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Housebreaking A Backsliding Puppy Or Dog
Housebreaking leads the pack in terms of being the topic that receives the most questions about hands. The key really is to make sure you follow a consistent plan. Consistency will make housing your dog or puppy as simple as can be. However, the house is still hard. And it’s not something you have to do overnight, or even in a week, despite some of the ads you may see online that say you can. Home is a process. Your dog must learn from the condition where it is and is not appropriate to go potty.
Even if you follow all the steps, you may still run into unexpected setbacks in the house-training process, i.e. when your dog starts using the bathroom at home again after apparently having a solid home or when your dog starts to use the bathroom in his crate. There are different processes for dealing with these problems, so I will address them separately, starting with a dog that started pottying in the house after you thought they were completely indoors.
Before you dive into the house, keep this in mind…even the most trained dogs have accidents. The goal is for it to be so occasional that you can’t remember 2 of the last 3 times it happened. Even my 11 year old dog surprised me a few months ago with a little present right by my back door after being in the house for a decade! In this case, the accident was all my fault. I went out of town for the night and she had nowhere to go. Keep this in mind when you are potty training your dog or puppy because a single accident may not mean that your dog has completely relapsed. However, if you have dealt with accident number 2 or more in a short time, you need to take action immediately to prevent any problem.
The common reasoning I hear from owners when dogs start to back off on potty training is that the dog is angry, or doing it out of contempt or to “get back” at the owner for some injustice done to them. I’m guilty of having these thoughts before too, but the fastest way to a solution is to abandon that line of thinking and adopt the mantra that your dog doesn’t do things out of spite or hatred for you. Dogs generally want their owners to be happy. They are pack animals and want to be in a happy, cohesive pack. They also don’t have the same feelings as a human, and they don’t hold grudges or act out of spite.
It’s really quite simple…from the dog’s perspective. He thinks he should go home now…he’s done it so many times now without correction (or the wrong kind of correction).
This means that when you can’t look after your dog, it must be leashed or confined so that it doesn’t have accidents and it should have very limited access to travel freely in the house until you get the house under control. Here is the specific strategy for dealing with home construction problems:
1. Tie your dog to a leash attached to your belt or to a piece of furniture so that he is never out of your sight.
2. Keep a close eye and learn to determine when your dog has hit the potty-holding limit. Usually, a lot of sniffing the ground comes right before an accident. Watch your dog!
3. When you see your dog bent over (or squat) in that classic “I’m going to go potty” JUMP pose (even if you’re standing), clap your hands together to get your dog’s attention, say “Ah-Ah” in a clear and firm voice (there is no need to sound hysterical here, the idea is to scare your dog to pay attention to you rather than pottying).
4. Using the leash lead your dog outside. Take your dog if you need to go outside quickly.
5. Encourage your dog with gentle praise and smiles to potty once you are outside. Praise your dog LAVISHLY with treats and hugs and love to finish it off. That’s what you want.
The “Ah-Ah” was enough to stop my Sheltie long enough for me to get her out. So I got on with a smile and a friendly command of “potty time” until she went to potty OUTSIDE. So it’s time for lots of praise and even some treats if you have a few on hand. A few times of doing this and your dog will understand that the power should just be outside.
What I want you to get out of this strategy is that you should not only focus on punishing your dog for using the bathroom at home. In fact, the only time you should even punish them for it is when you catch them in the act (with “Ah-Ah” or a firm “No”). Punishing your dog after the fact, even 3 minutes later, is not working.
Your dog will NOT, I repeat, NOT make the association between what he did even 2 minutes ago (ie pottying in the house) and you ranting and raving and shoving his nose in the mess.
Clean up the mess, don’t let your dog see you clean up, and be prepared next time to catch your dog right when he’s squatting.
For a puppy, this process is even easier because they tend to be light enough for you to actually pick them up to take them outside. This is a good way to get your puppy out quickly before they finish pottying in the house.
With my English Bulldog I ran into an unexpected problem that you may have experienced yourself. Even with the steady “Ah-Ah” and jumping she wouldn’t/couldn’t stop pottying once she started. And this frustrated me to no end! But stay with the process. Take your dog outside as soon as possible and encourage him to potty.
Then show your dog where you want them to go potty when they have to go potty. It reinforces the behavior faster. And make it beneficial for them to potty outside, showering them with love and treats when they do.
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#Housebreaking #Backsliding #Puppy #Dog