There are three different categories that fall under the concept of HOUSE TRAINING:
1. BASIC HOUSE TRAINING This applies to establishing an allowable toilet area for puppies or older dogs that are new to your home. Problems can include both urination and defecation.
2. SUBMISSIVE WETTING This relates only to urination that occurs when greeting or disciplining. Or if the dog is highly excited.
3. MARKING This can include defecation, but is more commonly a urination marking problem. Both male or female dogs can display this behavior. It is only seen in dogs that have reached puberty. If your dog has a problem with SUBMISSIVE WETTING and is older than four months, or if your dog is displaying MARKING behavior, we would suggest that you contact us for an evaluation. The evaluation will help determine why there is a problem. There is no charge for this service.
BASIC HOUSE TRAINING If you are committed and prepared from the first moment you introduce your new puppy or dog to your home, it should take about two weeks to achieve appropriate housetraining behavior. If you have a puppy or dog that has already developed a bad habit in house training, new reliable behavior will take at least six weeks to establish.
Medical Problems Always make sure there are no medical problems complicating issues. Any type of urinary tract infection or intestinal upset makes house training difficult at best. Some medications can also interfere with the process. Diet Diet can be very important. Some foods can make it more difficult to house train a dog. Toilet areas can be as general as an area outside, or as specific as a litterbox. You must have a clear idea, however, of what is an acceptable toilet spot before you start educating your dog. And yes, your dog can be trained to use only a specific corner of the yard if you are willing to take the time to train your dog to that level of understanding. Toilet Areas Toilet areas can be as general as an area outside, or as specific as a litterbox.
You must have a clear idea, however, of what is an acceptable toilet spot before you start educating your dog. And yes, your dog can be trained to use only a specific corner of the yard if you are willing to take the time to train your dog to that level of understanding. Your Attitude Your attitude is probably the most important ingredient in the formula of house training. You are taking your puppy or dog through a process of education. He does not know that it is wrong for him to use your carpet as a toilet. His mother never told him. It is not pre-programmed into his genetic coding. It is your job to help him understand the whole concept. Do you speak “dog”? He doesn’t speak “people”. This language barrier is best conquered with patience and understanding.
CREATE A SCHEDULE
1. You are creating a schedule for your dog.
CREATE ONE THAT IS CONVENIENT TO YOU!
2. Do not feed your dog free choice meals while establishing a housetraining schedule. Keep all meals on a predictable schedule. Snacks and treats should be kept to a minimum while setting a schedule. And avoid any “rich” foods that could upset the bowels of your dog.
3. Establish a bedtime and a waking-up time. Try to stick to these times as close as possible.
4. Young dogs need a lot of nap times; make sure the schedule provides for these. Keep in mind, the dog will need to be taken out after all naps.
5. Anytime the dog has been emotionally stimulated (i.e. badly scared or frightened, a very rowdy play session) it may experience the need to eliminate.
6. Most dogs will be able to “hold it” for eight hours during the night within two to three days, but day time schedules have a lot more variables. Pay attention, supervise and educate your dog and you will establish a daytime schedule you both can live with.
SUPERVISE IN THE HOUSE 100% of the time
1. If you know where your dog is at all times, and what he is doing, you can catch him before he makes a mistake.
2. If he starts to make a mistake, firmly but calmly say “No” and take him straight out to the toilet area. Do not yell at him or chase him.
3. If you are busy and cannot totally supervise your dog, put him in a contained area where he won’t make a mistake, or tie him to a doorknob in the area you are in.
4. If you are sitting watching TV or reading, have the dog with you on a long line or leash. This way, the dog cannot wander into another room and make a mistake. Before you relax, give your dog some of his toys to play with, so that he learns that being with you is pleasant.
WHEN SUPERVISION IS NOT POSSIBLE (Gone to work all day?)
1. Provide a small area to contain the dog in; i.e. A small bathroom (with all temptations removed), a fenced-off corner of the garage, or a crate.
2. Do not leave food and water with the dog, and do not load the dog down with “doggie cookies” just before you leave.
3. If you are gone for more than eight hours, it would be good to find someone who can go in and give him a drink and a chance to relieve himself.
TAKE YOUR DOG OUT
1. Take your dog out to desired toilet area and stand quietly while the dog investigates the area for the right spot. THIS IS NOT PLAY TIME! Do not distract the dog by trying to talk him into “hurrying up”. Three to five minutes is the length of time you should give the dog. If he doesn’t go in that time, return him to the house and contain him for another half hour and then try again.
2. When he does start to potty: Quickly and calmly praise him WHILE HE’S IN THE PROCESS OF GOING. Use the word you have chosen for this: e.g. “Good Potty.”
3. When he is done going you can now praise with more enthusiasm.
4. Learn your dog’s habits. Some dogs need to “potty” two or three times per outing. Urination is often followed by a BM.
5. If the weather is foul and you aren’t happy about having to take your dog outside, it is very important not to let him sense this. You may create a dog that doesn’t like using the outside as his toilet in foul weather.
6. While you are learning your dog’s individual habits; take him out when he wakes up, after he has eaten and after all play sessions
WHEN YOU CATCH THEM IN THE ACT
1. Quietly but very firmly say “NO”. If you feel you must add volume to get the dog’s attention, do it by clapping your hands together.
2. Help the dog to get outside to the appropriate area. Follow the preceding instructions for taking the dog out.
3. Clean the mess with an odor neutralizer or an odor-killing product. The dog’s sense of smell is much better than ours. If it smells like a toilet area to the dog, he will continue using that area for a toilet.
IF YOU FIND A MESS LATER
1. Realize that someone wasn’t supervising when they should have been.
2. Put the dog on a leash and calmly bring him to the scene of the accident. Keep the dog to your side not in front of you and, while the dog is watching, quickly and very firmly scold the potty. DO NOT scold the dog.
3. Blot up some of the urine on a small piece of paper, or pick up some of the stool with a tissue, and take it and the dog out to the appropriate toilet area. Place the paper with the potty on the ground and with the dog watching, praise it for being in the right area. Then leave it there.
4. Clean up the remaining mess as previously stated.
1. The cornerstones of ALL good relationships are communication and respect. Once you have both, the byproduct is TRUST.
2. Proper training is about opening communication. Instead of teaching your dog “commands” think of teaching them vocabulary. Dogs are capable of learning hundreds of words.
3. Respect is earned not bought or bribed. Good leadership (clear communication, being predictable, taking charge when there is some threat, role modeling confidence) will lead to respect.
4. Trying to make rules without a relationship leads to rebellion.
1. The number one rule when you want to modify a behavior is to NOT let your dog practice the behavior you want to change.
2. It is called behavior MODIFICATION not behavior elimination. You must identify what NEW behavior you want that will REPLACE the undesired behavior.
3. A dog’s concept of right and wrong is very different from ours. Do not expect the dog to know what you may think is right or wrong. Often the information you think you are giving the dog is NOT the information the dog is receiving.
1. Every time you interact with your dog it is TRAINING. If you are reacting to a behavior of the dog, it is training you.
2. Negative attention just brings more negative behavior. If the only way your dog can get your attention is by being bad, you will train him to act bad for more attention.
3. Catch your dog doing something right and identify and encourage that behavior.
4. If you want a dog that is consistent in responding to you, you must be consistent in your response to actions of your dog.
5. You are your dog’s primary role model. If you are not, you should be.
6. Good training puts the dog in charge of their actions. If you are assisting the dog by pushing, pulling or restraining, the dog will not learn to take responsibility for their behavior.
7. Rewards can be productive. Bribes become destructive to the relationship.
8. Nature has no form of punishment only consequences.
CONSEQUENCE Not emotional. From the dog’s perspective it does not involve you. It is just cause and effect.
CORRECTION To correct. A proper correction is not emotional. The dog knows it is coming from you but accepts the correction as instruction to correct behavior.
PUNISHMENT An emotional venting that has no place in a good relationship.
The following list of words are some of the vocabulary taught to dogs that are enrolled in our training program. This is just a sampling of words – not all dogs will need to learn every word on the list. Some of the words also have hand signals that can be used. When saying most of these words to your dog, please keep in mind that you are requesting that the dog do something for you. Give the command in a calm, authoritative voice. It helps if you remember to say the word as it is spelled, e.g., the word “sit” is a three-letter word – do not say it as if it were spelled with more letters “s-s-i-i-i-i-t-t”. To get a little more authority in your voice, you may say the word “sit” as “SIT”. But this should not be done with an increase in volume. It is an authoritative TONE that should be used. The commands you use should also be used in praising the dog for a job well done. Tell the dog what it did that made you happy, e.g., “YES!
YES - This word is used to communicate with your dog that he has made the right choice. It is said with a pleasant tone, and sometimes accompanied by physical praise (treats or pats). When your dog hears this word, there should be no doubt in his mind that you are happy with him. Be genuine with your praise!
NO- This may be the hardest word to use properly. When you use this word, the dog should NOT feel a sense of dread. Rather, it is used to let the dog know that he must THINK, as he has made the wrong choice. If he puts his mind in gear and pays attention to you, you will help him figure out what he can do to make you happy. It is in conjunction with this word that you are allowed to give the dog a correction. Please make sure you understand this concept completely before you work with your dog.
OKAY - Okay is the word that lets the dog know that she is done doing whatever you just asked her to do; the release. It is important for you to learn to use this word consistently, as it helps the dog understand the difference between one command and the next.
LET’S GO - This command is used when moving from a stationary position. It is a courtesy command, letting your dog know, “I’m moving, move with me.” The only rule for your dog in a “Let’s Go” is that the leash be kept loose at your pace. Once you have established your “Let’s Go”, you can say “Right Here” and get your dog into position.
SITThis command is used to get your dog into a sit position. The hand signal for “Sit” is raising your hand, open and flat, palm up, over the dog’s head.
DOWN - This command is used to get the dog into the laying down position. It is NOT used to make the dog get off of something. The hand signal for “Down” is moving your hand, palm down, towards the ground in front of the dog.
OFF - This command means that the dog should get all four paws back on the ground, off of you, off of someone else, or off of the furniture. Remember, negative attention is still attention. Use your leash or your body to get your dog off of you, NOT your hands.
WAIT - Often thought of as the most useful of the commands, this word means respect the boundary. It is used at doorways to let the dog know he must wait for permission to go through. It is also used when the dog is getting into or out of the car, and when you want your dog to wait in a certain area or room of the house. It does not require the dog to hold a position, such as “Sit” or “Down”. It only requires that the dog wait for your permission to cross over the boundary at which the “Wait” was given.
LEAVE-IT This command is used when the dog is paying attention to anything you do not want him to. If there is food on the floor or on a table, if a cat or another dog has his attention, or if he is bothering another person, tell him to “Leave it”. Keep in mind that he may think that you only want him to disregard the object for the moment, and may return his attention to it shortly. If your goal is to get him to always leave something alone (i.e. the garbage), you will have to use this command many times under many conditions until he generalizes that you never want him to pay attention to what ever it is.
QUIETThis command simply means to stop barking.
PLACE - This command means the dog should go to his special, predesignated “reserved parking spot” in your house. It is your responsibility to first show your dog what his place is, and ensure that the dog remains undisturbed when he gets there. Guests and children should not be allowed to pester the dog while he is on his Place, so the Place will be seen by your dog as a restful and desirable place to be.
COME - This is the most fragile command most owners will ever attempt to use with their dog. It takes months to get this command properly conditioned, and it can be ruined in a matter of moments by a thoughtless act on the part of the owner. It is a word that needs to be reinforced many times a day. To reinforce it, it is important to understand what you are really asking the dog to do. To the dog, the word “Come” is not the process of getting to you – it is the end result of being with you. You can reinforce this word by simply petting your dog and telling him what a “Good Come!” it is when he is with you. That way, the dog hears the word in a positive format many times a day. If the only time the dog hears the word “Come “ is when you are yelling at him to stop doing something that he is enjoying doing (such as leaving the park), he will resent the command. “Come” must always have a positive association, especially when being introduced.
YOUR DOG’S NAME - Please use your dog’s name with respect, the same as you would like your own name used. His name is not a command – it is simply used as a courtesy to let the dog know you are talking to him.
Are Struggling to Train Your Dog?
The Answer Could Be That You’re Not Doing These 2 Things, You dream of having a beautifully trained dog, who is a pleasure to have around. You’ve seen other people with these dogs, and you’re pretty sure you could achieve that with a bit of training, so you get started. Maybe you go it alone or join a training class, but things just don’t seem to fall into place? He doesn’t seem to hear you half the time? He never seems to ‘want’ to do the things YOU want him to? He does it at training class but not at home or out on walks? It all seems to be going well, but then just when you think you’ve nailed it, he seems to forget everything he’s learned?
Does Any of That Sound Familiar?
Trust Me, You Are Not Alone…
So What is Going Wrong?
Let’s take a look. Maybe you’re just starting out to train your dog, or maybe you’re trying to undo some bad habits he has developed. Either way, there are two crucial elements of the training process, that many owners either forget to do or don’t know about, but they must be included if you really want to succeed.
Without these two elements, it will be much harder to end up with a successful outcome to your training, no matter what it is you’re attempting to teach. Without these two elements, it will be very easy for your dog to learn the opposite of what you’re trying to teach him. Without these two elements, your training sessions could be frustrating at best, and unsuccessful at worst.
So What Are They?
Let’s go through them one at a time and look at why they’re so important and how to include them, so you can train your dog to behave more in the way you’d like him to around the home and when you’re out and about.
1. Behavior Management During the Training Process -The first essential element, is to make sure you consider how you’re going to manage your dog’s current behavior whilst you’re training alternative ones. Let’s first consider why this is so important.
The way a dog learns is by association, pairing one thing with another. So when something he does is great fun or gets him a ‘reward’, it will leave an imprint on his brain. This means he will recognize when similar situations could result in the same pleasurable outcome, which will make him want to do them again. What’s more, the higher number of imprints made on the brain, the stronger that behavior will become. This is actually great news for you as the teacher, because it gives you the opportunity to manipulate situations to your benefit, BUT it also means that if you don’t manage your dog’s behavior while you’re training him to respond the way you want him to, he could gain access to rewards or pleasurable experiences, doing things you don’t want him to, thereby strengthening those behaviors instead.
Let’s use recall training as an example to explain it more clearly. Your dog is not yet trained to return to you on request using a cue word. So when you’re out walking, if your dog is off lead and runs over to another dog (or person, or chases a squirrel or cat etc) and has a nice playtime and lots of fun, this will strengthen the behavior of ‘running off ‘.
The important thing to remember here, is when something is really pleasurable for a dog, they learn it instantly. That imprint I mentioned before, is very powerful (But remember, this also works in your favor, if you make training lots of fun). So if you’re dog has run off and played with other dogs (or any other pleasurable experience) once or twice (or lots of times), not only have you got to train your dog to learn a recall behavior, but you now also have to undo the imprints that have already been made from the fun experience of running off. You can do this through the repetition of fun, enjoyable training exercise that will begin to convince your dog that coming back to you is more rewarding than running off, but only if you prevent him being able to run off any more.
In contrast, if you’re able to prevent your dog from ever running off and having his own fun in the first place, those very powerful imprints would never get left on his brain. This means it should be easier for you to teach him that staying with you is more fun, therefore creating a faster learning time frame, with a greater chance of success and a stronger, more reliable end behavior.
So in this scenario, managing your dog’s behavior would involve having him on a long training line, so you can teach him a reliable recall response, BUT at the same time prevent him from running off .
Whatever it is you want to teach your dog, make sure you consider if there is any need to manage his behavior whilst you train & imprint the behaviors you want him to have.
Some examples of Behavior Management whilst training
2. Environmental Management During the Training Process- The second essential element in the process of training any behavior, is managing your dog’s environment. As previously mentioned, dogs learn by association, so if there are things in his environment that are going to work against you during his training, make sure you eliminate or at least minimize their effect on him.
There are two reasons why this is so important. The first is the same as with behavior management, preventing your dog from gaining those rewarding imprints from anything in the environment around him. The second reason is to make sure your environment is not overwhelming your dog whilst you’re training him. This is especially important if you’re trying to eliminate any fear based behaviors. A stressed dog cannot learn effectively (think how well you would be able to concentrate and learn something if you were very stressed out at that time) so it’s important that all his training sessions are setup to be at a level he can cope with, and will therefore be able to focus and learn what you’re teaching him. (Remember, excessive excitement is also a form of stress, and prevents learning.)
Let’s use an example of teaching a dog not to jump up at people to explain it more clearly. Your dog has gotten into the bad habit of launching himself at everyone he meets. While this is probably not so bad if he’s a Chihuahua when he’s a 60lb German Shepherd it becomes more of a problem (Although those Chihuahua’s have tiny little sharp claws!) Anyway, you would like him to greet people with better manners, the problem here is, most of the people he meets are rewarding him for jumping up by making a fuss of him, and he loves that!
He’s so busy enjoying himself, he’s not listening to you requesting that he get down, or sit. Once again the reward he is getting will be strengthening this behavior every time he does it, making it extremely difficult for you to teach him to do the opposite.
So in this scenario, by managing his environment, in other words the people he meets, you’re able to eliminate the rewards he’s receiving, while you teach him that an alternative behavior (ie sitting) will get him those rewards instead. It would be essential for him to only meet people who are willing to do as you ask them, and completely ignore him if he jumps up, but reward him with fuss and tickles when he sits. This will start to strengthen the sitting behavior instead of the jumping up behavior, eventually leading to that becoming your dog’s behavior by choice.
So once again, whatever you’re looking at teaching your dog, whether it’s teaching him a completely new behavior, or trying to alter a bad habit he already has, you must consider how he could get rewarded by the environment around him and make sure that is managed whilst you’re teaching him. If you don’t do this, your training progress could be frustratingly slow, and most likely nowhere near as successful as you’d like it to be.
Some examples of Environment Management Whilst Training
1. Anything we get in EXCESS, regardless of how much we like it, loses value over a period of time.If you really like ice cream and indulge in a bowl daily, you might look forward to that as your special treat each day. But if you ate ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner and all your snacks, at some point you would not consider ice cream to be very special.
2. Anything we have ACCESS to anytime we want it, loses its value as a reward. When you go to work, you know that at the end of the pay period you will receive money for the time and energy you spent working: your paycheck. You could say that money is your reward for working. But, if you could go out into your backyard and pick money off of a money tree anytime you wanted, how long do you think you would continue to work for your paycheck?
The two concepts above become very important to anyone who is trying to resolve a behavior problem with a dog: the concepts of excess and access. These concepts are not only applicable to humans, but also apply to dogs. The big difference between the two lies in what is perceived as valuable and what is perceived as a reward, both of which are critical in altering dog behavior.
WHAT IS “VALUABLE” TO A DOG? A dog is much like a 2 year old child in his perception of value. Abstract concepts have no meaning. For instance, if you asked your dog to do something for you such as “sit” and offer him a $5 bill if he’ll do it, he will not perceive any value in that piece of paper in your hand. Money is a very abstract concept. As you get older you realize that you can exchange money for other things of value to you such as food. But a dog, like a two year old child, only puts value on the moment and only if they perceive the need at that moment. If they are hungry or if the food being offered is thought of as a special treat, it has value. But again, if they have just had two or three hamburgers and are full, the juiciest hamburger has no value.
PETTING AND ATTENTION One thing that most dogs value is physical contact with their owners or anyone that they care about. This contact is often in the form of “petting.” It can also be in other forms such as leaning on, jumping on, mouthing, or their bodies touching our bodies. Many dogs also value other types of attention from their owners such as eye contact and verbal interaction. But, if your dog controls these types of interactions, their value is going to be diminished.
Example: You are sitting on the couch and the dog comes up to you. Without even thinking about it, you reach down and pet the dog. You may even talk to him.
YOUR POINT OF VIEW - Let’s face it, petting is one of the things you like about having a dog. Touching a warm furry body and interacting with animals feels good both physically and psychologically.
THE DOG’S POINT OF VIEW - The dog has come up to you and asked to be petted. You comply. The dog has just controlled the interaction. Chances are good that he will also control when the petting stops by simply moving away.
What could possibly be wrong with this innocent interaction with your dog? Nothing, provided you are not having any major behavior problems. But if you are, you need to look at this “innocent interaction” from the dog’s point of view. If the dog can have access to petting by simply presenting himself to you, what reward value does petting retain? None! Of course, one incident is not a problem. But if you start paying attention to how many times a day the dog does control the situation, a pattern may emerge.
THE “NO FREE LUNCH” PROGRAM This program means the dog must earn the attention it gets. Instead of diminishing the value of contact with your dog, you are going to increase its reward value. If the dog presents itself for petting, ask him to do something for you first. That something may just be to “sit.” As soon as the dog does a sit you can pet him. But now it is your idea, and not his. It is helpful to also keep the petting to a brief interaction. Make sure the dog understands you are also controlling the amount of attention and duration of petting. In other words, keep the value of the petting high by doling it out in small quantities instead of flooding the dog with petting. Give him a stroke or two and quit. If he wants more, again, ask him to do something for you before you resume petting him. KEEP CONTROL!
Stress and Anxiety can have a very profound effect on your dog and it’s behaviour, and if you don’t know how to spot stress in dogs, you could be making his behaviour worse. What many owners perceive to be their dog behaving badly, can in fact be their dog’s response to a situation because of stress, fear or anxiety, which requires very different handling from a dog that is simply ‘acting up’.
Some Symptoms of Stress in dogsDo you remember seeing your dog do any of these? Spend some time watching him, especially in potentially stressful situations such as training classes, meeting another dog for the first time, strangers visiting the house, seeing another dog on the street and many other situations that we perceive as normal, but our dogs actually find stressful at times.
From The DOG’s Point of View:
You have a dog that reacts to other dogs when he’s out walking, by barking and maybe lunging on the lead, your response to this is to pull him back, shout at him to be quiet, tell him off, maybe even smack him? Many dogs bark and react to other dogs when they are outside because they are AFRAID, it’s a stress response to a situation they feel uncomfortable in. Their two instinctive options when feeling threatened are fight or flight. They are on a lead, so they know they can’t run away, therefore their only option is to ‘scare’ the other dog away, so a fight doesn’t take place, and they do this by barking at it.
So if your response to your dog’s behavior is to tell him off, from the dog’s point of view, when he see’s another dog, unpleasant things happen to him, so now he’s even more afraid of this situation which makes him want to make the other dog go away even more! The only way he knows how to make the other dog go away, is to bark even MORE ferociously at it, so it doesn’t come near him, and make unpleasant things happen.
Your dog’s association with seeing another dog = unpleasant things happen to him, from you.
So you can see clearly from this example, how an owner’s inappropriate response to their dog’s behavior not only fails to solve the problem, but in fact makes it worse.
Stress, fear and anxiety are all common among dogs, as they are among humans, and how we recognize the stress and deal with it, will determine how well we are able to prevent, manage or resolve reactions to situations. Stress occurs when a dog is placed in any situation which he feels unable to cope with. This discomfort is relative to each individual dog, some dogs cope well in a training class for example, but for others it sends their stress levels through the roof to be in such close proximity to a number of other strange dogs.
Acceptable levels of stress are present in a dog’s life all the time and are necessary to stimulate and encourage growth, but when these challenges become constant or unbearable, that’s when stress becomes a problem and the body reacts in a way that makes it difficult for the animal to cope with his experience. Stress is also something that builds, and overlaps into other area’s. So for instance, pulling on a lead is a stress inducing behaviour which raises a dog’s reactivity level by default, this will automatically make him more likely to react badly to any strange situation or strange dog that he feels uncomfortable with.
As with humans, each dog will react to stress in different ways and at different levels. Something that may cause one dog to become stressed would not necessarily another, they each have their own stress threshold in every individual situation.
Possible Situations that Can Cause Stress in DogsPossible causes of stress in dogs can be many and varied, and as previously mentioned, are individual to each dog, some examples are:
Spend some time watching your dog, paying close attention to the subtle signals he gives about how he is feeling. If you think your dog’s problem behavior could be caused by stress, fear or anxiety, enlist the services of a professional to help you deal with the root cause of the problem, which in turn will lessen or even eliminate the problem behaviors your dog is displaying.