What The Heck Is Umbilical Cord Training?

Question that came into ADTM central yesterday:

Hi Eric, I really enjoy receiving your emails 🙂

However, I didn’t understand some of the suggestions in the last one; what exactly is an “x-pen” and “umbilical cord training”?

Thank you so much,


Good question Angela. In case you missed yesterday’s email I was talking about housetraining and taking small, 1% steps to solve any behavior problem or teach any command.

I listed some steps you could follow for housetraining and I mentioned x-pens and umbilical cord training.

So let’s discuss housetraining a little further.

Housetraining is mostly about management and rewards. Unfortunately, many think it is about punishment. Punishment really has no place in housetraining and here’s why:

Punishing your dog for pooping in your house can intimidate and scare your dog. It can make your dog nervous about eliminating in front of you.

One statement I hear a lot is this: “I take my dog outside for an hour and stand there. He does nothing and then the minute we come in the house and I turn my back he goes.”

Classic example of a dog that will not go when the owner is around and it usually stems back to being punished.

Housetraining is about management and rewarding. An X-pen is just a small fenced in area. They are great for puppies because there is more space than a crate and you can use them to manage your dog’s behavior.

Umbilical cord training is simply having a leash around your waist attached to your dog. Now wherever you go your dog goes. If he starts to pee or poop you just start heading for the door.

Housetraining is heavy management. The second part is rewarding your dog for going in the right place. Markers can be extremely helpful with this. A clicker is a marker. If your dog has been conditioned to a clicker you can “click” the second your dog has finished peeing or pooping outside. The marker signals to your dog that they have just done the correct behavior.

If you don’t dig clickers you can teach a word like “YES” that will have the same effect.

Which leads to why you have to go with your dog outside until they are completely housetrained.

Sound good?

BTW – if you need more specialized help with housetraining or any other dog problems head on over to The Dog Training Inner Circle. It’s loaded with common sense help and tips to help you train your dog.

Here’s where to go if you want in:

Dog Training Inner Circle



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