Potty Training your Puppy

 The following email is being reprinted with permission from the author. It is great advice on how to potty train the most difficult puppy! The advice is really excellent:

 Hi Chris,

Kay here. Jean shared Rosie’s latest photos, what an adorable little girl she is.  A couple of them made me laugh out loud!  Sounds like the housetraining thing is a bit of a challenge, so I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned after having many untrained dogs come through my house.  The same ideas work for both puppies and for adult dogs who were either never trained properly or who have been living in a situation where they could not go out when they needed so began going wherever was handy.  Training doesn’t happen in a few days.  Be prepared to work on it for a few months – it seems hard but is well worth the effort. First, create a routine and stick to it.  Rosie needs to be able to depend on it.  Take her outside immediately first thing in the morning.  Take her out immediately after a meal.  Take her out immediately after any play session in the house.  Take her out immediately after a nap. Take her out before bedtime.  Do not come back in the house until the mission is completed.  Be prepared to stay outside with her each time, for as long as it takes.  Keep your attention focused on her when you are out with her.   Yep, you’re gonna get wet, cold, bored.  BE PATIENT : )

Do NOT leave food down all the time.  Feed her meals at the same time every time, every day.  Pick her food up right away if she doesn’t finish it.  And don’t load her up on treats in between her mealtimes.  Save the dog treats for rewards.  Poop generally follows meals and is much easier to predict if the meals are on a schedule.  Always take her out to the same place.  Choose a word or phrase to use, like “go potty” or “hurry up”.  Be consistent with the words and the place.  No playing until the mission is completed.  When she goes where she is supposed to – be her cheerleader!   Mega praise – lots of happy sounds that will make you feel silly but so she will understand that you are really happy about what just happened.  Give her an immediate, on the spot treat of some sort that she does not get at any other time.  Not a dry biscuit that needs a whole lot of chewing, but something really special and yummy – a bite of cheese or meat.  Puppies and young dogs have quick digestive tracts and are “frequent poopers”.  4 – 5 times a day is not unusual.  If the poop is soft or runny, take a sample to your vet and have it checked for parasites – those can cause runny and uncontrollable poop.  Feed a high quality food, not grocery store stuff that is full of filler (which creates more poop).

Don’t let her roam free around the house, this is just setting her up to fail.  Keep her with you in whatever room you are in, or put her on a leash and tie it to your

belt so she has to stay with you – this is so you can watch her for signals such as circling or pacing that may indicate she needs to go outside right away.  If you can’t watch her or must leave her alone, confine her to a small space like bathroom or kitchen, or her crate.  Remove any throw rugs from the area.  Take her out immediately when you release her from confinement.

Accidents happen.  In spite of your efforts, there will be accidents.  If you catch her starting to go indoors – quickly interrupt her with a noise and get her outside right away.  Don’t forget the BIG praise and happy noises when the mission is completed outside.

Unless you actually catch her in the act of going in the house – NO SCOLDING is allowed, and absolutely no physical punishment.  If you need to, take a rolled up newspaper and bonk yourself on the head with it and say “I wasn’t watching my dog”.  Don’t make an issue of any accident you find after it has happened.  In fact, don’t let her see you clean it up.  If you have to clean it while she is nearby, scold the accident on the floor.  Yes – it sounds weird, just do it.  Address the puddle or pile itself.  “Bad puddle – you don’t belong here” – that sort of thing.  It doesn’t hurt to put some of the “accident” outside in the location where you want it to be, so Rosie can find it there.

Everything will fall into place over time. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Kay, Nicky, & Josie


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