Puppy / Dog House Training Mistakes – Phoenix Scottsdale AZ Dog Training – Dog Trainer – Behaviorist
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Way too many people are too harsh on their dogs when house training them. That’s a fact. And way too many owners have dogs that are 1, 2, 3 or more years old and STILL not house trained. That’s a fact. And there’s no reason for it. You CAN have a house trained dog WITHOUT harsh treatment, and ADULT DOGS CAN BE TAUGHT TO BE CLEAN IN THE HOME.
Just consider this. Housetraining is the very first thing we teach a dog. It sets the stage for the entire relationship. The pup knows nothing. If you start yelling, chasing, startling, spanking and scolding the puppy for something it doesn’t understand, it will harm the puppy. Pups are very impressionable. A very small mistake on your part will make a very big, lasting, sometimes permanent impression on your puppy.
Or, people try to do it themselves… and let a simple problem grow into a major disaster, where they no longer like their dog and thousands of dollars of damage have occurred. So, the dog ends up in a shelter or worse, and the owners then get another dog, do the same mistakes, and the next dog doesn’t get house trained either. It just doesn’t have to be this way.
My Housetraining Program, if implemented rigorously, will potty train your dog, unless your dog has a temperament or health problem that interferes with your dog’s natural desires to be clean in his own home. It is kind to the pup, it is behaviorally sound, and it works. I recently boarded a customer’s 12 week old puppy for a week at my home. I did this as a favor to them. I don’t normally board dogs, but the pup was too young to be placed in a boarding kennel, and I wanted to make sure that the pup properly continued its socialization program. The pup didn’t even have ONE accident while under my care. If I can do that with a 12 week old pup, while at the same time taking care of my dog and all my customers, you should be able to do that with your puppy or dog. There is no excuse for not having a housetrained dog.
This program will work on dogs of any age and of any breed. This program will work for any owner and for any situation. But, you must follow my program Rules religiously, or you will have flaws in your handling of the situation and your dog will continue to potty indoors. I sometimes have people who hire me to teach them what to do, but then don’t do it. And of course the dog keeps pottying in the house. But, the customers that DO follow the program always stop the pottying in the house. That’s why I have to teach YOU what to do, but then YOU have to do your part.
Housetraining is the first formal thing we teach a dog. And many people do it wrong. They yell, spank, swat, scare and intimidate their puppies when they have accidents in the home. None of this works, and it has the poisonous effect of permanently damaging the dogs relationships with people
Common Housetraining Mistakes
Mistake #1: One well-known trainer recommends if your dog has an accident in the house, you should bring them back to the accident, show it to them, and scold them. THIS IS WRONG! I can’t believe this kind of advice is still given. Behavioral studies of dogs have PROVEN THAT THIS DOESN’T WORK. Don’t do it. The dog won’t understand why it is being corrected because it is after the fact. And don’t hire a trainer who recommends this approach.
Mistake #2: Another mistake is thinking you will encourage the dog to have more accidents if you let them see you clean up the mess. This is wrong. It won’t change your leadership position with your dog, or harm your relationship with your dog if you clean up the mess in front of them. Leadership and dominance don’t work this way. In fact, did you know the momma dog licks up the urine and feces of the puppies for them? Then, when they are older, around 2 to 3 weeks of age, their instincts take over and they leave the nest ON THEIR OWN and potty away from the den. Wolves, and domestic dogs, NEVER correct the young for pottying in the den. I have also seen adult dogs lick the bottoms of older pups, stimulating the pups to urinate. This has NEVER resulted in the adult dog correcting the puppy. And I have seen puppies urinate and defecate in the home in front of adult dogs, and the adult dogs NEVER correct the puppies for urinating or defecating in the home. Any trainer recommending you clean up in private isn’t worth the money you will spend for their advice.
Mistake #3: After an accident, bring the dog to the potty area outside and tell the dog this is where they are supposed to go. Won’t work. Your dog won’t understand this at all. You are wasting your time, and worrying your dog.
Mistake #4: Clap your hands to startle the dog when it is pottying in the house. If you do this, all you are going to do is make your dog afraid of pottying in front of you. Then the dog will start hiding its mistakes and it will be even harder to housetrain your dog.
Mistake #5: Don’t talk to your dog while it is trying to potty. Supposedly you will disturb the dog and it won’t go. This is doesn’t make sense. Just like in all dog training, there is a way to encourage correct behavior. Housetraining is another lesson you have to teach your dog, and the same principles apply.
Mistake #6: Treat accidents as a challenge to your authority. This is wrong. Accidents aren’t about disobedience, requiring corrections, spanking, time-outs, shaming, yelling or chasing. Do that, and you will wreck your dog. Accidents are about METABOLISM and INSTINCTS. You wouldn’t correct a 6 month old baby for defecating in its diaper, would you? Well, you shouldn’t correct a puppy for defecating in the living room. There is a better way. You could also have a medical problem brewing that has nothing to do with learning. For example, diarrhea isn’t a housetraining problem, it is a medical problem. It is inappropriate to correct a dog for not feeling well. You should consult your vet if your dog is having diarrhea. It is a dangerous condition and can result in the death of your dog. Another example: Submissive Urination isn’t a housetraining problem, and is dealt with differently than housetraining. The same is true with respect to Excitement Urination. In a similar vein, urine marking is different than housetraining, though it should be discussed as part of a proper housetraining program.
Mistake #7: Leave the dog in a laundry room, or other small room, while you are away from the home. This might completely sabotage all your housetraining! You will force your dog to learn to go potty in the house, and violate a dogs natural instincts to be clean in their “den” (your home). One reason you never want to get a dog from a pet store is because they let the puppies sleep in their own filth. They learn it is OK to live in filth, then they lose their natural inhibition against pottying in their “den”.
Mistake #8: You can ship your dog off to a Board & Train facility and they will do the housetraining for you. This won’t work. Here’s what they do. They put your dog in a crate, they take it out, they put it in a crate, they take it out, etc, etc. etc. This doesn’t teach YOU what to do, it doesn’t teach the dog not to potty in the living room or den, and it doesn’t solve issues like Marking or Submissive Urination. If your dog is having accidents in the home, then it is YOUR fault and YOU need to learn what to do to fix it, and YOU need to do the work to solve the problem.
Mistake #9: You can buy those urine-pads at a pet store, and you can use them to “paper train” your dog. I can’t count the number of times I have seen these silly urine-pads in peoples houses. They don’t work because YOU ARE TEACHING THE DOG TO POTTY IN THE “DEN” (your home). This will always backfire.
Mistake #10: Assuming the dog will potty on YOUR schedule. Puppies will go when they have to go. You can switch to a schedule that is convenient for you, ONLY when your dog is an adult (1 to 2 years old), is housetrained, and s/he can control his/her bladder and bowel movements. I define “housetrained” as a.) when your dog hasn’t had an accident in the house for 1 year, and b.) your dog can sleep through the night without having to potty.
Mistake # 11: The old dog will teach the new dog how to be clean in the home. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this silly myth. Dogs DON’T teach other dogs how to be house trained.
Mistake # 12: Letting the dog continue to potty in the home. There’s no reason for you to have ANY accidents in your home past 6 months of age, and if you implement my program, you shouldn’t be having any accidents in the home at all from the very first day. This is a CONTROLLABLE AND FIXABLE problem.
The Housetraining process should be enjoyable for your dog. Dogs, and especially puppies, can be irrevocably harmed by harsh treatment. If you are getting angry with your dog, then you are doing things wrong, and you aren’t giving your dog enough time, opportunity, and rewards to do the right thing.
Some dogs won’t be 100% trustworthy until they are two years old, even with the best methods. Even so, that doesn’t mean you should be having accidents in your home for 2 years. It takes time for their minds and bodies to mature, just like kids, but we can still control what is going on. I think a major reason it takes some dogs a long time to be housetrained is because of the relationship between the size of their bladders relative to the size and metabolism of your dog. A very large puppy with a very small bladder might take a while to potty train. The bladder might fill up very fast. So, make the process enjoyable for yourself. My mom taught me a good lesson about dogs. She taught me to enjoy the puppy, and not be impatient for the puppy to be an adult. A puppy can’t do what an adult dog can do. They are silly and fun and dopey and clumsy and going through a lot of changes. If you don’t start appreciating your dog you have, and believe in your dog that he can be housetrained, then you are going to try a “quick fix” that is going to do lots of harm in the long run. Patience is a choice. Patience is a decision to work through the learning process with your dog. You have to choose to be patient, to let your dog learn, to hold your temper and never get angry with your dog.
After you’ve been taught my Housetraining program, then you’ll realize that if your dog is still pottying in the house, then it’s your fault, not your dog’s. Forgive your dog. Blame yourself. Forgive yourself. Then, re-read all the Rules and see which ones you are not doing. You are missing something.
Housetraining is a “paper and pen” session, running about an hour, plus a 95 page book I wrote (that is more complete than anything else on the market). Follow up is free, and I want you to call or email me if you are having any difficulties. My program is extremely detailed, to ensure that your dog is housetrained. It isn’t a quick fix, but it does work and won’t cause your dog any harm.
Sam Basso is a professional dog trainer and behaviorist, in the Phoenix/ Scottsdale metropolitan area. He’s known for being fun, kind, intelligent, and humane. Sam Basso has a unique personal touch. He has appeared on his own TV show, been a guest radio expert, gives seminars, publishes a dog related blog, does rescue volunteering, and is active in promoting animal welfare and fair dog laws.
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