My problem puppy

My problem puppy

    Be consistent, be disciplined,and be positive — that’s the key to successful toilet training, says trainer Steve Mann.

    Nothing illustrates how much we love our puppies like the commitment we show when toilet training. Imagine giving any other visitor to your house the benei t of the doubt when you spot a little ‘mistake’ on the carpet! There are many reasons why a puppy may toilet indoors; maybe they haven’t learned the best place to wee and poo yet; maybe it’s just physically impossible for them to hold on as full bladder control may take up to 20 weeks to develop; or maybe the indoor toileting isn’t purely a case of needing ‘to go’, but simply a symptom of pure excitement when visitors come to the house.

    So, now you know the reasons, let’s look at the tools needed to tackle the problem:
    ● A wee/poo diary.
    ● A puppy pen.
    ● A keen eye
    for puppy body
    ● Commitment.
    ● Correct enzymatic
    cleaning products.
    ● Patience and a few
    good, deep breaths
    (other than when
    you’re cleaning up
    number twos)!

     “Remember: what gets treated gets repeated.”


    Next, we’re going to help the puppy learn that toileting outside is the very BEST thing they could ever do. We’re going to heavily reinforce the behaviour of toileting outside; as all good dog trainers and owners know, behaviour that is reinforced in the past is more likely to occur in the future. But when is our moment to strike; how can we tilt the cards in our favour to give us those all-important opportunities for reinforcement?

    Your windows of opportunity to heavily reinforce toileting outside are:
    ● First thing in the morning.
    ● After eating.
    ● After waking.
    ● After play.
    ● After a visitor arrives.
    ● After any excitement indoors.
    ● If you see puppy snii ng and circling the l oor.
    ● Last thing at night.

    When any of the occasions above occur, pick up or encourage your puppy outside, and then wait… silently… and wait… and wait… Only when the puppy has gone to the toilet outside, can you start the huge reinforcement process; praise, treats, promise of a pet cat, whatever it takes; if puppy loves it, make sure they get it as soon as they i nish their wee or poo.A formal ‘good dog’ and a i rm handshake just won’t do it here — be generous, and remember: what gets treated gets repeated.

    TOP TIP!
    This is one behaviour where you want to start the reinforcement process as soon as the behaviour is complete, NOT as soon as it starts. If you’re a little too trigger-happy with the reinforcement and start the celebrations before the toileting is fully done, then puppy will ‘half-wee’, grab the reinforcement from you, run back inside and i nish the ‘job’ on the comfort of your best carpet!

    The lesson from the pup’s perspective is: toileting inside = nothing; toileting outside = the best stuf in the world. Who among us isn’t prepared to cross their legs a little longer and ask to go outside to earn the best stuf in the world? If, however, you’ve taken puppy outside and he hasn’t ‘splashed his boots’, then simply give it a quiet ive minutes, take thepuppy back inside again, and pop him back in hisden. Give it another go in 10 minutes.Repeat as necessary and as soon as puppy does ‘go’ outside… it’s party time!


    As mentioned, puppies won’t want to toilet where they eat and sleep; however, those little bladders and bowels can only ‘hold on’ for a certain amount of time, so commit to getting up early at the start of your toilet training regime to limit mistakes as much as possible. If done correctly, you can soon start adding an extra 10 minutes in your bed each morning as the toilet training develops.

    TOP TIP!

    If an accident occurs, use a good enzymatic cleaner and give the area a really good wash, otherwise dogs will often be drawn back to toilet on areas where they have previously eliminated. Clean it once and clean it properly


    As much as possible, until thepuppy is fully toilet trained,he or she should be under the supervision of a designated ‘watcher’, or in their small den area.

    The watcher’s job is to watch the puppy like a hawk, for any body language signals that indicate the puppy needs the toilet, such as sniing and circling the l oor. This behaviour is sometimes considered a throwback to when dogs used to check the ground for snakes, and to soften down the grass, before they eliminated! If you can’t keep your eyes on puppy while indoors, pop him in a nice, small, safe
    area, such as a puppy pen in the kitchen, ideally on a hard surface and not an invitingly absorbent one, which dogs love to wee on.

    If you can, make sure puppy receives his meals and gets plenty of opportunity to sleep in his pen, as, like all of us, given the choice the last place he’ll want to toilet is where he sleeps and eats, so the puppy pen is the perfect location for these short, unsupervised sessions.

    In contrast to some traditionalists, I’m not a fan of putting down newspaper or puppy pads indoors for a puppy to wee on. As far as I’m
    concerned, that’s still ‘training’ and conditioning the puppy to wee indoors.
    Ultimately, we don’t want that regardless of what surface they’re on, so let’s start as we mean to go on.


    Sometimes known as an appeasement behaviour, this is when the puppy may lack coni dence or is a little fearful of the human they are being greeted by. As already mentioned, this is a perfectly normal behaviour, and with maturity and a development in coni dence, the problem behaviour will usually extinguish over time.

    To help accelerate the process,always look to develop the puppy’s coni dence in people and new environments.

    In the short term, try these tips:
    ● Greet your puppy in an area such as the garden or an area where, if mistakes do happen, it’s not the end of the world.
    ● Appreciate it’s not the puppy’s fault; he genuinely cannot help it.
    ● As ever, avoid the temptation to tell him of or punish him as this will only make him more frightened and submissive next time, which will exacerbate the problem.
    ● Keep greetings as gentle as possible. Crouch down, and let pup come to you. A tickle under the chin is far better than a big scary hand reaching over the puppy’s head.
    ● Be aware of your own body language; be small, be sideways,and be slinky. Don’t lean over or stare directly at the puppy; instead divert your eyes and face to the side and let puppy set the pace by coming to you. The use of positive reinforcement training, and the development of trust and relationships within the family home, will help improve and eliminate the submissive urination over time, but, as with all problems, if it persists contact a good trainer or vet

    ● Employ good control and management via your puppy pen to avoid ‘mistakes’.
    ● Heavily praise and reinforce toileting in the ‘correct’ area.
    ● NEVER punish or rub your puppy’s nose in ‘it’. You wouldn’t rub a dirty nappy in a toddler’s face!
    ● Be consistent, be disciplined, and appreciate your job is to help this baby dog. No matter how valuable your carpet is, I guarantee it will never be as valuable as the life and relationship you’ll have with your dog.

    Post a Comment