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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ask the Dog Trainer:
Two Steps for Housetraining

by Michael Baugh, CPDT-KA, CDBC
Frequent Trips Outside
Dear Michael:
I have friends who are having big problems with their dog...not sure why she is telling me this now but they took Diego in as a stray a few years ago and he pees on everything. They have to rip up their carpets and replace the drapes in their house. Diego is about to be given up by my friends and I know their son will be heart broken, as well as their kids.

I told them they should try crate training even if Diego is 7. Do you have any resources to recommend for this???
Dear Patti,
There are only two main challenges with potty training a dog. Number one and number two. Sorry – easy joke. Interestingly, the solution is a two step process too. And, all is not lost. There is hope for house training, even later in life.

The trouble is, Diego just doesn’t know where to go and where not to go. And, rest assured, dog potty accidents are never really a matter of spite or revenge. Deigo is just confused, not unusual for a dog who’s been a stray. Here’s the solution.

First, you are right! Crate training is part of the plan, but not the whole plan. Diego needs some simple structure. 1) He should be actively supervised whenever possible, both inside and outside. That means a human is with him and not distracted by anything else. 2) If Diego can’t be supervised, he needs to be safely confined (that could mean in his crate). Dogs tend not to urinate in their sleeping places. If Diego is going to be alone for a long period of time, he could be kept in a room without carpet – but with some potty pads.

If his people follow these two simple rules they will never have to ask the question, “where’s Diego.” He will be with them or safely confined. In neither case will he be sneaking away to another room to poop or pee.

When it’s time to go outside, Diego still needs to be supervised. Once he’s relieved himself, his people should immediately praise him and give him 3 small tasty bits of food. Do that right on the spot; don’t wait for him to come back inside. This teaches Diego that going potty outdoors pays better than going indoors. That’s going to put him on track for learning house manners – and how to hold his water.

© Robyn Arouty
Michael and Stella
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Houston Dog Trainer Michael Baugh CPDT-KSA, CDBC is the owner and chief potty trainer at Michael’s Dogs Training and Behavior. Michael's advice does not replace an actual consultation with a qualified trainer.


Laura Pazos said...

I have a 7 month old puppy and he has accidents only when I am not home. It doesn't matter how short of a time I am gone. I always take him out before I leave. Can this be anxiety related? Do you have any recommendations?

Carrie, with Tanner and Oliver said...

@Laura Pazos: Crate your pup while away until he is a good bit older and more into a routine. He is still quite young.

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