Friday, August 27, 2010

Ask The Trainer - House training

Question: Ok so I rescued Duke. He comes from a home where he was not well feed, yellowing teeth, much to much for his age. He was taken from the house that had 10 other dogs and hadn't been fed for sometime. Then he spend 10 days in PACC. Here is our little Dukes problem, he goes to the bathroom on towels and rugs and if lucky enough to get him to go outside its on piles of pine needles. She bought and put in a doggy door but still... New mom is not happy. What kind of retraining ideas can I offer this new mom?

Answer: The easiest way to re-housetrain a dog, or to housetrain an older dog that was never housetrained to begin with, is to attach the dog to you when you are home. Tie a rope around your waist and attach it to the dogs collar. This way the dog is always with you and you can start spotting his signals. As soon as you see his potty signals, take him outside to a designated spot (use the towels or rugs or pine needles outside to start with) and tell hiim to "go potty" or "hurry up". Be totally calm and matter-of-fact about the whole process. When he's done doing his business, praise him lightly and go back in the house.

When you aren't home, if he is already crate trained, put him in the crate. If he isn't crate trained you have two options. Crate train him or get a cat box and put a bathroom towel in it (an old one that you don't mind washing a lot). It sounds like he could have been litter box trained or pee pad trained. You could use this to gradually move him outside through the dog door.

Don't leave rugs or towels down anywhere for him to use for a couple of weeks except the one in front of the dog door. For three days practice luring him outside to another towel through the dog door. On the third day, remove the towel that's on the inside and leave the one that's on the outside for him to use. If you don't make a fuss about things, don't punish him for going in the house, especially don't punish him hours later, then he should be choosing to go outside within a week or two.

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