Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Errorless Housetraining?! Not Quite

The supercool Dr. Ian Dunbar talks about the importance of "errorless housetraining" with a new puppy. This means giving puppies zero opportunities to make mistakes inside and lots of opportunities to be successful outside.
So you would think a dog trainer, like Jenn, would have this stuff all down pat. Hmmmm. So I was really surprised when our puppy Jet seemed to be getting a little more freedom than I did when I was her age. Not a good idea, since puppies that young are like toddlers running around the house without a diaper on. So about once a day, somebody isn't watching Jet and she potties in the house. Seriously! She potties IN the house. That's just gross.
After a few days of this madness, Jenn and Eric got with the program. They ramped up their supervision of Jet, made sure they were following a consistent routine of feeding and potty breaks (every hour on the hour through the day, after each meal, after each play session, after waking up), rewarded her with special liver treats and tons of praise for pottying outside, and most importantly, supervising her. When they aren't watching her, she is in her little crate.
Other little things to help your puppy be successful are:
  • Puppies often go multiple times, particularly in the morning. So you really have to take them outside, watch them go, and give them a few minutes to completely empty themselves.
  • An empty bladder and bowel means "you can come into the house and play", but still be supervised. Don't let your puppy come back inside and roam if you don't know if they have gone potty.
  • If you catch your puppy in the act of going, try to get them outside to finish, but don't scare the crap out of them (no pun intended) in the process. You don't want your puppy so freaked out they become afraid to go in front of you outside too.
  • If you find a mistake, just clean it up. Don't scold or punish the puppy. That won't help anything. In fact, your puppy will just rather sneak off and go behind your back. If you want to scold somebody, scold yourself.
  • Clean up mistakes with an enzymatic cleaner specifically made for pet stains. Other stain cleaners won't get our smell out and we'll just keep going back.
  • Feed your puppy near the area where they had a mistake. It is a puppy's instinct to not potty where they eat or sleep, so you can help puppy understand that the whole house is there den by feeding them meals all around the house.
Let's hope Jenn and Eric can keep this up to help Jet understand that pottying is for outside. You can learn about more of Dr. Dunbar's housetraining tips here.

1 comment:

Niamh said...

I agree with your Royal. Puppies do gross things. I was horrified when Ambrose peed in the house! But even he got the whole housetraining routine down. So if he can do it, Jet certainly will.

Your friend,