He won’t go potty outside, when I take him out he’s terrified. He just freezes up and cries and shakes. He will not walk on a leash at all. He just plops down and won’t budge. He goes potty on his pads just fine but I want him to go outside and be able to walk with him. He is a very anxious, insecure and nervous little guy. Everything scares him. I can’t leave a room without him following or crying like crazy. He’s extremely clingy/needy. Is there hope for him? Right now it’s winter and it’s freezing in Jersey so I don’t blame him for not wanting to go outside but I don’t know if it’s the cold or he’s just petrified.
Hi there! I am going to give you some tips that will build his overall confidence. Working on overall behaviors often improves the little things. It's an indirect approach, but it is likely his behaviors will start to resolve themselves over the next month or so. So patience is key! There are several methods you can use to improve your dogs confidence. 1. Work on obedience training. Daily obedience work, even when it is only for a short time, provides submissive dogs with a lot of confidence. Family members are proud of dogs that perform on command and dogs pick up on this feeling. If the obedience training is harsh, though, a submissive dog will just get worse. Find a positive reinforcement and reward-based training class in your area. If the trainer works with a discipline-based system, it is not appropriate for a submissive dog. 2. Socialize your dog as much as possible to make them adaptable. The sensitive socialization period for your dog ended when she was a puppy, about 15 weeks of age, but she can still be socialized as an older dog, it is just going to take a lot more work. To socialize your dog, take her out as much as possible, let her meet new people, let her meet your friends dogs (if they are friendly with other dogs), and let her run free at the dog park so that she will meet new dogs. (Some dogs will be too nervous to play at the dog park so this phase may only come later.) 3. Give your dog a job or get her involved in a canine sport. Most dogs are not able to "work", however, so in order to give them an activity to build their confidence, it is a good idea to get them involved in one of the canine sports. Flyball, agility, Frisbee, dock diving, and other activities may be available in your area. 4. Use counter-conditioning techniques to help her overcome fear. This is the best but also the hardest (for you!) of the methods available to treat a submissive dog. For each thing that your dog is afraid of, you have to train her to have a pleasant feeling. When a dog is no longer afraid of the situation, he is confident and no longer going to be submissive. If you decide to try to build her confidence through counter-conditioning, the first thing you have to identify is the trigger. What is stimulating your dog to be so submissive? If she is only afraid of one thing it is easier to train her; unfortunately, most submissive dogs are afraid of almost everything. Spend some time with your dog to become familiar with her fears. The next step is to teach him that the scary thing is actually a good thing. When she is exposed to the scary object, give her a tasty treat and let her relax around the object without any pressure. The final step in counter-conditioning your dog to face her fears is to expose her and not provide a treat or even notice that he is being exposed. If you need more help on using counter-conditioning, the animal behaviorist Patricia McConnell has a book that I have found to be useful. The techniques are great and will help your dog develop confidence but as with most behavior modification, takes patience and persistence. Please let me know if you have additional questions. Thanks for writing in!
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potty training in winter
pee pad vs fake grass vs reusable pee pad
Hello! I am going to give you some training information on how to work with your dog to use a potty pad. The same process can be used with fake grass and pee pads. Choose Your Spot Pick a space in your house where you want your dog to go. Obviously, you’ll want this spot to be a low-traffic area. Make sure this spot is easily accessible to your dog, and make sure the floor surface is linoleum or tile, as opposed to carpet. If your dog “misses,” it will be easier to clean up. If the only spot you can put the pee pad is a carpet, you might consider getting a small tarp to put underneath the puppy pee pad to guard against spillage. Choose a spot that is outside of your “smell zone.” An important tip to remember is to make sure not to let your dog decide the spot he likes. Not only might he pick an area you won’t like, but he’ll learn that he is in charge – not you – which can cause a host of problems down the line. Monitor Your Dog When you are potty training your dog, full-time monitoring is an absolute necessity. It’s impossible to correct bad behaviors if you don’t see them happen. Dogs have very short memories. It is important to catch your dog in the act. If your dog goes on the floor, and you try to correct him hours after the fact, he will be confused and upset, not knowing what he did wrong. This can hinder training and your relationship with your dog. Puppies, in particular, must be watched constantly. They have less control over their bowels and will go when they have to go. If you miss these moments, you lose precious training opportunities. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to be with your dog 24 hours a day, but try to spend more time at home during the weeks you are potty training – it will pay off in the long run. Learn Your Dog’s Schedule Dogs, for the most part, are predictable. They will go to the bathroom at predictable times. You should be able to learn when your dog has to go based on timing as much as on his signals. Take some time to study your dog’s bathroom habits. You’ll learn the amount of time after he eats or drinks that he has to go, and you’ll get in rhythm with his daily bathroom schedule. This will help you reduce accidents and speed up the potty training process. Studying your dog’s habits can also help you identify his bathroom “triggers” – like having to go after a certain amount of playtime. Once you learn your dog’s schedule, use it to your advantage in potty training. Bring him to the pee pad a few minutes before he normally goes, and encourage him. This will help him get used to going in the right spot, and help you establish repetition in your training. Choose a Command Word Dogs have keen senses – they respond to sight, smell, and sound. When you begin pee pad training, choose a command word and use it every time you take your dog to the pad. Just about any word will work. The tone of your voice is more important than the actual word. Try phrases like “go on” or “go potty” in a slightly elevated, encouraging tone. Make sure to repeat this same command, in the same tone, every time you take your dog to the pee pad. Avoid Punishment When your dog has an accident, it’s just that – an accident. When you punish your dog during potty training, he will become confused and scared. He doesn’t know what he’s done wrong, and can’t understand why the person he loves most is mad at him. Most importantly, it will not help his potty training. Positive Reinforcement Both human and dog behavior is largely based on incentives. Dogs’ incentives are very simple – they want to eat when they are hungry, play when they are excited, and sleep when they are tired. But the most important thing your dog wants in life is to please you. Use this to your advantage. Whenever your dog goes on his potty training pad, shower him with lots of praise. If he sees that he gets praise for doing his business on the pad, he will be incentivized to keep going on the pad – and he’ll be excited to do it! Potty training – whether it’s a pee pad or going outside – will take time, but if you do it right, can take less time. Many dogs are potty trained in less than two weeks. Just remember that you and your dog are partners. Do everything you can to help him learn the proper etiquette, and you will enjoy a long, quality relationship together. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Thank you for writing in.
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I live in -35 wheather and all cheech does is stand and shiver outside, he’s a short haired puppy and possibly the runt? He drinks tons of water but also only pees on the floor, it’s his first night home, what should I do?
Hello Katalin, I would do one of two things: 1. If you have an area outside/garage/patio porch that is significantly warmer than outside but won't be associated with the house for pup later, I would purchase disposable real grass pads and teach pup to go potty on the pad in that area outside that's warmer until things warm up. Real grass pad brands: www.freshpatch.com www.doggielawn.com www.porchpotty.com Option 2. If continuing with regular outdoor potty training, pup needs to be outfitted for the weather just like a person. Most designer doggie coats and outfits aren't going to keep pup warm enough and won't allow pup to go potty easily, but a high quality outdoor dog gear brand will be very functional and warm to insulate pup and still be cut in a way that allows pup to potty with the coat/boots on. Check out www.Ruffwear.com and Outwardhound.com. There are cheaper brands out there and those brands may not make coats as small as what you need but you can get an idea of what quality, materials, and cuts to look for for functionality. If you struggle to find a quality coat that's cheap enough you can also make your own potentially. Go to local thrift stores or look at your closed for quality coats that you no longer need or don't fit. If you have an old down-coat, windproof jacket with some insulation, or other high quality material that's significantly warm - you can cut, sew, and re-purpose that into a dog jacket. If the ground is very icy, pup likely needs dog hiking or rubber type boots also to protect paws - spend time letting puppy wear the clothes around the house and play games and give treats - interrupting any chewing of the clothes, to get pup used to wearing them before outdoor trips, so that the clothes won't be a potty training distraction outside. Not all dog clothes are just for looks - my own dogs have winter gear for backpacking and hiking in the winter - it's purely functional and they appreciate staying warm on the trail. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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