It’s cold and dark outside, but you take your dog out anyway. You don’t want to risk him going on the kitchen floor... again. However, you walk outside for 10-15 minutes but to no avail. You head back inside and head up to bed. Sure enough, you walk downstairs in the morning and what do you find on the floor? A mess you don’t want to be described in graphic terms. Guessing when he actually needs the toilet is just a bit of a gamble.
If you could train him to signal to you when he needed the toilet you could prevent some of these unpleasant experiences. You also wouldn’t need to aimlessly wander around, hoping and praying he’s going to go. It could even make training him to signal to you about a variety of other things easier too.
Many people may not bother with this training because they think it will be too difficult, but in actual fact, it’s pretty straightforward. The hardest part comes from initially conveying to your dog what you want him to do. Then you need to incentivize him to signal to you and reinforce the behavior so it becomes a habit. If he’s a puppy, he should learn swiftly and you may see results in just a week. If his toilet habit has been unchanged for many years, then be prepared to invest two to three weeks into the new regime.
This training will make heading out for the toilet a quick and easy process. No more hanging around and no more playing toilet roulette! You may also be able to train him to signal when he wants you to open a door, and any number of other things, too.
Before you can crack down on your pup's toilet habits you’ll need a few different bits. Poo bags will be an essential, so stock up! You’ll also need treats or his favorite food. They will be used to motivate and reward him throughout training. Some bells will also be needed for one of the methods.
In addition, you’ll need to be able to dedicate some time to training each day around his normal toilet times, for example, after meals and in the morning and evening.
Once you’ve got the above, just bring a positive attitude and you’re ready to get to work!
My puppy learned how to go potty outside when
I got her at 3 months old. She was fully trained at 4 months and didn't really have an accident after then. While I take her out a lot, she still doesn't know how to signal that she has to go... I just have to kinda guess. she just recently went inside and I want some way of getting her to signal. I bought potty bells to train her with those but she is terrified of the loud sound, therefore I can't even get her to go near them. She also doesn't know the speak command and it's fairly hard to train her that. For background purposes, I've trained her to sit and paw. She seems to have a VERY short attention span, especially when she's excited. Thank you for any advice or help!!! It's beyond appreciated. -struggling pet mom
Hello Eileen, This will take longer than a bell because it's more abstract, but since pup is afraid of the noise I suggest teaching pup a Touch command, and commanding pup to touch you right before you open the door to take them outside. At first, reward pup right when they do it, then when pup begins to do it automatically when you pause at the door, reward that. Next, praise when pup automatically touches you at the door before you open it, but give the treat after they touch, go outside, AND go potty. Next, start further from the door, command pup to touch there, then walk up to the door, progressing from pup getting a treat right away, to when they do it automatically, to after they go potty. Gradually add more distance between you and door right before taking pup potty, until pup can do it from another room with you. Continue this until pup starts to touch you on their own when they need to go - how long this takes will depend a lot on pup's motivation to go outside, so continue the treats during this time to help motivate pup to want to go outside. Anytime you command pup to touch, the praise or reward needs to be immediately followed with a trip to the door and outside to help pup make the connection between touch and going outside. If pup is having any accidents, in order for pup to be motivated to alert, the accidents will need to stop through better management in the meantime. This means either a more strict potty schedule, tethering pup to you with a hands free leash when their bladder isn't completely empty, or using crate training and crating pup any time past the first 2 hours after going potty outside, until they have gone potty outside again. I would do this for two months to help the habit of keeping your home clean become a long-term habit. Touch: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/what-tricks-can-i-train-my-dog/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Well, I have spent the last seven months taking her out constantly. When I take her out she goes potty but later I will find an accident in the house. I don’t have time to watch her every moment of the day to figure out when she needs to go potty. How am I supposed to teach her that she needs to let me know?
Hello Shelby, You will need to crate train her for potty training. Check out the Crate Training method from the article linked below. Make sure that the crate doesn't have anything absorbent in it - including a soft bed or towel. Check out www.primopads.com if you need a non-absorbent bed for her. Make sure the crate is only big enough for her to turn around, lie down and stand up, and not so big that she can potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it. Dogs have a natural desire to keep a confined space clean so it needs to be the right size to encourage that natural desire. Use a cleaner that contains enzymes to clean any previous or current accidents - only enzymes will remove the small and remaining smells encourage the dog to potty in the same location again later. The method I have linked below was written for younger puppies, since your dog is older you can adjust the times and take her potty less frequently. I suggest taking her potty every 3 hours when you are home. After 1.5 hours (or less if she has an accident sooner) or freedom out of the crate, return her to the crate while her bladder is filling back up again until it has been 3 hours since her last potty trip. When you have to go off she should be able to hold her bladder in the crate for 5-7 hours - less at first while she is getting used to it and longer once she is accustomed to the crate. Only have her wait that long when you are not home though, take her out about every 3 hours while home. You want her to get into the habit of holder her bladder between trips and not just eliminating whenever she feels the urge and you want to encourage that desire for cleanliness in your home - which the crate is helpful for. Less freedom now means more freedom later in life. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If she is not already used to a crate expect crying at first. When she cries and you know she doesn't need to go potty yet, ignore the crying. Most dogs will adjust if you are consistent. You can give her a food stuffed hollow chew toy to help her adjust and sprinkle treats into the crate during times of quietness to further encourage quietness. If she continues protesting for long periods of time past three days, you can use a Pet Convincer. Work on teaching "Quiet" but using the Quiet method from the article linked below. Tell her "Quiet" when she barks and cries. If she gets quiet and stays quiet, you can sprinkle a few pieces of dog food into the crate through the wires calmly, then leave again. If she disobeys your command and keep crying or stops but starts again, spray a small puff of air from the Pet convincer at her side through the crate while saying "Ah Ah" calmly, then leave again. If she stays quiet after you leave you can periodically sprinkle treats into the crate to reward her quietness. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Only use the unscented air from the Pet Convincers - don't use citronella, it's too harsh and lingers for too long so can be confusing. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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