How can I potty train my dog?
To learn how to potty train your dog, I’ll tell you a little story that you might be familiar with.
Mr. James is very excited about the new puppy that he bought in the local pet store. He comes home, places a few newspapers on the floor, some food and water for the dog, and places him down. The dog, curious, starts smelling everything in its vicinities, he sees a table leg, smells it, and then bites it, just as a little baby uses hand to explore the world around him.
This is normal because dogs don’t have hands, so they have to explore their surroundings with their mouths. Mr. James sees this behavior and shouts “NO, don’t do that”, the dog doesn’t understand English so he ignores Mr. James completely and heads towards the table leg again and starts chewing on his never-ending curiosity to try out the wooden flavor.
Mr. James picks up the dog and pushes him away from the table. A few seconds later, the dog pees in the living room, outside the “emergency” newspapers, and Mr. James gets furious and takes the dog outside and screams at him “NO, BAD DOG, you must do it outside”.
This story might look familiar to you or maybe you’ve experienced something like this or seen happening to someone you know.
So, what went wrong here?
As we all know, dogs don’t understand English or any other language, especially when they are just little puppies and are wandering about, exploring the world. In this particular case, but you can see multiple variations of this scenario, the dog ignored the owner completely.
Well, there’s no reason to think that the dog should have obeyed, he doesn’t understand English, or any verbal command yet, as any person or animal, they aren’t born with built-in knowledge, instinct yes, but not knowledge.
Mr. James did give a command “NO” to the dog when he misbehaved, but there was no afterward action for the dog to do, so he could be strongly praised. In the first act, when the dog started biting the table leg, he was corrected, but not in a good way, because dogs do need to chew and bite, but Mr. James didn’t redirect the dog to what he could really bite and chew, like a toy.
If he had redirected him to the toy, the second time the dog tried to bite the table leg would have never happened because he would be chewing his toy.
SO, WHAT WE HAVE TO CONSIDER HERE ARE TWO IMPORTANT FACTORS:
By redirecting the pet to something “safe”, we can quickly correct the dog with good positive reinforcement. In the above example, the dog should have been redirected to the “safe” objects to chew on, like the dog toys.
When we use prevention measures with a dog, we are trying to avoid correcting a dog in the first place. By creating a “safe” environment before the dog arrives at his new house, we increase our chances of giving positive reinforcement only and minimize our chances of having to correct the dog.
Remember, positive reinforcement is always more powerful than the negative one. In the above scenario, the puppy should have been allowed to pee outside (and strongly praised), before entering the house.
SO, WHAT HAS MR. JAMES THOUGHT TO HIS NEW PUPPY?
Basically, he thought him exactly the opposite of what he wanted. Let’s see a small “snapshot” of the dog’s mind:
- The only toys I have are table legs that are yummy and smell very good
- If I have to pee, the living room is a lot better than outside, because those large animals (humans) scream at me outside.
- The word “NO” means nothing
Of course, this was not intended, and Mr. James only whished the better for his new dog, like so many owners, he doesn’t have a clue of what went wrong, and why the dog didn’t obey him.
Don’t make the same mistake as Mr. James, because you start training your dog from the moment he arrives at your house. Every second you spend with him, you’re training him, unfortunately, most of the times for most owners this is unimaginable.
There’s a tool that you can use along with your training. For example, if you want to prevent your dog from leaving an area before he does his stuff, or even create a boundary inside your house in which your dog may not enter, you can use the PIF 300fence to create such boundaries. Just make sure your dog is more than 6 months old.
Potty training for dogs doesn’t have to be difficult or troublesome. If you follow these simple rules, your dog will learn very fast and you’ll enjoy his companion a lot more.