”
Consistency is Key
The command must be given every time your pet just begins the act of elimination. Say the words a couple of times in an upbeat tone just as the dog assumes the position. Continue this association phase for about three weeks and then test the pet to see if he has learned. As he starts to wander about sniffing the morning scents in the yard, give the command. If the dog begins pre-elimination sniffing and circling and then eliminates, you can pat him and yourself on the back and go for the coffee. If your pet ignores you, continue making the word-behavior association for a few more weeks and then try the test again. The average dog will learn to eliminate on command within three weeks to three months.
A Cautionary Tale
The owners to whom I have taught this command have been quite excited about teaching their pets—all except for one woman. It seems her young sons were always running late. She was worried that every time she told her boys to “hurry up,” her dog would urinate in the house!