Good news and bad news-your dog is puppy pad trained
copyright (c) 2021 Frania Shelley-Grielen. All rights reserved.
New puppy owners are often given well intentioned advice from their veterinarians
to restrict their dogs interactions with other dogs and with the outside environment
-which includes walks- until fully vaccinated. While limiting a puppy’s exposure to
possible agents of infection may be a good idea on the one hand, it is highly
problematic on the other. In terms of socialization and learning, which includes
learning to eliminate outside the house and not in it, the younger the puppy, the
greater the beneficial impact of socialization and learning. Between the ages of
around 4 to 14 weeks, puppies are more readily open to learning about their
environment which includes the physical world, other people, animals and
behaviors expected of them in the human world. Not allowing puppies to benefit
from this “sensitive period” for learning can have negative life long consequences
if not managed and addressed.
When outside walks are discouraged puppy training pads are often considered a
viable alternative to help in house training a young puppy. The first hurdle the
puppy owner may face with using the pads is getting the dogs to target the pads in
the first place. Dogs instinctively prefer a soft surface to eliminate on and in the
natural world that surface would be grass covered. Manufacturers of training pads
scent the pads with grass to promote a dog’s natural preference. The question can
be asked ‘though that without being trained to eliminate on grass initially the puppy
is learning instead to eliminate on a pad that smells faintly of grass and not the
grass itself. Once training pad use has been accomplished ( i.e. no scolding for not
using, careful placement in both the places the puppy is already eliminating on or
setting up a large enough confinement area along with bed, toys, food and pads an
adequate distance away from all that so that the puppy will use them) your dog is
now puppy pad trained. Good news? Well, if your puppy has been effectively
trained to use puppy training pads, they may very well be reluctant to eliminate
outside of the house thanks to successful puppy pad training.
A more successful house overall house training program includes training for your
puppy to relieve himself outside as well as inside. To facilitate this, allowing the
puppy to be able to become acquainted with the outside environment to target as
well as puppy pad training inside even before being fully vaccinated is key. Some
veterinarians recognize this and suggest carrying the puppy to a toileting location.
(You've seen those people carrying those puppies on the sidewalk, that's them.)
This limits exposure and permits the dog to become comfortable and familiar
with the outside environment, especially grass patches, tree pits, sidewalks, etc.,
as areas to relieve herself in. All house training, including outside efforts call for
owners to greatly reward the corresponding efforts -"Good pee pee outside!!!"
(you've seen those people too).
House training and other behavior concerns are the main issue that separate
people from their pets. The good news is that the larger veterinary community
is now responding to this as seen in this recent industry publication from Clinician’s
Brief.com: “Even before the vaccination series is complete, puppies can be safely
socialized. Reasonable precautions should be taken. For instance, puppies should
interact with puppies and dogs that appear healthy and whose owners are
following their veterinarian’s advice regarding necessary vaccinations. The
risk for contracting a life-threatening disease is likely less than the risk for
developing a behavioral concern secondary to inadequate socialization later in
Behavior problems are the main reason that pets are relinquished to shelters, so
early socialization is critical; it cannot wait until the puppy is "fully vaccinated.”
And what if your puppy is one of those dogs that is puppy pad trained? Is there
hope. Yes, read on:
First: no scolding or punishment no matter what.
Second: at home start saying "good go pee" (or whatever other term you prefer)
the very instant your puppy begins to urinate so they can learns the request.
Remember timing is everything in training so pay attention to that instant.
Third: put your dog on a strict walking schedule with the morning walk as early
as possible and definitely before 8 am with walks every 4 hours after that. The
schedule should be the same every day.
Do not leave food down before the dog’s morning meal. Give the morning meal
right before walking -add whatever treats in that will make puppy really love it.
When outside allow for sniffing as much as possible and engage with your
puppy when they are not busy sniffing by asking for sits or stays, etc. Ask for "good
go pee" in a happy voice next to areas where it looks like other dogs have peed and
When there is an elimination, praise like it’s the 4th of July.
Should your dog keep to puppy pad training and consistently wait until
returning home to use the pads go back to basic house training, You know,
the part where you keep the dog on leash attached to you so that as soon as you see
signs of an impending bathroom break, pacing, looking around, wiggling, whatever
intention movement your dog uses- go outside immediately and walk.
Remember your dog is being a really good dog, doing what he was trained
to do. The tricky part is learning something new.
Follow the suggestions exactly for at least 2 weeks.
Note your progress.
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copyright Frania Shelley-Grielen
|"And what if your puppy is one
of those dogs that is puppy pad
trained? Is there hope. Yes,
copyright Frania Shelley-Grielen
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