Showing posts with label Puppy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Puppy. Show all posts

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

How to Potty Train Your Puppy or Dog

When it comes to potty training your puppy or dog the best approach is a holistic approach that considers all supporting elements...

Get a Routine In-Place to Support Potty Training Your Puppy or Dog

Your puppy's or dog's potting training  routine should look similar to this -
Potty breaks times are...
  • First thing in the morning
  • After every meal , and/or
  • After drinking substantial amounts of water
  • After playtime
  • Mid-day
  • Early evening
  • Before bedtime
Bedtime - Don’t set Puppy up for Failure
  • Puppy needs time for his/her bladder to grow so if you are allowing puppy to drink water an hour or less before bedtime Puppy may not be able to make it through the night
  • Restrict water consumption an hour before bedtime
  • By doing so you help set your puppy or dog up for potty training success, not failure
After-Meal Routine
  • After your puppy or dog eats let him/her outside for a potty training break
  • And again 15 minutes after that if he/she did not seem to eliminate the first time
  • Offer the next ‘potty break’ a half hour to an hour after that
  • Over time elongate this to two or three hours
Be Efficient Rather than Rushed and Anxious
Set a good example...
  • If you feel anxious around potty time your dog will acquire the anxiety you are projecting
  • You want potty time to be a normal activity not an abnormal one
  • Move efficiently, matter-of-factly - normally to the door rather than anxiously and in a rush
  • Remember dogs learn by example just as people do, dogs acquire stress and anxiety just as people do
Don’t Punish Your Dog for having a Potty Training  'Accident'
If your dog has an ‘accident’ in the house never punish your dog. Doing so can lead to stress and anxiety for your dog - which will ultimately lead to additional stress for you. You don’t want your dog to develop anxiety around eliminating as doing so can lead to an escalation of behaviour issues and can also cause health issues now and later on in life.

If Your Dog has an Accident in the House
Understand that the more fuss you make, the more stressful the situation will get, instead…
  • Take a big breath - let the tension go - normalize the situation put a structure in-place to move through the situation - don’t let your emotions take over
  • Lead , direct, show your puppy or dog out of the space - preferably to take him/her outside - assuming you have a fenced in area, or your dog knows to stay on your property
  • Allow your puppy or dog to stay out while you go back in the house to clean-up their stool or pee
  • If you are dealing with a puppy or a rescue dog that is not housebroken take the poop you have just picked up outside
  • Place the poop in the area where you want your puppy or dog to use as his/her ‘potty’ area
  • Let your puppy or dog sniff the poop (not eat it!)
  • Provided your pup or dog does not indulge in Coprophagia you can leave the relocated stool in the designated potty area for a few hours or a day
If Your Dog Goes Out - Comes In and Eliminates in the House 
If your dog goes outside - sniffs about, gets distracted, does not eliminate (pee or poop), then proceeds to come back in the house and eliminate - there are multiple possible causes, here are a few examples:
You May Have Let Your Dog or Puppy In Too Soon
If your puppy or dog seems to get distracted when he/she is outside and forgets to do what you have let him/her out to do (eliminate) just relax and leave your pup or dog out for a longer period of time. If your dog or puppy has a habit of escalating to high levels of excitement or fixation he/she may forget to eliminate.

Prevent Unwanted Excitement and Distraction
Provide structure - make your dog or pup work to go outside
  • Don’t just open the door and allow your dog or pup to run out and do not allow your dog or pup to press his/her self up against the door
  • Get his/her attention first, make sure that he/she is calmly sitting or standing away from the door, then make sure he/she is attentive - looking at your eyes, hold the look then indicate to your dog or pup that he/she can go out the door
  • You have to normalize the use of the outdoor space in your own mind before your dog can do so.
  • If you are anticipating that he/she will not use the outdoors you are creating an altered state of normal around the situation
  • If you are not comfortable your dog won’t be either - remember dogs are incredibly insightful when it comes to reading what you are really feeling and communicating
  • This means that your dog will literally and logically tune-in what you are emoting
If you want your dog to normalize the natural act of eliminating outside support him/her by normalizing the situation

Freedom - is Good, or Is It?
It's not if you have not taught your puppy how to handle the freedom. Don't give a young puppy the run of the house when you don't have time to supervise and guide puppy.

Who Decides What - Who Runs the House?
If your dog is ‘house trained’ but ‘likes’ to pee or poop in the house you have a bigger issue to deal with - your dog runs your household - not you. To resolve this issue you need to provide leadership to your dog in all areas of daily life. Once you do so properly your dog will stop eliminating in your home.

If your dog does long walking piddles and pees in your home, pees on the floor when excited or nervous your dog is simply insecure and needs the opportunity to have the support required to become a more confident canine. You need to learn how to better understand, communicate, and incorporate structure and leadership for your dog.
My Pit Bull x Boxer Robbie is a good example - Robbie had been abused prior to being surrendered to me. Robbie was aggressive-reactive and had zero confidence. He would do ‘walking pees’ in the house - typically a trail of urine ten to 15 feet in length. As I worked with Robbie and built his confidence the ‘walking pees’ became a thing of the past. You can read about Robbie here.

Become a Conscious Observer
A lot of puppies and dogs will tell their human ‘I need to go out’ but if you have not learned to consciously observe your dog you will not see the ‘ask’. Learning to see beyond casual assumptions is an important part of growing with your dog. Dogs are amazing communicators but if you fall for societal beliefs that say otherwise you will miss many opportunities to understand and respond effectively to your dog.
A puppy or dog with heightened sensitivity can become flooded by distractions. A puppy or dog that is experiencing stress and anxiety may either have ‘accidents’ or avoid going potty at times. Learning to turn heightened sensitivity into an advantage rather than a deficit is important for the short and long term health and happiness of your dog. Building grounded confidence in your puppy or dog by providing leadership is essential to eliminate stress and anxiety. You need to learn to communicate effectively and establish a good threshold of true patience within yourself.  It is important to understand the common factors that influence dog behaviour so you can avoid pitfalls and leverage your influence the right way.

Diet Matters
Make sure you are feeding your puppy or dog a truly appropriate diet. In regards to the issue of potty training a puppy you want to support ongoing development and optimal function of the brain, digestive and eliminatory system. Make sure your puppy is on a truly nutritionally complete and appropriate diet. If you are just feeding you puppy processed dry dog food your puppy's diet is not nutritionally complete.

Size Matters
Small dogs develop at a slower pace than large breed dogs. This means that a small dog’s bladder will take longer to grow than a large-breed dog’s bladder. Be patient and persistent but always be fair and remember that a puppy’s bladder needs time to fully develop.

And that is the scoop on the basics of potty training addressed from a holistic point of view.

Additional Assistance - Holistic Health and Wellness Service
If you require additional support, and guidance - contact me to discuss your requirements. I will determine the appropriate course of action for your situation and I will let you know the applicable fees. I offer consultative services to clients around the world...
Diet, Nutrition Wellness Services
  • Unbiased Diet, Nutrition, Product Advice - information and payment here >>. 
  • Holistic Diet, Nutrition Wellness Plans - information and payment here >>.
Dog Obedience Training and Behavior Modification Services
  • In-Person sessions - information and payment here >>.
  • On-Line consultation and sessions - information and payment here >>.

Saturday, 3 December 2011


For a Puppy that has never walked on a leash before this is pretty normal behaviour…so don’t panic and don’t get frustrated! 

I mean, what would you do if some one put a collar around your neck and tried to tug you…uh huh, now you see, I’d dig my heels in and shut down too!

I have had to show client's that  their puppies could walk very nicely - after they had quit trying to walk them as the puppy refused to move!

Sometimes people inadvertently create this kind of ‘shut down’ in teenage and adult dogs too. Don’t worry it is fixable. How does this happen, well there are many reasons…here are a few…

One - On a past occasion your dog did not want to go out, he dug his heals in and refused to budge, you were surprised, maybe felt worried, anxious even frustrated. These feeling tell your dog that you are not in-control and may also have reinforced your dog’s anxiousness. Now if you gave in and did not walk him he learned that he could control you.

Two - something that your dog thinks of as unpleasant may have occurred during preparation for a walk or while you were out on a walk. He dug his heals in and refused to budge, you were surprised, maybe felt worried, anxious even frustrated. You pulled hard on his leash (you dug in too!) and in so doing reinforced his ‘shut down’. You did not know how to lead and unlock you dog’s psychological state so the pattern of behaviour was formed.

What’s the worst thing you can do in this situation - full out tug your dog…I guarantee your dog’s resistance will increase, especially if you are upset. I understand that you are attempting to lead, but if you are emotional you are leading by the wrong example. If you are upset your dog will start to associate the leash with stress and tension.

If you have stopped trying to walk your puppy or dog because its does the ‘flop’ or digs in and refuses to ‘budge’ I do have good news for you… 

Because dogs live in the moment it is easier to change a dog's 'bad habits' than it is a human's. Humans carry grudges, dogs do not, they form associations with places, things, animate and inanimate objects. Dogs are very forgiving and treat each day, each experience as a new beginning if you change how you approach the experience.

This is about training you - not your dog. If you communicate the right way your dog will follow. Dogs are patient and persistent. If they think that they do, or do not want to do something a dog will simply draw upon its strength of will to succeed. If you are not prepared to employ greater patience, persistence and will you will not prevail. 


First of all you need to be aware of how dogs communicate and how you can unintentionally communicate the wrong message to your dog.

When we think of something that makes us happy, unhappy, sad, angry, excited, etc. the thought translates to our body. We may tense our shoulders, clench our hand, narrow our eye, purse our mouth, change our breathing, sweating and so on. This is our physical reaction to our own translated to our bodies = body language.

Body language is a form of communication and your dog takes notice -instantaneously…our dogs are often aware of what we feel before we are.

This is just one reason why it is so important to learn to be aware of your own emotional state when you are communicating to and working with your dog. If you use force and do not employ self discipline yourself your dog will not respect you. Psychological control consisting of self-restraint and self awareness, is a very powerful tool that when applied properly becomes a powerful, respectful method of directing your dog. Read more about that here and here


Your dog requires coaching and mentoring not domination. Take a quick read of these two articles and then you are ready to get your dog motivated!


How Dogs Assign Respect

For really small breed dogs like my 1.6 kg /4 lb Pomeranian please do not use a collar. For Dogs over 3.2 kg / 8 lbs collars are safe, but for dogs smaller than that you risk injury or breakage of their neck! I would recommend using a harness rather than attaching a leash to a delicate dogs collar. A wrap style harness would be best as it is designed to be less intrusive while providing a secure and non-pressure inducing fit. If you want to see an example you can click here. This type of harness is available at many pet supply stores.

If you are clipping a leash to your dog’s collar, make sure the collar is correctly adjusted so it cannot slip off over your dog’s ears and head.


Your confidence is everything to your dog. This is a psychological test of wills and has nothing to do with training your dog. It is a matter of training yourself - learning how to coach your dog through to success. You have to disengage your worry about what your dog will do and instead think about a positive outcome - engage working mode - calm assertive, directive confidence is key - no emotion. You have to be 100% committed to believing in yourself and your dog. Remember you do not want to engage in debate and argument with your dog. If you think you are going to have to fight with your dog over this - your dog can sense your lack of confidence and what you anticipate.

Now Get Ready for Your Walk... 

One - Don’t worry about whether your dog will refuse to move…think about the fact that it is normal to go for a walk - be confident, breath normally, relax, no tension;

Two - Now, clip the leash to your dog’s collar or harness;

Three - Immediately turn so you face forward in the direction you want to go, have the thought in your mind that you are ready to go for your walk;

Four -  With your dog beside or behind you, don’t look at your dog relax and look forward, give a little quick tug, immediately release the tension on the leash - keep the leash loose in your hand, no tension (loose-leash in hand)  and move forward;

Five - If your dog stalls give another little tug, release tension and move forward. loose leash in hand with confidence - don’t look at your dog just tug and go.

Six - Once you get your dog moving, if your dog bucks or digs in just repeat the quick little tug, immediately release all tension on the leash and move forward without looking at your dog. Don’t worry, maintain your confidence, own your walk with a confident stride and look forward…do not look at your dog. When you look at your dog (in this situation) your look becomes a conduit for expression of the though ' are you really going to listen to me? Are you really going to follow me? Such thoughts are not conducive to eliciting a follow response from your dog and provides an opening for an argument with your dog.

Seven - Remember that your dog has ‘gotten away’ with having ‘his way’ for some time, so your patience (persistence, determination and will) must be greater than that of your dog. Expect to have to reinforce a little until your dog goes through the experience of ‘testing’ you and seeing that you will be consistent, persistent and respectfully directive. Once he sees that you are determined to direct in this firm but fair and consistent manner he/she will start to work with you.

Eight - Enjoy your confidence and normalize the experience for yourself and your dog.

Have a good walk! If you would like you can come for a walk with me too - trail walk  or  road walk  you choose!

Additional Assistance...
Additional Assistance - Holistic Health and Wellness Service
If you require additional support, and guidance - contact me to discuss your requirements. I will determine the appropriate course of action for your situation and I will let you know the applicable fees. I offer consultative services to clients around the world...
Diet, Nutrition Wellness Services
  • Unbiased Diet, Nutrition, Product Advice - information and payment here >>. 
  • Holistic Diet, Nutrition Wellness Plans - information and payment here >>.
Dog Obedience Training and Behavior Modification Services
  • In-Person sessions - information and payment here >>.
  • On-Line consultation and sessions - information and payment here >>.