September 21st 2007 12:49 pm
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So, I'm a pretty well-behaved guy, especially for a terrorier. I don't really do anything too bad, unless you count getting a LITTLE too excited when I see a fellow canine nearby (I'm workin' on it, but I think you hear me knocking, if you know what I mean!) and then there was Burritogate.....where was I?
Oh, yeah, I thought I'd start a new diary series to help the less experiened doggies and new owners with the basics of doggie training. My goal is to help out any fellow pups with the (ahem) immense experience I've gained over nearly two years I've been around.
So, without further delay, let's kick off Jack's Doggie 101: Lesson 1 Houstraining Without a Crate!
Housetraining can range from a mild inconvenience to a full blown war, depending on the dog and the human involved in the training. But, as we dogs have known for years, when it comes to ANY aspect of training us canines, it is the HUMANS that make the most mistakes. Wag, wag, wag.
INSTINCT: What on Earth are we THINKING?
Our birth mamas teach us where and when to go, using lots of different techniques, most of which are NOT verbal. That's where the humans mess up. Us dogs are all about the body language, people. We got no idea what you're trying to say to us! Trouble is, not many of us get to stay with our moms long enough to be trained.
Somewhere around the time we are a few weeks old, it occurs to us that it might not be a great idea to....sorry to be indelicate....poop where we eat (or sleep, for that matter.)
Unless we have someone there to help us out with this concept, we just can't help ourselves. As puppies, we just gotta GO. A lot. And then some more.
Our bladders don't mature until we are almost a year old, so our parents have to be vigilant and not rely on us being able to hold it as well as our adult counterparts.
As a general rule, puppies that are a couple of months old need to be taken outside about every 45 minutes to an hour to pee or poop, just in case. More so if we've been running around excitedly, eaten, had water or even had a slight scare. It all goes through pretty quickly.
WHERE YOUR PEEPS COME IN: Training Your Parents
The first rule of housetraining is that YOU can't make a mistake. (Duh, you're a dog...you're not being BAD, you're being a DOG.) Only your humans can make mistakes. It is 100% up to them to help you succeed. The number two rule (heheheheh) is that your parents should NEVER yell at you, rub your nose in an accident or hit you if you have an accident. They will have to deal with a visit from my mom if I hear about any of this sort of behavior. She will give your parents "the look" and they will fall over on their backs and turn to stone.
First, have your peeps keep you in a roped off area of the house that they won't feel horrible about you pooping or peeing in. The kitchen is great and baby gates or wood can be used to block off the entrances. You will live in this area until you can be trusted.
Next, have them take you out to the same corner of the backyard each time and give you a command word or phrase like, 'Business' or 'Do it' or 'Cupcake.' The more bizarre the word, the less likely you are to hear it in any other context and think they are asking you to do it! Now, this is the good part....have them give you a treat and go crazy telling you how good you are each time you go where you're supposed to.
Within a few days, you should be getting the idea that when you're taken to this place and you hear this word, you gotta go. AND, you get some cookies and some good lovin'!
Please don't let your peeps use paper training or pad training. This contradicts the whole poop area/live area concept and once you mess with that, chances are you'll be confused about where to go for life.
Unbeknownst to the peeps, we give so MANY signs when we gotta go. Tell your peeps that keeping and eye out for signs is the number one way to speed up the training and have less accidents. Signs include: circling, sniffing, wandering or stopping playing to look around. As soon as a sign presents itself, your parents should take you to the potty place and give the command.
Accidents happen. No getting around that. But, remember that once you've taught the peeps your SIGNS, its all about them. It is their responsibilty to look for those signs, even if you've just gone potty five minutes beforehand. From here on out, if there's an accident, its not your fault, its theirs!
If they catch you having an accident, your parents should stop you with a firm, "No" but no yelling. They should pick you up, even if in midstream, then take you to the place you are supposed to go and put you there with the command word.
A special note for humans: This is no time for anger. Anger and yelling only make our furry little heads spin with confusion and the last thing you want is a dog that equates fear with poop. Calm is the order of the day.
If you have an accident and it is discovered later on, tell your peeps the ONLY way to handle this is to discreetly clean it up/dispose of it without involving you. Most of us furkids are not intelligent enough to figure out what you are disapproving of , even five minutes later. If some peeps think that we know, its just that we are reading your upset body language and we know you're mad, if not why.
If you do sleep in a crate at night, make sure your peeps CARRY you from the crate to the backyard each morning until you can be trusted. This eliminates accidents.
Have your peeps keep some enzyme based carpet cleaner on hand for accidents. Not only will it sanitize the area, but it will probably keep you from getting confused about where to go since it destroys the odor from the accident.
After you've mastered the kitchen, have the peeps introduce each room in the house to you, slowly. You should be allowed in for ten minutes or so when you've just gone potty. That way, accidents aren't as likely. The goal here is to get you to see the whole house as your den, and not just the kitchen. If there is a room that is off limits to you in the house, that's fine. But, make sure you tell the peeps that until you're an adult, make sure you can't get in there or there could be TROUBLE.
If, after a few weeks go by without accidents, there suddenly is one, have your peeps go straight back to step one as if you've never been housetrained before.
Some dogs (like ME) can pick up on it within a couple of days and be housetrained within a week . Just like human potty training, the key is parental consistency and vigilance.
Good luck with the housetraining, and feel free to email me with any questions on how I managed to be a card carrying member of the accident free club!
Next week in Doggie 101: How to Walk on a Leash!
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