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How To Train A Dog To Use A Bell To Go Outside

How To Train A Dog To Use A Bell To Go Outside

How To Train A Dog To Use A Bell To Go Outside

How To Train A Dog To Use A Bell To Go Outside

Many of my clients come to me asking how to train a dog to use a bell to go outside.  The title of this post is actually quite misleading.

I’m not going to teach you how to train this skill.  The reason why is that it is a bad idea.

During my career I’ve met hundreds of dog owners who have trained their dog to use a bell when they need to go potty.  In a large majority of those cases the dogs in question had learned how to ‘game the system’.

What I mean by that is the dog had learned to ring the bell….whenever he felt like it.  He may or may not need to go to the bathroom.  His bladder may or may not be just about ready to burst.  Perhaps he just wanted to go outside to chase butterflies, bask in the sun, or run around barking at neighbors.

What I’m getting at is when you know how to train a dog to use a bell to go outside you’ll often find that the dog is abusing the privilege by ringing the bell 50 times a day!  Now you are at the beck and call of your dog.  It doesn’t matter if you are taking a shower on the other side of the house, relaxing by reading a book, or otherwise engaged….if your dog rings that bell then you’ve got to get up and go attend to the needs of your dog.

When you got your cute little puppy did you ever imagine that you’d end up being a butler to your dog?  That is what happens when you use this bell system.

My advice is to avoid this training altogether.

How To Train A Dog To Use A Bell To Go Outside- Alternatives

So the question that often comes up with my clients is, “Well, if we’re not going to learn how to train a dog to use a bell to go outside…then what are we going to do?”  The answer is simple, train the dog to hold it.

With my clients I’m constantly preaching a very simply concept of ‘who is controlling the outcome?’  What I mean by that is when you look at various behaviors that your dog does, trained or not, who is controlling the outcome?  If your dog is controlling the outcome then HE is the one doing the training.  If YOU are the one controlling the outcome, then YOU are the one doing the training.

In the case of bell training, your dog is controlling the outcome.  She is the one at the back door ringing that bell and she is the one training and controlling you.  I don’t like that.  I don’t like putting myself in a position where the dog is telling me what to do and when to do it.

When I’m house training a young puppy or older dog I’ll keep the dog on a leash so that he or she can’t sneak away.  Then I’ll simply take the dog out at regular enough intervals so that the dog learns to hold it and go out on my terms.  It’s as simple as that.

How To Train A Dog To Use A Bell To Go Outside- Other Areas To Avoid

Along with potty training with a bell there are other areas of housebreaking that you want to avoid at all costs.

At all costs avoid using potty pads, avoid indoor bathroom structures for your dog, and avoid litter box training.  All of these train the dog to go to the bathroom indoors whenever they like.  Obviously this isn’t ideal or hygienic.  Train your dog to eliminate outside and outside only and you’ll be much happier.

It’s Not About You

We all love our dogs.  In fact, there are many folks nowadays who love their dogs like they are family members.  I think this is fine.

Where it ceases to be fine, though, is when we start thinking that we need to treat our dogs EXACTLY like we want to be treated.  I’m a big fan of the Golden Rule.  When it comes to dogs, though, it just doesn’t always apply.

Let me give you some examples:

  • This is one I’ve heard a lot.  I had a client just the other day ask me about this and I’ve heard several variations over the years.  The client mentioned that one of their dogs slept in the crate and one of them slept out of the crate.  They wanted to know if this was okay because it didn’t seem fair.  I asked them about the dog that slept in the crate.  Apparently if she slept loose she would pace and whine throughout the night.  When she was put in the kennel for bed, however, she immediately conked out and went right to sleep.  My response to this client was, ‘Well, it sounds like she’s happier in the crate then…right?’ to which they responded in the affirmative.  I counseled them to realize that if the dog was happier and there was no training problem to speak of then why would they have an issue?  They said it just didn’t feel ‘fair’ that one dog was crated and the other not.  Remember, dog owners, it’s not about YOU.  It’s about what makes your dog happy and well adjusted.  You don’t need to feel bad with your dog in the crate if your dog is happily catching Z’s.
  • Going along with the crate theme, I often help puppy owners get their dogs crate trained.  The first thing I recommend to them is to not put a blanket or bedding in the crate.  Puppies are likely to chew on it and are more likely to pee on bedding than if the bedding weren’t there.  The response I often hear is, “Ohhhh…my poor puppy.  She won’t be comfortable without a bed.”  Remember, dog owners, it’s not about YOU.  YOU probably wouldn’t be comfortable in a crate without a bed.  YOU also would likely not be comfy sprawled out on the tile but your dog is.  YOU probably wouldn’t roll around in deer poop or mud but your dog is perfectly happy with that.  Just because a bare crate floor wouldn’t be comfortable for you doesn’t mean that your dog isn’t A-Okay.
  • I’ve known many dog owners that leave food out in a bowl all day for their dog.  When I recommend they stop in favor of scheduled feeding the argument I hear is, “Well, I like to eat throughout the day.  I think my dog should, too.”  Repeat it with me now….It’s not about YOU.  Your dog is a carnivore.  Carnivores aren’t meant to graze on food throughout the day.  They are meant to eat full meals and then digest them over the next several hours.  YOU are not a carnivore (I’m assuming, I’ve yet to meet the carnivore dog owner).  YOU are not set up to eat the same way a carnivore does.  For YOU it is more healthy to eat several times a day.  Remember, it’s about doing what is best for your dog.

These are just a few examples.  When it comes down to it, I often compare human behavior to dog behavior and there are many parallels.  In many cases it’s perfectly okay to put yourself in your dog’s shoes.  There are many other cases, however, where you’ve just got to remember.  It’s not about YOU, it’s about what’s best for your dog.

Puppy Training: Getting Things Started Right

The following is a question from one of our valued customers:

We just got our puppy yesterday an 8 1/2 weeks old Golden Retriever.  We watched the DVDs prior to the puppies arrival.  We are applying your method of keeping the dog on the leash with us in the house and having the dog on a feeding schedule.  So far we’ve had her a little over 36 hours and she has had no accidents in the house :) and goes pee around 10 minutes after drinking and poops around 30-40 minutes after eating.  Last night I had to take her outside at around 3:00am, she went outside before at 10:30, and after she did her business she went back in the crate until 6:00 when I got up.  She is a little mouthy and likes to jump up on us at times but your methods have helped a little bit in that regard so far.  As we have just started I am thinking that every week should get a little better if we are consistent.  We are just using a regular collar and a 6 ft.  leash.  How old does the dog need to be before we can use a training collar? My wife is going to start on the place command tomorrow.  Well that’s about it.  The DVDs were very informative and a great purchase!

Getting A Golden Retriever Puppy Started Off Right
 You can start using a training collar when it’s needed.  If you find yourself using too much strength with a regular collar that is usually when you’ll start using a training collar.  Try to avoid this with too young of a puppy.  The purpose of a training collar is to have leverage so that less of a correction can get the job done.

You may also want to invest in a ‘tab leash’.  A tab leash is a short leash of 12-18 inches.  It bridges the gap between using my leash method and using no leash.  If you attempt to go with no leash you’ll likely find regression on the dog’s part so it’s important in the beginning stages to always have a leash or some other means of correction/motivation/guidance.  As the dog progresses with the regular leash you’ll graduate to the tab leash.  As the dog progresses with the tab leash you’ll slowly cut it down until you get to the point where there is no leash at all.  Best of luck and happy training!

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Curing Chewing And Housebreaking With A Shih Tzu

A recent customer of our dog training DVD programs has asked us the following question:

We have had our new family member only about 3 weeks.  He is an 8 month old Shih Tzu.  When we got him we had no problems with going potty in the house.  He was not chewing everything up.   He was really pretty good.  Then about a week ago we had him neutered.  It seems like a lot has changed.  He potties in the house sometimes, not a lot.  But the past couple of days he has been chewing and tearing everything up; shoes, his toys, etc.  He has literally torn up all of his toys.  He has gotten the squeaker out of toys and chewed it up as well.  Even hard plastic dog bones chewed up.  etc.  Why the big change?

 How To Stop A Puppy From Chewing And Going Potty In The House

The truth is that it is very likely your puppy already had some of these issues.  I find it to be the case that many dogs don’t feel comfortable in their new home until they’ve been there a few weeks.  It’s common that you don’t see behavior problems pop up until the dog settles in.  In fact, many of our dog training clients call us about 2-4 weeks into owning a dog with similar complaints that their dog started off great but has since deteriorated in their training.

The first thing I’d recommend is to keep a leash on your dog.  Keeping a leash on the dog will accomplish two main things:

  1. Make sure the dog doesn’t sneak away.  Every time your dog sneaks away and chews, pees, or poops he’s essentially being rewarded for bad behavior.  You’ve got to prevent your puppy from sneaking off.
  2. With your puppy on a leash you can better train for obedience.  Obedience training is critical for a puppy like this.  Obedience teaches your dog to respect you and respect your house rules.

As you continue focusing on obedience training and manners you’ll find a new-found respect from your puppy and you’ll be in a great position to get rid of all these behavior problems.  I often feel like a broken record when I tell my clients that it all starts with obedience training, obedience training, obedience training.  It never ceases to be true, though, that training has a ‘collateral effect’.  The more structured and obedient the dog the more you see problem behavior melt away.  Good luck and happy training.

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Crate Training A Dog

Crate training a dog is a humane way to supervise your dog when you aren’t home. It needs to be done right, though, if your dog is going to like the crate and feel like it is his or her den. This is the right way to crate train.

 

 

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Potty Training A Rescue Dog

Here is a dog training question from a reader of our site…

Hey, I work at a rescue center and a dog came in that wouldn’t go near anyone even after a week.   So I fostered her to see if she would be better in a home.  In the end we kept her but we’re struggling with toilet training because she will only go in the house.  If we put her in the garden she will scratch at the door until she gets let in.  If we leave the door open she will go out but come back in to go toilet.  It seems like she thinks she’s supposed to go wherever she is.  When we put newspaper down she will use it to hide what she’s done even though we wont tell her off because of her past and she just rips up puppy pads.   Do you have any suggestions?


The suggestion for I have you, there’s one main suggestion and I think it’s going to pay big dividends for you.  That is, keep your dog on a leash.  The first thing you mention is the dog has a really hard time bonding with people.  You mentioned too that in a whole week she still wouldn’t go near anyone.  By keeping the dog on a leash, and keeping the dog tighter to you, what happens is the dog becomes accustomed to you.  You’re able to correct the dog, guide the dog, lead the dog.  And what happens is it’s great for this bonding process.

And so, that’s the first thing I would recommend.  Well, that’s the main thing I would recommend – but that’s the first reason I would recommend.  The second reason I would recommend is the only way rather that the dog is able to sneak off and go the bathroom is because it’s unsupervised.  And for you specifically and for anyone that has a new dog, a new foster dog, a new puppy, a new rescue dog, whatever, that new dog does not know your house rules.  And so you cannot let that dog sneak off.  It’s imperative.  Now, eventually you want the dog to have freedom.  But you can’t start that way.

And so I would definitely recommend getting rid of those puppy pads, getting rid of newspapers.  That’s just a bad habit.  Keep the dog on leash.  Go out to the bathroom – don’t just put the dog out there – with the dog.  While you’re out there, walk the dog back and forth on leash, encourage her to go to the bathroom.  When she goes to the bathroom, make it a big deal.  Really, jump up and down, make it a super great thing that she went to the bathroom outside.  But like I said, just keeping him on a leash is going to be huge.  Now, you’ll do that for a few weeks, a few months.  It depends on the dog.  Once she starts to get it, then you can kind of start backing off on that leash.  But right now, you’re allowing her too much freedom because she is able to have these accidents.  So you’ve got to cut back on freedom until she’s earned it.  Like I said, if you can do that, you’re going to be in great shape.  So, time to get to work.

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Written Housebreaking Formula

There are four steps to my house training formula and I’m going to go through each step in detail:

1- Prevention- Dogs are creatures of habit. This is one of their qualities that allow them to be trained. If a dog gets locked into one behavior pattern that is the behavior pattern that is the most likely to persist. Only some sort of catalyst can change a behavior pattern. In the case of training a dog, YOU are the catalyst. If preventing your dog from going to the bathroom in the house is going to occur it is going to be due to YOUR actions. Prevention boils down to two main methods:

a. Crate training. Regardless of whether your canine is a puppy or adult he needs crate training if he isn’t house trained. Keep your puppy in his crate when you aren’t home, while you sleep, and any other time you can’t pay attention to him. In the beginning this may be a lot but don’t worry, you will be able to wean him off the crate eventually. Here are a few tips for acclimating your puppy to the crate:

i. Don’t put stuff in there. Things like beds and flimsy toys are liable to get destroyed and many dogs have choked on bedding while being in their crate. Bedding is also soft and absorbent. Guess what puppies like to pee on? Soft and absorbent stuff like grass, dirt, YOUR CARPET, and bedding left in the crate. ii. Feed your
puppy in the crate. Don’t LEAVE food in the crate but when it comes time for a meal put him in there with the food for 15 minutes then take it out.
iii. Put your puppy in for a few seconds and a few moments here or there only to let him right out. If your puppy goes in the crate 10 times a day but really only stays in there for any significant time once or twice you will ‘trick’ your dog into realizing that the crate isn’t some sort of end all that he needs to fear.

b. Keep your puppy on a leash in the home. This may sound strange to have a dog on the leash in the house but it does so many great things:

i. It allows you to SEE everything. As a puppy owner you need to control how your puppy interacts with every part of his environment. You need to control how he interacts with your couch; does he jump on it or leave it alone? You need to control how he responds to your guests; does he pester them or does he leave them alone? You need to control how he interacts with your carpet; does he pee on it or does he walk on it? If you want to control his interaction with his environment you need to SEE his interaction with his environment. You can’t find an ‘accident’ after the fact and do anything about it. You need to see things as they happen and the leash allows you to do that. Leash training isn’t only critical for the house training part of this section but also will be vital for training manners.
ii. It sets the tone for your home. I enter a lot of homes where the client’s dog is now an adult and is constantly doing laps and is basically a frantic fool. By keeping the dog on a leash from a young age you prevent the dog from growing up being wild and crazy in the home. If he never had the chance to do so he is much more likely to be calm as he matures. This also goes for adult dogs. You can effectively reverse a chaotic and hyper dog with some leash training around the house.
iii. Leash training forms a close bond. The leash is a literal tie to you and really helps the dog look to you as a leader. Remember, leash training in the house isn’t forever. It is a good way to start proper training and proper relationship, though.

2- Encourage the puppy to use the bathroom outside- This is perhaps the easiest part of house training a dog and I find that many people are already doing it. Very simple, when your puppy goes to the bathroom outside praise him. Throw him a party! Pet him and give him treats and tell him that he is doing the right thing.

3- Correct the dog when he uses the bathroom inside- There is a method that is becoming more prevalent in recent years. This method calls for ignoring your puppy when he goes to the bathroom in the house and simply taking him outside. This is crazy! The puppy learns that going to the bathroom outside is good but never learns that going to the bathroom inside is wrong.

Correcting a puppy for using the bathroom in the house is important but don’t confuse corrections with harshness. You don’t need to be mean to correct a dog. With your dog on a leash, however, you are in the perfect position to quickly correct your dog for accidents. As your puppy begins to squat to relieve himself start rushing for the door as you give a few swift and firm tugs on the leash. Say ‘no’ a few times as you do so. Make sure your corrections are propelling you toward the door so that you can quickly get him outside. Hopefully he can finish his bathroom break outside so that you can praise him for that.

If you can consistently praise him for using the bathroom outside and consistently correct him for using the bathroom inside it is a no-brainer what is going to occur with time.

4- Get your dog on a routine/schedule- There are three things that I like to put on a routine with my puppies or adult dogs that are being house trained.
a. Food- It is important that your dog not have access to food all day long. He should be fed on a schedule. Put down his food dish, or better yet, put it in his crate. Allow him 15 minutes and if he eats, great. If he doesn’t, he’ll be hungrier next time. Scheduled feedings are good for your dog’s health. Young puppies need meals and big injections of calories. If you leave food out all day your puppy is likely to get very picky and only eat a bit here or there.

Scheduled feedings are also good for establishing dominance. If food is left out for him all day that means that food has nothing to do with you. He needs to know that YOU are the giver of food. Food equals paycheck to a dog. If the dog has a never ending bowl of paycheck, what does he need you for?

Scheduled feedings are also good for house training. If you know when your dog is eating you also start to know when he needs to poop.

b. Water- I try to make sure that my puppies don’t take enormous drinks. Enormous drinks make it hard to hold it. If I see my pup drinking for longer than normal I’ll just use the leash to get him away from the water dish until a bit later.

With young puppies I also control their evening water intake. If the puppy is having a hard time making it through the night without waking up I will take away the water about three hours before bedtime.

c. Bathroom breaks- Take your pup out to the bathroom first thing in the morning (and I mean first thing, even before taking care of yourself) and last thing at night (and I mean last thing, even if you have to wake your puppy up to go potty). Take your puppy out right after eating AND one hour after eating. Take your puppy out about 15 minutes after a big drink, take him out after a big play session, and take him out any time you return home and take him out of the crate.

This house training system works great. In a nutshell we prevent the dog from going to the bathroom in the house, correct him when he does, encourage him to go potty outside, and set up a routine for his success. We cover the house training from every angle.

This is only the first part of house training, though. We need to eventually wean him off the leash and the crate so that you can give your dog free run of the home. Here is how you do it:

– When you notice that your dog is doing great and has been several weeks without an accident then start giving him more freedom. Keep the leash on him but let it drag around instead of you holding it. Allow him to venture around the room you are in but don’t allow him to get out of sight yet.

– As he does well with this step then you can let him briefly leave your sight and venture into the next room for a few moments before you call him back.

– When he is doing well at this stage of freedom then start to allow him to roam the house WHILE you are home. He is still in the crate while you are gone.

– When he has free run of the house while you are home then you can allow him to sleep outside the crate at night time. At this point I switch to a ‘tab leash’ as well. This is a simple leash that you can make with 12″-18″ of light rope and a leash clip. It allows you to maintain some level of control but doesn’t give complete freedom yet.

– When he is doing great at this stage then start leaving him out of the crate while you leave the house. Start out by leaving for only two minutes, then five, then ten and so on. VERY GRADUALLY you will increase the length of time that you are gone until he can be alone for hours at a time while you are gone. At this point I have the dog leash-less basically all the time. You should have no more need for a regular leash or a tab leash around the house.

– At any point, as you are increasing the freedom you are giving him, if he backslides and goes potty in the house just take it in stride. Go back a step in the freedom he was allowed and build him back up to where he can do better.

These aspects of prevention, encouraging good behavior, correcting inappropriate behavior, and building a routine aren’t only for house training. They also serve for house manners. Think about it, chewing falls under this same umbrella. If we can prevent chewing from happening through supervision, encourage him to chew on his toys, and correct him for chewing on your stuff we can fix a chewing problem. Insert that same logic into a problem of getting on the couch, stealing your socks, or whatever other ‘manners’ problem your dog has.

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How To House Train Your Dog In A New Home

I have been called many times by dog owners who have just moved into a new home and tell me that their dog has become un-housetrained. Changing homes can often have an adverse affect on the housetraining of your adult dog.

Dogs are creatures of association. They associate certain times of the day with eating, associate the word ‘sit’ with putting their rear on the ground, and associate the sound of a car as their owner coming home. The same happens with an adult dog that has been housetrained. This dog has associations built in with every part of the housetraining process. He has associations about where in the yard he goes to the bathroom. He has associations with certain times in the day when you take him out. He has associations with the door that he exits when he feels nature calling. The entire process of going to the bathroom is a series of associations. But the most important of all: when he is properly housetrained he associates going to the bathroom in ‘his’ house as incorrect and going to the bathroom outside as correct.

When you take your dog to a new home there is a chance that so many associations will be disrupted and broken that he begins to go to the bathroom in the house. There are a few things that you can do when you move into a new house to prevent this problem or fix it if it has started.

Your new home smells differently than your last home. Your new home looks different. The texture of your flooring is different. There is different paint on the walls. Basically, there are a lot of things in your new home that make it feel different than your last home. For this reason, many dogs don’t associate the new home as a place to not go to the bathroom.

The first thing to make sure to do is to keep your dog on the same routine that he is used to. Many housetrained dogs are really just ‘routine trained’ dogs. They are so used to the fact that a certain part of the day means bathroom time. Their association with going to the bathroom is more about time of day than it is about where they are going to the bathroom. So keep your dog on the same routine and you may find that it helps smooth the transition.

Designate a new spot for your dog. Part of the housetraining association is where your dog goes to the bathroom. When you move, your dog no longer has his spot. Choose a spot for him. Find an easily accessible area in your new place and take him to that spot at bathroom time. Encourage him to go to the bathroom and when he does give him a lot of praise. Now the key; don’t clean up the mess. That’s right, we want him to form a new association with a new place so leave his mess as a scent anchor to keep drawing him back to that general area. Don’t leave too much of a mess. Just go without cleaning up once or twice. You will soon notice that he will feel comfortable in that area of your new yard.

Many dogs, male dogs especially, like to mark new territory with urine. I have found that this is the biggest cause of housetraining mistakes in a new home. The dog comes into the new place, experiences hundreds of new smells and wants to mark over them like crazy. This happens especially if the previous occupants had dogs. There are two things that will help curb this. The first is constant supervision. Your dog should never be left alone. If you are able to supervise him you can catch him in the act of marking and nip it in the bud right away. Second, if you can’t supervise him, use a crate. Keep him in a crate while you can’t watch him and that way you know he won’t be going to the bathroom in the house. When you notice that he has been fine in the house for several days or weeks, you can wean him off the supervision and crate.

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The key to re-housetraining your dog is re-building the same associations you once did the first time he was housetrained. Accomplish this, and he will have perfect manners in your new home.

Does Your Dog Know He Shouldn’t Go Potty In The House?

As many of you know I do a popular radio show devoted to dog training and I take call-in questions from dog owners and give them advice for how to fix their dog’s behavior. Today I was speaking to a dog owner about their dog’s house training, or lack thereof, I should say.

The owner described a behavior pattern of the dog sneaking off to go to the bathroom in various parts of the house. The owner would find the ‘accident’ later and would proceed to show the accident to the dog while scolding. The owner swore up and down that the dog knew it was doing the wrong thing because she would always cower when being shown her ‘accident’. She couldn’t figure out why the dog would continue doing it if she knew it was bad. How many of you are in this boat? I hear this type of thing all the time whether it is in relation to going to the bathroom, chewing up a shoe, getting on the couch, etc. Each time the owner swears the dog is doing it in spite of knowing it is wrong. Allow me to teach you something about dogs that you may not know.

Dogs don’t operate with the same moral compass that we as humans have, or hopefully have, I should say. What I mean is that if I catch my daughter stealing something at a store I can take that opportunity to teach her that stealing is wrong. From that moment, ideally, she can now know that stealing in ANY store is wrong. If she steals again she is likely doing it despite knowing that it is wrong.

This is how humans think and learn. Dogs aren’t equal in that respect. If I teach my dog that something is wrong in one setting he can’t take that moral lesson and apply it across the board. He just can’t. That means that if I teach my dog that going to the bathroom in the house is wrong he can only understand that with me in the picture. As long as I am around he can know that going to the bathroom is wrong. As soon as I am gone, however, he may go to the bathroom. Does he do it knowing it is wrong? Absolutely not! For him it is simple equation. Dad is here = Don’t go to the bathroom. Dad is gone = Going to the bathroom in the house is no longer wrong.

Some may be scratching their heads wondering, then, how is it ever possible to leave a dog alone and not have him eat the couch, poop on the floor, and pee on your wall. The way you do that is by simple conditioning. While you are home you correct misbehaviors. When you are gone you prevent misbehaviors from happening by using the crate. In this way the dog never experiences going to the bathroom in the house or destroying your stuff. What that means is that after time I can gradually give my dog small doses of freedom while I am gone and gradually build that time to hours and hours.

So the next time you swear that your dog ‘knows he did wrong’ just realize that he is simply reacting to your angry tone and not the fact that he just destroyed something.

If I stop there I know I am going to get more questions. I know some people are going to say, “Wait, wait, wait. Yesterday I came home and my dog was already hanging his head like he did something wrong. I didn’t even have a chance to find his accident; he was already acting with regret.”

Once again this is a misunderstanding of behavior. The reason a dog does this is that he gets improper communication. Let’s take the example of the dog going to the bathroom in the house. His owner catches it after the fact several times. Each time the owner returns the dog to the mess and scolds him. Soon the dog starts to realize that if there is an accident in the house he is going to get in trouble. It’s not the fact that HE POOPED in the house; it is the mere fact that POOP IS IN THE HOUSE and you, the owner, are going to get mad. Dogs do have memories. He likely remembers that he was the one that pooped. But in order for you to make an association with THE ACT OF POOPING you have to catch it in the act. You can’t catch it later and hope to have success.

So follow a program of working on behaviors while you are home/crate training while you are gone/gradually giving freedom to be alone outside the crate and you will have success in having a poop and destruction free home. Good luck.


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Potty Training With The Matchstick Trick

The matchstick trick is a weird dog training technique. Every time I suggest it to a client I typically hear, “You want me to do what?” It works, though. Let me preface the trick first, however, with the reasons why you would want to do this trick.

The matchstick trick is a method for getting your dog to go to the bathroom right now. There are several reasons why you would want to use this trick.

1. You are house training a puppy. When you are house training a puppy or any age dog for that matter one of your main goals is to get your dog on a bathroom schedule. In order to get that dog on a schedule your dog needs to go to the bathroom when you want him to go to the bathroom. For some dogs this is a challenge. You take them out and they just sniff around for a while and don’t feel like going to the bathroom. You, being the person in the situation, know that it is going to be a while before Fido is going to have a chance to go to the bathroom again, so it would be in his best interest to go now. (It is tough explaining best interest to a dog) Use the matchstick trick and you will help Fido go now, and thus help him get on your schedule.

2. From time to time I have clients tell me that their dog is so conditioned to going to the bathroom only in the back yard. When they take their dogs on walks the dogs won’t go to the bathroom because they associate only the backyard with bathroom time. Use the matchstick trick and you can help change the association. You can show your dog that it is okay to relieve himself in spots other than the back yard.

3. Constipated dogs. If your dog has a health problem you should take him immediately to the vet. It may not hurt, however, to try the matchstick trick to see if you can help relieve your old pal of his burdens.

Ok, so what is this trick, you ask? First, get yourself a book of matches. They need to be the soft kind that you rip out of a book. Second, rip off a match. Third, this is where it gets weird; insert the NON-sulfur side, or the torn side, into your dog’s rear end. DO NOT LIGHT THE MATCH! I think that goes without saying, but believe me, I have fielded that question before. Insert the match about halfway into the backside of your dog and let the rest hang out. Any further and it could go all the way inside and that would be bad news. Now wait. The match is going to be an irritating feeling for your dog. Your dog is going to want to get rid of that feeling. To get rid of it your dog will squat to try and push it out. In the process of pushing out the match your dog will make a bowel movement and voila! Mission accomplished.

Please note, the use of a match in no way means that there will be fire in this dog behavior training technique. The only reason for using a match is because it is the right size and has a soft texture.

Obviously you must be careful with this dog training technique. If you do it incorrectly it could cause damage to your dog. Do it correctly, however, and it gives you greater control when training your dog.

Ty Brown and Dogbehavioronline.com expressly disclaim any and all responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk, personal or otherwise, which may be or is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of this method.

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