Monday, December 28, 2009

House-Training Dogs Who are Visiting Your Home

My inquisitive canine Poncho the dog was working overtime yesterday (while hubby and I were stuck in traffic) to help our friend Karen Lee Stevens of All For Animals. She had written to us about providing a few dog training tips she could use while taking care of a foster dog Tinker during the holidays.

Poncho did an excellent job of providing dog training tips on his Poncho's Prose blog, including making sure she was creating pleasant associations so Tinker would enjoy anything new &/or different - people she met, places she went or situations she encountered. Poncho also included tips that focused on house-training for dogs and how best to introduce cats and dogs, especially since Karen is the proud parent of Bella, a doggy loving kitty cat.

Karen, who is a columnist, editor and writer herself, had a follow-up question regarding the issue of house-training. Well, I thought I'd give my hard working inquisitive canine some time to relax (it is his favorite day - Garbage Truck Monday) and I've addressed it myself. The following is Karen's question to me, with my answer - hopefully Poncho will approve.

If you too have any questions, please feel free to submit them to our Dear Inquisitive Canine dog behavior advice column that can be found on both Noozhawk and Powerwomen Magazine, both online news websites.

Thank you for such a thoughtful blog, just for Tinker and I!!! She spent the first night at my house last night and I quickly discovered that she's not housetrained!! Three accidents, including one on the bed. I take her outside every two hours and she won't go, but the minute I bring her back inside, she lets loose. Do you think scented potty pads will help?!
Other than that, she and my cat are doing great together -- Miss Bella is especially interested in the new variety of food being served in the kitchen. :)
Best, Karen
Hey there Karen! As a certified professional dog trainer (and in my personal opinion), taking the extra time to teach Tinker to eliminate outside (or the #1 place you want her to go) is ideal - as opposed to allowing her to potty in multiple places. Unless you live in a high rise building or your living situation (weather/your age/your physical limits/dogs age/dogs physical limitations) doesn't allow you to take your dog outside, then I personally like to avoid pee pads. Dogs don't discriminate too easily between pee pads and a nice soft mattress :-)

So, these are a few things I'd suggest you do:
  • First thing in the morning or 30 minutes after you feed her, grab your laptop, newspaper (for reading), DS, iPod, favorite book, a snack for yourself, and a yummy treat for Tinker, put her on leash, get her outside where you want her to go, and wait...wait...wait...walk her around to sniff...wait...wait...wait...walk her around...And as soon as she goes - reward her heavily with petting, praise, and that yummy treat you've been holding in your pocket! You're basically throwing a huge potty-party! If it's safe you can take her off leash too for fun and games...(freedom is another reward).
  • The "enrichment" for yourself is so you're entertained while ignoring her. Try to refrain from saying things like "go potty honey" - because until she knows what that cue means, you'll be wasting your breath - and probably getting more frustrated.
  • If you've waited for at least 15 minutes, and she still hasn't gone to the bathroom, then bring her back in, but keep her tethered to you, or in your lap - Don't allow her to wander off on her own...Then, take her out every 20-30 minutes until she's gone! She will go, trust me! You just have to be patient.
  • Oh, and finally, once you've started the reward process, continue doing it over and over and over....we can never be thanked enough times for performing behaviors others want from us :-)
Speaking of, THANK YOU for writing to me and trusting me to help you reach your goals!

For additional house-training tips for you and Tinker, please see Poncho's blog posts on house-training dogs from a canines point of view, and my own dog training house-training tips right here.

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