I often see potty training concerns on various dog forums. Although there are some real concerns, I’m actually quite happy to see this as problem. That means that a lot of dogs are living inside with their human families - where they are supposed to be.
Author and behaviorist Jean Donaldson (http://amzn.to/hUgRBH) says that there is nothing sadder than the life of a backyard dog.
So what can pet parents do about the potty training crisis?
First of all, never ever punish potty accidents
In the book, “Oh Behave!..” by Jean Donaldson (http://amzn.to/hizLwX), the author tells us to be Be aware of reverse house training
You see Dusty about to potty in the house. You yell at Dusty and throw him outside. Or worse, you hit your dog or rub his nose in his potty.
Dusty has just learned to never potty in front of you because you are scary and mean when he goes potty.
So he pees in the house when you aren’t there. And when you take him for a walk or stand around outside, he won’t pee, because he is scared of what you will do to him.
Take the dog on long walks, then more walks; Did I mention taking the dog on walks?
I see a lot of complaints about the dog not wanting to potty in the yard, the dog pottying in the house right after pottying in the yard. Walking can fix those issues. And going for walks in new and novel places has so many other benefits - physical exercise, mental stimulation, socialization, etc..
Caution - if your dog or puppy isn’t protected with a full round of vaccinations, check with your vet. Unvaccinated dogs can easily pick up deadly diseases
Take the dog outside often. At least once every hour when you are at home. And get up in the middle of the night at least once
You won’t have to do this forever. But do this in the beginning. It will help you dog to understand what you want.
When your dog potties outside, praise and treat the moment he is done. Don’t stand on the porch and treat as he runs back towards you are back towards the house. Then you will be treating the returning behavior, not the pottying behavior.
Set the dog up for success
Watch Queenie like a hawk. Don’t let her potty in the house so it won’t become a self-reinforcing habit. If you catch Rex about to go potty, calmly take him outside. No yelling, no dragging. When you are at home, you can umbilical cord yourself to your dog (tether your dog to your belt or belt loop or loop the leash around your waist or shoulder. The Euroleash makes this easy - http://amzn.to/iW8uDc
When you can’t watch the dog, set him/her up in a safe room. A kitchen works well because electric outlets are up high, and the floor is usually easy to clean.
Make the kitchen safer by putting the trash out of reach and removing any dangling objects like a table cloth.
If the dog is quite large, then you might have to remove things from the counters so Bumpy can’t get to them.
A crate is another option. But many experts warn against excessive crating. Some will say any more than 3 hours is too long, others have written that 6 hours too long. Many would probably agree that if a dog is crated all day when at work, she probably should not be crated all night as well.
Crate Training 101
No matter how long you plan to leave the dog alone in a crate, here are some things to consider:
Not all dogs take to a crate easily. You need acclimate a dog to a crate.
Play some crate games.
Leave the door open and toss treats in, allowing the dog run in and run out.
One the dog enjoys this, then close the door for one second, then open it. Do this for a while, increasing the time with the door closed (not all in one day).
Once the dog is fine with the door closed, then you can close the door and leave the room for one second then come back. Gradually increasing the time.
Give the dog something to keep him her occupied. Take a Kong (http://amzn.to/isYNbw), stuff it with baby food and kibble, freeze it, then put it in the crate. Or try other safe chew items or give the pet some frozen items. See my 7 layer pupsicles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4OZVVbOEVY
More details on crate training in “Puppy Primer” by Patricia McConnell -- http://amzn.to/fY057I
Make sure the crate is comfortable.
If your dog tears up bedding or if you are concerned about the dog consuming bedding,
Here are some other ideas (be sure to monitor your dog to make sure he doesn’t consume the items and check with your vet to make sure these items are safe.
Put down some sturdy carpet.
Go to your local home supply store. Get some cut from a roll. Or go to a carpet place and buy some carpet squares (carpet samples) - http://amzn.to/luCQ1A
Try some fatigue mats: http://amzn.to/lNJ4LA
Or gym flooring http://amzn.to/jQ86TV
Ian Dunbar (https://kindle.amazon.com/post/1ERFEWWNGKP3Z) suggests a puppy play room for your puppy’s long term confinement. Dunbar states that the playroom requires a comfortable bed, a fresh supply of water, a chew toy, and a toilet. The toilet can be sod or fake turf: http://amzn.to/mC3AlJ
Puppy Play room:
Complaint: Dog doesn’t want to potty in the yard
Complaint: Dog doesn’t want to potty in the rain
Complaint: My dog pees outside then comes into the house and pees again
Complaint: My dog keeps marking the same spot in the house
Get yourself a Miracle. Nature’s Miracle that is. Clean up any accidents with some of of enzyme cleaner. If you don’t the do will smell the pee even if you can’t.
If the smell has soaked through your carpet - you might have to pull it up
Watch your dog like a Hawk. Don’t let him out of your sight. If you see him about to potty, calmlytake him outside. No need to punish or scold, just take him outside so she doesn’t learn the habit of going potty inside.
Book on Potty Training. “Way to Go” by London http://amzn.to/gzbYL3
Here is an excellent video on potty training
More Training Tips at http://blog.mysanantonio.com/latrenda/