Monday, November 23, 2009
Many people just throw the dog outside and expect him or her to magically know why you threw them out of the house. They wait 15 to 20 minutes and let the dog back in, after all that should have been long enough right? Then wonder why after 30 seconds back in the house they pee on the carpet. Do these stories sound similar? Your poor dog with no direction has to deal with every sight, scent, sound, taste and texture of the back yard and you expect them to remember to pee! (I don't think so).
You have to train when to go outside to pee and when it is time to play, and the best tool you have for that is your leash! When you start potty training pick a cue word, I say "Potty, Potty". I use the word twice once to get the dog to the back door, and once to cue the action in the back yard. When the dog comes to the back door we put on our leash and we walk with our dog (yes you have to go with the dog) to the potty spot. You choose where this will be, lets face you should pick the space, you will be doing the scooping. Once there plant roots like a tree and wait. The dog will be able to move around you but you will not wonder all over the backyard. Half the time all they are doing is checking there P-mail anyway :) Give the dog a reasonable amount of time to go, lets say 10 minutes max. Don't forget to use the cues word occasionally and especially when the golden moment arrives! If 10 minutes goes by with out any potty progress then take the dog back inside and place them in their crate for 5-10 minutes and repeat the process. Yes it is a battle of wills, but it is one your carpet will appreciate! Once the dog has done there business simply reward your dog by taking them off the leash and playing with them. As time goes by they will learn the faster the business gets done the faster Mom and/or Dad will take the leash of and play with me. The dog also leans the leash and backyard equals potty time and the backyard without the leash equals play time. Once this behavior has been learned then the leash will not be necessary, but until then use the leash. The next post will discuss how to clean mistakes, train your dog to ring a bell to go outside and the possible pit falls of potty training.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
It is teaching dogs that your entire house is their den! Dogs in general are considered very clean animals, and do not want to soil in their den. The potty problem arises when the dog does not consider your entire home their den. In the wild dogs have no concept of holding it! It’s like the old joke what does a bear do in the woods :) The same thing as a dog does…they pee and poop on or next to the closest tree.
So for me, the first thing to teach a dog when potty training is how to hold their bladder and bowels. The easiest way to achieve this is to crate train. We know that dogs are den animals and that they don't want to soil in their home. This is the key to step one. By crate training we will use their clean nature to teach them to "hold it". Let me be clear here; if you are dealing with a puppy and stick them in a crate, they will hold it only as long as they physically can. So don't just throw your dog in a crate and consider your job done. A good rule of thumb is one hour for every month they are old plus one hour. So an eight week old puppy should be able to hold it for approximately three hours (2 months = 2 hours plus1 additional). If you leave your puppy in the crate any longer than that, then expect an accident and possibly the side effect of teaching the dog it is OK to soil in the crate. Now that we know a basic timeline, we have to take the dog out every three hours, at least, to prevent accidents and to begin teaching good potty habits.
I look at potty training a little different from others by considering only one spot as the correct area to go to the bathroom and all others as new options where our dogs can go. Let’s say the dog has had 12 accidents since you brought them home, the dog now sees life as having 13 spots which are correct places to go to the bathroom. Hopefully this statement alone solves the riddle of why this process can be so difficult. The key is to use their clean nature as a spring board along with crate training to eliminate mistakes and give the dogs only one choice of where to relieve themselves. With people you have all heard that 21 times makes a habit, well the same is true for dogs but probably closer to 30 to 40 times make a habit. So if you become fanatical the first month you own a dog making sure you take them out regularly to the appropriate potty spot and eliminate the option of making a mistake, then the dog learns through their own choices that there is only one place where he can do his business!
Keep in mind, just as we don't give kids 100% freedom right off the bat, neither do we with dogs. We start first by teaching don't soil your crate, then don't soil in the kitchen and then the living room and so on. Take things slow and build on successes and before you know it your dog will consider your entire house their den and will only go in the appropriate place. As a side note, dogs are also very polite animals, they think as do we "it would be quite rude" to just take a dump at your feet. So don't think for a moment that if they slink off the back bedroom to do their business that they know what they are doing is wrong. The fact of the matter is, YOU waited too long to take them out or missed their signal telling you they had to go. So they just went as far away from their "home" as they could and did what they had to do!
Next week I will go over how to pick the appropriate place outside and how to get them to go! (Step 2)
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
- Mike Deathe
Being able to train “any dog” is really not the question to ask. As far as I am concerned, training people is a much more effective way of solving problem behaviors in dogs. What I do is nothing new or magical. I use basic behavior theory, and positive reinforcement techniques to change behavior or teach proper ones to begin with. There are many ways to train a dog and if done right, none are any better than the other. I want all of my students to understand that positive reinforcement is, in my opinion, the best and fastest way to teach a dog. Please take the time to go to my website www.muttzrus.com and look at my blog (keep it simple stupid pet blog) and decide for yourself. You should not make training decisions based off of a brochure; talk to at least three trainers; check out blogs and get references; then make your choice. I hope that in the end you will choose me as your trainer
Mike Deathe is a stay-at-home dad who found his passion as a dog trainer in 2008. He enjoys identifying unique and useful “muttz” related products. He is the author of Keep It Simple Stupid (K.I.S.S.) Pet Blog. Mike has had dogs since he was four years old and there are currently four dogs and two cats living in his home! As an avid pet lover, he regularly sees the number of dogs and cats that never find a home. In 2009, he and his wife Kate founded Muttz “R” Us, a t-shirt and pet product company with a philanthropic motto of “Adopt a Pet, Save a Life.” In 2010 Muttz “R” Us also launched KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID DOG TRAINING! Visit us at facebook or twitter or follow the blog @http://muttzmembers.blogspot.
com/or check out the website @www.muttzrus.com for more details.