Potty Training 101

You take your dog outside, they spend 10 minutes just walking around. You come back inside and close the door and turn back around and your dog is peeing on the floor, again!

Does this sound familiar? Its actually one of the MOST common training issues I am presented with and yet, the easiest to remedy. First lets start with the basics of timing.  What is timing? Timing is the amount of time your dog can hold his urination or bowel movements at any given time. It is also the amount of time your dog can go after eating a meal before she needs to relieve herself. The math (yes there is math required- but I promise you can do it) for this is to take your dogs age in months and add 1. Ex: 4 month old puppy (4+1=5) the most they can hold their potty needs for is 5 hours.  Meals- Your puppy will need to be relieved within 1 minute to 30 minutes of finishing their meal.  As an added note when puppies are playing and running around they are making that little digestive system of theirs work overtime and usually end up having accidents. It is not uncommon for a puppy to just stop in the middle of play with no warning and go. This is because they haven’t developed bladder control or control of their bowels.  When potty training there are three methods you can use: Potty Pads (also known as paper training but do not use paper its not only unsanitary it actually teaches the dog to pee on newspaper, school work, etc) Crate Training (should be no bigger than allows for the dog to comfortably walk in, stand up, turn around, and lay down) Litter Box (yes like a kitty) You need to choose the method that works best for your dog and your lifestyle.  Before I go too in depth into the details of the methods I want to cover clean ups and alerts. Alerts: Dogs alert you in many ways that they need to be relieved. They will stop, start sniffing, walking in circles, or start lowering their rear end. When you see any of these you need to instantly swoop up your pup and take them outside. Keep paper towels strategically placed around your home to hold against puppy in case they start to have an accident continue to pick them up and take them outside.  Be consistent take your dog through the same door to the same place each time. Reward with praise and a treat after the potty has started. Remain soft spoken. Do not tell your dog to Go Potty x ? # of times before they start to go. Say it once and then wait it out silently. This is best started on a leash so you can keep your dog in the space you want them to go potty in.  NEVER and I repeat NEVER Yell At, Spank, Hit, or Swat your dog! NEVER and I repeat never rub your dogs nose in their urine or feces.  Here is WHY: An old school thought of training was if you did these things your dog would stop going in the house. The Facts behind it are as follows: It builds distrust of you It teaches your dog you equal pain It causes your dog to hide from you when they potty so you cant reward properly let alone effectively keep your house clean from urine and feces >>and NOTE if you have already done this and Your dog is hiding to go- This is NOT your dogs fault! It is YOUR fault. It is now YOUR job to mend those bridges and start fresh with your dog. Rebuild trust and start potty training properly. << For accidents AKA THE CLEANUP- Many people utilize Bleach or Vinegar to clean accidents: Bleach is very harsh breathing wise and contact wise and when mixed with ammonia (what is excreted in urine) is toxic to pets and humans.  Vinegar is used as a deterrent or repellent. While its a great cleaner its not recommended for use in areas where you want your pet.   Instead use: Natures miracle Simple Solution Urine Off or for tile/non colour treated areas- hydrogen peroxide.  These products dissolve the urine enzyme that dogs find and think Oh hey this is a potty area. Using water only just spreads it, using regular cleaners doesn’t dissolve the enzymes.  The other key to know is that if you see a urine spot on the carpet its actually 3-5 times larger under the carpet as there are 3 layers to your carpet - minimum.  *Carpet *Pad *secondary insulator (not always present) *Concrete Another way to keep your eye on your dog is to umbilical tether them. Hook the leash to your waist. If you can not supervise them they need a safe zone. A place where if an accident happens its easy to clean up.  Now we have learned about the foundations of potty training. This week were going to touch on the specifics of 1 of the 3 main types of potty training. Potty Pads or Paper Training. Paper Training- This is usually the most common form of potty training and can actually be combined with crate training. To effectively paper train your dog you need the following items: -Absorbent Potty Pads (Never newspapers) -A playpen 6" taller than your puppy when they stand on their back legs OR a baby-gate or two. -Masking Tape You start with a small space at a time. food water, bed, and toys go on one side. The pads go on the opposite side.  Dogs do not like to potty near their food or bed aka their “den”.  When out and about in the house potty pads should be centrally located and your dog should never be left unsupervised. If you notice circling or the start of a squat pick your pup up and place them on the pad. It does take a decent amount of consistency. If your puppy tries to pick up and play with the pad tape the edges down with masking tape.  When your puppy goes on the pad give lots of praise and a treat.  Make sure to change the pads once they have been used. Scented v unscented doesn’t really matter as the “scenting” is usually quite limited. Realize that depending on the size of your dog you may need to make a square of up to 4 large pads. Make sure to clean any accidents as previously discussed. and follow us on facebook www.facbook.com/AllBigCanines So many people have requested this help. So in addition to our previous discussions we will now discuss crate training. When we crate train it is never used as a punishment we never want our dogs to feel negatively about the crate. We have to build a positive association for it to become their personal safe space. Leave the gate open lure them in with a treat. Once they are walking in and out you then close the gate for 30 seconds and then open it and treat and reward your dog. Make it a fun game for them. Many people have concerns about using a crate for instance when they start using the crate their puppy may cry out loud and that’s okay because this is totally normal. What you want to do is encourage your dog to self soothe and not accidentally reward them by letting them out of the crate when they are actively crying because you are inadvertently telling them that crying gets them what they want, to be out, and to have attention. Which will make the duration of the cries longer.  Wait until they are quiet for 15 seconds before you let them out of the crate. The crate should stay in your room where they will sleep when they are older. And if you spend a great deal of time in the living room it would be beneficial to have a second one out there or a safe zone as I will discuss in a bit. Dogs do sleep together if you look around your home you will see dogs snoozing or laying near each other and in the vicinity of you so keeping your dog in a crate in another room is not the kindest thing to do to a dog.  What we want to use the crate for is to teach our dogs to not go potty in the house. But we also want to make sure we teach our dogs not to eliminate in the crate by following a general timing rule and ensuring the crate is the appropriate size. Granted if you have a growing puppy you will want a crate that is large enough for them as a full grown dog but one that comes with a divider panel so you can make the space smaller or larger as your dog grows. The crate should only be tall enough for your dog to comfortably walk in standing and lay down comfortably. Any larger and they may eliminate in their crate. Any smaller and the space is too small for them ergonomically but can also cause anxiety and tension. I prefer wire collapsible crates that the dog can see and have total airflow through. I do not like fabric crates or plastic crates for anything but travel. Make sure you do not leave toys they can chew or eat and choke on when you are not there to supervise them. SAFE ZONES: To make a safe zone you will need either a baby gate or a puppy playpen and to section off a space of the house so that on one side you have potty pads and opposite to the potty pads you have their water bowl, bed, and safe toys etc. You can tape down the potty pads and line the edges with no chew spray to prevent your puppy or dog from turning them into a chew toy. These spaces are used when you cant watch your dog like a hawk, or when you are leaving for longer periods of time and you are having someone take your pup out but not before their bodies would need water and to have to eliminate. Unlike a crate where we leave no food or water, we leave food and water in a safe zone. Age of dog in months = Maximum hours they can hold potty

2 months = 3 hours 3 months = 4 hours 4 months = 5 hours 5 months = 6 hours 6 months and older 7 maximum hours

When you force a dog to hold their potty longer than the maximum time you run the risk of: Urinary Tract Infections Bladder Rupture Fecal Impaction Kidney Infections Sepsis As you can see it is not a small issue if a dog is left in a crate for a longer period of time, it is a big deal.  Use a safe zone or have a friend, neighbor, pet sitter, or dog walker take them out to go potty. As always make sure you never reprimand for accidents, use a pet safe disinfectant, and clean your pup immediately. Take your dog out the same door to the same potty spot each time, reward for eliminating in the proper area and do not engage in play until after they have eliminated. This may take 10 to 15 minutes. TROUBLE SHOOTING: if you adopt a dog and they eliminate on themselves and this happens over and over this is usually something that someone else taught them and you are now tasked with fixing it. Take them out every hour and reward outside. Make a fake potty area as we previously discussed and with time you will get them through it. It is common and usually between the ages of 9 and 11 months. This is similar in children who have neglectful parents that allow them to sit in filthy diapers and pull ups. The child learns to not cry as their sounds of distress are met with silence. Someone else broke this for your dog and with love and patience you will repair this.   If your dog wakes in the middle of the night to go out lets say, at 2 am, then it becomes every night at 2 am. We can cover their crate with a blanket so they can still hear and smell us but not see us. Then wait until 2:15 or 2:30, at 2:15 or 2:30 take your pup out. Do this nightly. Push back by 15 to 30 min and within a few weeks you will be “sleep” training your pup to stay asleep and through doing such teaching them to hold potty as natural as possible so they wake up and eliminate when you take them outside and you return to a normal nights sleep. 

As originally posted to www.CVDogClub.com.

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