Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Lake Gaston, N.C.
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When I'm potty training a dog it's either in an expen or on a leash outside.
When in an expen I start when the pup first wakes up. I go over and stand next to the litter box (or whatever other method-paper or piddle pads) and say "go potty". This is the important part--NO baby talk. No reinforcement of any kind-not even eye contact. The trainer is allowed to relax and breathe and that's it. The pup of course wants attention and to play but it gets no reinforcement UNTIL exactly after it finishes pottying. Then pick up and "make much" over the puppy and let it out to run and play. When expen training, if after minute or so if nothing happens, I go and sit down in my chair, which is 2 steps away from the pen, and completely ignore the puppy. If the pup goes into the box, I go back to the same position by the box before the pup starts to do anything and say "go potty". As in training any animal, timing is everything.
When training to go outside, the pup is still in an expen, but at the appropriate times it is taken outside. It the same sort of thing. No reinforcement until after the pottying. I stand there and say "go potty". No walking all over the place and sniffing everything until after going potty. No tug of war on the leash allowed-EVER. This might take longer outside because it's too much trouble and the timing might not be right to go back in the house. The first time it might take 20 seconds or it might take all day. It doesn't matter. The important part is the timing of the praise after they go potty. Until then their world stops turning and waits. These dogs are very smart so they will learn the drill quickly WITH PROPER TIMNG OF THE PRAISE.
I can have an eleven week old puppy squatting and trying to pee in the box even if they don't have to do anything just so they can get attention and come out to play. I say eleven week old because that's usually the age that we only have one. I'm sure it would work with an 8 week old too but it doesn't work as good when you have more than one at the time.
This is potty training. Only after potty training can we move on to housetraining. We have Heart Pine floors and Persian rugs. We have twelve dogs that live in and out of the house including 3 intact males. Something over a hundred puppies have come out of here. The rugs have never been pottied on.
The potty training can be messed up though. Pam will occasionally spend a LOT of time with a puppy owner on the phone and email correcting problems. The problem is always too much freedom and the owner assuming that potty trained means housetrained.