Housetraining
101
Housetraining 101 for dogs, (c) 2009-2017 Frania Shelley-Grielen all rights
reserved

Recently, I heard from a client who lives on the Upper West Side.  Taking advantage of
a holiday, my client and her 9-month-old puppy were at the parents for the long
weekend.  However things were not going as planned and whatever success in
housebreaking had occurred in New York City was slipping away in suburbia, the dog
had taken to hiding when eliminating and everybody was unhappy. My advice on how
to address the situation follows (I have changed names to protect the innocent):

How frustrating for everyone! You are right in thinking that what Sammy is
learning is that going potty in front of you or even when you are near by is a “no -
no.”  

For help with house training, first breathe (in, out, repeat often). Your pet is
amazingly skilled in reading you and your body language, if you are upset, uptight,
angry or frustrated this will come through loud and clear. Do not, no matter what,
ever, ever scold Sammy in the act. Ever. You can pick him up (and should) if you
see him doing his business, be matter of fact and go directly outside with him. Even
if he is done with the act. Go outside place him on the ground and allow him to sniff
and or finish, praise and treat. Let "ignore the bad behavior reward the good
behavior" become your mantra followed by "direct and redirect".  Think training for
what you want the dog to do rather than punishing for what you do not want them
to do.  In this scenario you want the dog to indicate to you the desire to go outside for
relief and to perform that behavior there.

Since Sammy is under the impression that he will get in trouble for eliminating you
want to turn this around. You can do this by keeping Sammy in his halter and leash
at all times and attached to you. This way you will know when he needs to go
because you will be aware of his every movement. No reaction only a positive one if
he indicates needing to go out. Praise with a cue for this, "good out Sammy," etc. You
can tie his leash to your belt or loop it around your wrist. When I was housebreaking
my dog I used to sleep with the leash attached to my wrist. It works (this and more
on housebreaking and other help are in Ian Dunbar's
How to Teach a New Dog Old
Tricks
. If there is one dog owners' guide you need, this is the one).

Continue to walk Sammy frequently and on as close to a schedule as realistically
possible. If you walk Sammy and nothing happens do not put him down when you
get home. Keep him either attached to you on the leash or on your lap. Pay attention
to the signals that he has to go and proceed directly outside. Use this weekend and
your proximity to being able to get outside quickly as remedial housebreaking 101.

When he does go, have a party for him, you have with you at all times the greatest
reinforcer; praise from you to him.  Tell him the very second he begins to void what
a fabulous little man he is.  “What a good wee outside Sammy!!!!”  The great thing
with all that loving praise is the timing can be instantaneous, no fumbling for
treats.  And when you start with the praise and a treat follows, that’s an added
party favor.  Whatever he likes best that you can do outside together, do.

You can continue to leave wee-wee pads in the house but place them as close to the
exit doors as possible, front and yard doors. Remember wee-wee pads are a training
aid because they are grass scented, find as much grass as possible along the
sidewalks or street or yard. When you are doing your frequent walks (and always,
always right after a meal) try and find locations where other dogs may have
frequented -- the street in front of your parents' home will work better than the
backyard. Dogs are the most interested in the smells of other dogs and inspired by
the past "performances." Also Sammy is quite distracted by squirrels, which you can
use to your advantage, get him focused on a few so he expends a ton of energy
(another "motivator") and then pick him up and walk where there are less squirrel
distractions and he can focus on business.

Start now re-educating him, the more you work this the more it will work.
Give Sammy a big hug and kiss from me.
the dog to do rather than punishing
for what you do not want them to
do.  In this scenario you want the dog
to indicate to you the desire to go
outside for relief and to perform that
behavior there."
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info@animalbehaviorist.us
212-722-2509 / 646-228-7813

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copyright Frania Shelley-Grielen
Paula Loe
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