Karen B. London
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Hurry Up and Get Busy
Cues to tell dogs to poop

I personally don’t want to be outside saying “Go Poop” out loud to my dogs. I’m not sure why, with all the potty humor I enjoy, that this is embarrassing to me. It makes no sense, especially as I am perfectly comfortable telling them to “Go Pee” in front of anyone, but I require more subtle cues to let dogs know that I am asking them to poop.

It is so useful to have a cue that tells your dog to eliminate. So often, dogs go outside and are occupied with sniffing this and sniffing that or just enjoying the fresh air. Usually, such a leisurely approach to going to the bathroom is not a problem, but occasionally, for whatever reason, we need our dogs to take care of business in a more prompt way. That’s when it’s great to have a specific cue that tells them to urinate or to defecate.

I have used different words to tell dogs to poop, but my two favorites are “Get Busy” and “Hurry Up.” I like these because they allow me to express what I am feeling in the situations in which I am telling my dogs that I want them to eliminate now, before I must go away and leave them for a time. I really DO want them to get busy, and I certainly appreciate it if they can hurry up about it.

Usually, I have had dogs who are quite regular and poop quite predictably morning and evening during walks or runs, or perhaps in the yard before or after such outings. Still, even these dogs sometimes seem a little off, and it helps to have a cue to tell them, essentially, “Go if you can now.”

What cues, if any, do you use for elimination?


Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

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Submitted by B | February 20 2013 |

I just tell my pup to poop. My father in law was surprised he understood!

Submitted by SoCalDude | February 20 2013 |

I normally use either, "Go potty!" or "Do your business!".

Submitted by Karen | February 25 2013 |

Firstly, why be embarrassed by a biological function that we as humans experience the process of elimination as well?

I realized that dogs aren't like tubes of toothpaste (okay, so I get a bit imaginative while waiting for my dogs to poop) and decided that it is not really fair to get them to hurry along when they simply are not ready! Can humans do that?

Words of encouragement can help such as, "make your poops" or "find your spot"! Afterwards, as I pick up, I tell my dogs, "good BM" (I observe the BM for any abnormalities) and follow up with a treat and we are back on our way through the scent buffet, happy and little lighter!

Submitted by Maura | February 26 2013 |

Right before we go back into our apartment after every walk I say "Are you all done?" and then one of my dogs knows that he should totally "empty" himself and he takes care of it all. So if I'm in a hurry and I know he has to go but won't, I just say the same command weather or not we are really going back inside. Works every time!

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