Let Fido know his bark has a specific purpose. / GK Hart/Vikki Hart/Getty Images
Q: My newly adopted dog is beginning to understand house training. Now, how do I get him to signal me with “woof” when he’s gotta go out? — A.L., Denver
A: Some dogs are natural-born talk-show hosts, while others are quieter. For dogs that often express themselves, there’s a training technique that offers a good chance for success.
It’s simple: When your dog barks for whatever reason at an appropriate bathroom-break time of day, say “good” and let him out. Eventually, he’ll know to bark when he needs to go. (Obviously, don’t reward a dog for barking at 3 a.m. by letting him out then — unless you want a dog who wakes you in the middle of the night.)
Interestingly, your dog ultimately will develop a specific kind of “Mom, I’ve gotta go potty” bark that will be different from his other barks.
Contributing Editor Steve Dale is a certified pet behavior consultant. See more of his advice at Petphoria at usaweekend.com.