My puppy needs your help. She is regressing with the potty habits. She will go outside, but many times she is distracted, by just about anything moving. She goes best at night. I also use the potty pads and have had some success there. Some days she will go where ever in the house she pleases. She is very inconsistent and frustrating. Help please!
By Sharon from Buffalo, NY
IMO, potty pads send dogs a mixed message that it's OK to potty inside and since they aren't like cats who go to the same spot each time, they tend to go anywhere they like. Consistency is huge in training.
Refocus on going outdoors only, take her out frequently. Reward her for going outdoors (carry some treats in your pocket). Make her stay outdoors until she does her business. Remember, she's very young and distractions are normal, but you are the pack leader, so refocus her. (10/29/2010)
If this were my dog, and it was more or less having problems with attention here is what I would do:
I would find one place you want her to do her business. You might want to choose a location as far as possible from your door, so she will have to go on a "mini walk " to get there. Walk to the door and announce: "Lets Go Potty," in kind of in a "sing song" voice, kind of in the tone of " Oh look! I found an extra twenty dollars, lets go to the mall." In other words what we call "happy cited" with our dogs. They pick up on pack excitement since you are their leader!
Before she goes out for the first time to this new "spot" you will have to put some high interest treats out there while she was not looking. I would say about three treats would be good. I would choose treats that you can either cut or tear up into small pieces. These would be treats cut up into grape size pieces that she can wolf down, no pun intended, in a matter of seconds. If it takes too long to eat them, then she will get distracted again.
Take her out the same way as you normally would, saying in a happy voice, "lets go potty' or "let's do our business" or some such thing. At this point you are not following her, but only letting her go out the door and you are watching to see if she is going to follow the trail. I would not go outside with her, since you will not always go out with her when she goes, if she can't find it, then maybe you can walk her out to the general area, but let her discover the treats on her own or she will associate them with you being there and not with her being outside. I would act like I didn't even see her eat the treats, and it is a big secret between herself and herself. If she seems to keep looking at you like she is saying "Wow look what I found", then say something like "Well for goodness sake look what was out here" and then don't get excited.
We are hoping at this point to have her start smelling around the area which is close to the behavior of smelling around the area to start going potty. We are hoping for at least a pee here. If she goes that is a wonderful thing! Of course you would adapt for a really distracted doggie, and place a few treats in a path to the place at first, under normal circumstances this will peak her interest in this particular place.
I would do this as often as three times a day for a couple of days, and then maybe twice a day, for a couple of days and then maybe once a day every so often. Think of the people who constantly put quarters into the slot machines. They don't win every time, but they keep trying for the occasional jackpot!
Doggies are like kids. You never really know what they will do. You just have to bribe them with treats, at first to set the behavior. Most of all just give them love for the incredible beings they are. People think they are spending time with their dogs, but if they were to add up all the minutes they actually spend petting and sitting with their dogs it is not as much time as they thought. Put a timer and spend five minutes with your dog, petting and whispering. It will mean a lot to your furry friend.
There is a secret that trainers use, they have a treat pocket that stays on them all the time, the dog gets focused on that. It is no more than a small bag tied to a belt with treats in it. I would think it would be on the side you wanted the dog to walk on. Hmmm. Maybe I should wear a treat bag or my kids, they could be rewarded on the spot for cooperating with each other etc.
There is not law that says you have to ever really stop. I like to mark spots that I like the dogs to lay with treats, for immediate training use, I would use cut up hot dogs, but for this purpose I would buy those treats at the Dollar General, that are called Wagon Wheel or any of the other ones that have real meat as a first ingredient. These can be cut up into little bits and they are not only good, but they supplement your dog's diet as well. If you feed your dogs cheap treats, consider spending more on the treats with real meat or even buying real chicken and giving them bits of it, cooked, as treats. If you get into the habit of buying cheap things and give them garbage, you will pay more at the vets down the line for skin problems, etc. Especially when they are older.
I just spent four hundred dollars last season for skin problems related to yeast and I can almost promise you it was the dog food I was feeding, that didn't have real meat as a first ingredient. I used prescription shampoo with an anti-yeast ingredient on the dog's coat and he took pills to get rid of yeast and then I changed his food. The vet, who I love dearly, swore up and down the food was not the problem. He was selling a well known brand on the shelf of the vet office that did not have meat as a first ingredient. Dogs don't chase corn and by products, they chase meat.
If all this fails and nothing happens, there is something you will have to find that will peak it's interest. If I had to put a piece of meat from a t-bone steak on my thigh to make the doggie interested in walking right I would do it, anything to help the dog make the right associations! I put treats where I want her to lay and where I want her to stand by the door.
There is no end to the treat thing, as far as training. I am working on finding a quick way to stop door running with using a high value treat at the door and when the dog charges through, throwing it back behind me after he gets a sniff of the meat or hot dog or whatever it is. The hope is eventually, when I do the sign, he will automatically go back looking for the treat at which point I can click and treat as in clicker training. We will see how this goes.
There is a lot to be said for having a certain toy to play with when the dog goes out and does it's business that only comes out after the work has been done, so to speak. I wouldn't really start this now, but once the dog is good at doing this business thing where you want her to, you could buy a potty toy, a soft toy, that she gets when she does her business and give it to her on a towel or rug when she comes in. A bonus to this is it teaches them to lay on the rug and play. Some dogs will avoid the rug, just toss them the toy when they come in and then take it away after about ten minutes and love on them.
Good luck and have fun, remember to do a lot of things on a daily basis in the same spot, such as on the same chair in the same place for dogs that are easily distracted.
By Robyn Fed
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