Puppy Potty Training by Prodogz Dog Training
If there is one thing that new puppy owners hate over anything else, that is trying to potty train their brand new puppy. Although this can be a rather frustrating and challenging task it also can be relatively simple with the correct know-how and tools. So let us see if I can help you with some “know how” in potty training your new puppy. Potty training I think is no different from teaching your puppy how sits or down, it’s based on timing and reward. It seems when people who know nothing about dog training try to potty train their puppy, they always resort to the “rub their nose in it” method. When I hear people doing this it makes me cringe and feel sorry for their dog. In some ways I cannot truly get mad at dog owners who just do not know better and usually, this method is passed down like a family tradition. Whether you are new to reading my blogs or are a frequent visitor you will often hear me talk about thinking like a dog and from a dog’s perspective and here it’s not any different.
Defecating or urinating to an animal has the same meaning as wagging its tail or barking, both are unthought-of actions, when the dog is stimulated the dog barks, when the dog has a need to urinate, he or she goes. So it’s important that dog owners look at it from this point of view when potty training and not from a humanistic point of view of using the bathroom, which is a thought-out act, meaning when you and I need to use the restroom you find a bathroom and relieve yourself. With that in mind, I also get very annoyed that dog owners will rub their dog's nose in the dog's feces or urine; well after the fact the dog did it. It seems people also forget that dogs do not have the attention span and memory you and I do; this is why in teaching animals certain behaviors we are also repeating the action in order to help the animal build muscle memory.
So what is the solution you ask? The solution is first timing and trust, second, it's understanding your dog and third its clear communication. When I am talking about timing and trust, I am talking about you the handler remembering that in many ways potty training is an all-day task, I will explain more shortly. When I am talking about trust, I am talking about the trust your dog is going to build with you in understanding that you know he or she has a need to go potty and that you will not forget that. Regarding understanding your dog, this is pretty simple and covers everything from reading your animal to also knowing how your animal’s body works, which I will also explain shortly. Last; clear communication which I think covers the first two and much more. One thing you will learn from owning a dog and trying to potty train him or her is often the dog will be selective of where they will relieve themselves, often we will see them sniff around or find a spot that is off in a corner or not around their sleeping area. Understanding this is a crucial part of potty training, because one of the first things I tell my client is to get a crate. Although any crate whether be metal or plastic will work it's important that you get one that is not oversized for your particular dog, other words if you have a Jack Russell Terror do not buy a crate made for a Great-Dane this will defeat our purpose.
Remember what I said earlier about your dog will normally try to find a location away from his normal area of romping around to go potty? Well, this is because although animals can sometimes be gross like eating dead things and sniffing stinky stuff they still try to be clean and not play or romp in an area where they go to the bathroom. This is why a crate is a great tool for teaching your dog how to potty on command and how to go outside before doing so. Because the crate is so small your dog will have a difficulty finding a spot to go potty in that he or she will also not be lying in its waste, so, therefore, this act of simple cleanliness on your dog’s part helps you start controlling when your dog has to go to the bathroom. Now, this does not mean that your dog will not have accidents or this will work for every dog, but it does seem to work for most. You also need to keep in mind if your dog is not crate trained this will not work, I will write a blog on crate training in the near future but for the time being, I am going off the assumption that your dog is crate trained.
Now that we have talked about crates and how your dog thinks in regards to going potty let’s move into some step by step training and talk about timing and clear communication. When potty training your puppy or dog it is important to keep the dog's age in mind, a 1-year-old dog is going to be able to hold its bowls longer then a 12-week old puppy, so you must tailor your timing based on the age of your dog. Something else to keep in mind is do not start trying to potty train your dog without having the time to do so, this is something to start on a weekend when you will be home. The first step to this process is placing your dog in the crate for a couple hours, once again the length needs to be determined by the age of your dog. The second step is after your dog has been in the crate for a set amount of time you need to take the dog outside on a leash to the area where you want him or her to go potty. This is a very important step, usually owners will not take their dog outside on leash they will merely run the dog freely outside. Placing the dog on a leash does two things, one it does not allow the animal to have an accident from the time he or she comes out of the crate till they reach the door going outside and it always you the handler to be right next to the dog to reward them for going outside to potty. I would strongly recommend before even letting your dog out of the crate you have some treats for them because the moment they go potty outside you need to be saying your command which in my case is “hurry up”. So with your dog on a leash outside, walk around until your dog relieves him or herself and the moment they do or finishes doing so say “hurry up” and reward them with a treat. Your dog may not go potty right away, this is where you need to be patient and wait for them to do so, it may take some time but it will happen. So let’s say your dog stands outside for a long period of time, and nothing happens take your dog back inside and place them in their crate for another 30 minutes then repeat the process, I almost guarantee that after a couple of times of doing this your dog will eventually go.
Up to now we have laid the groundwork for our potty training, we have placed our puppy in the crate for a certain amount of time, we have then put the puppy on leash and taken him or her outside, and the puppy has gone potty while we said “hurry up” and rewarded with food. From here the rest is about timing and trust. We know that most likely because our puppy or dog just potty outside that it will be a little while before they have to go again, now this may verify depending on how much water they drank and when their last meal was but it’s a good guess that they will not go again for the next hour. So this is the time to let them be free inside the house, it is important that we bring them back inside because we are trying to teach them to go potty outside although they are running free inside. The next step is basically repeating the first step, so now that your dog has had some freedom inside the house it’s time for them to go back into the crate. Once again after the dog or puppy has been in the crate for a set time we put them on a leash, take them outside with some treats and walk around till they go potty and the moment they do we say “hurry up” and reward them. This process of being in the crate, then going outside then going back in the crate then going outside again is teaching the animal that he or she is to go outside to go potty and is allowing you the owner to manipulate at what times your dog goes potty in-order to show them where to go. During this process, you are also teaching them what “hurry up” means and this is a very useful command to have when taking your dog to the park or traveling with your dog. If you have done this correct your dog should be over a couple day period of time what the meaning of “hurry up” means and that outside is where he or she goes potty. Now it’s simply about time and trust, as you feel for confident and your dog trusts in you to take him or her outside you can slowly decrease the time they are in the crate and the time they are free in the home. Always remember, dogs are animals and sometimes will make mistakes and most of the times those mistakes are a result of something we as owners have done. When it comes to potty training usually owners rush to quickly and start trusting the dog too much, or they will leave the dog in the crate too long or the dog will have too much water previous to going in the crate and will not be able to hold it. Whatever the case may be, before you get upset because that your dog had an accident, think about if that accident was a result of you not doing your part.
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