One of the biggest predictors of a speedy potty training process is owner diligence. If you’re on top of your puppy’s schedule and you stick to a strict prevention and supervision regiment, you should be well on your way to potty training success within a few months. You can consider your puppy almost fully housetrained when you’ve gone an entire month without a single accident, but keep in mind that potty training is an inexact science. It’s best to have several dry months before you can really trust that your puppy understands the rules.
This article was co-authored by David Levin. David Levin is the Owner of Citizen Hound, a professional dog walking business based in the San Francisco Bay Area. With over 9 years of professional dog walking and training experience, David's business has been voted the "Best Dog Walker SF" by Beast of the Bay for 2019, 2018, and 2017. Citizen Hound has also been ranked #1 Dog Walker by the SF Examiner and A-List in 2017, 2016, 2015. Citizen Hound prides themselves on their customer service, care, skill, and reputation.
Though it differs by each individual dog this is the time when most will come up with their own little way of letting you know they’ve got to go. It might be crying at your feet, ringing a bell you’ve set up or waiting at the door — just be sure to pay attention to these signals & follow up. Once your dog knows how to get your attention when he’s got to go you can relax a little and congratulate yourself on a job well done.
It’s best not to punish the puppy for making a mistake. Instead, focus on praising appropriate bathroom behavior. If you catch your puppy in the act, interrupt it by saying “No!” in a firm voice or clapping your hands loudly, then take the puppy outside to finish going to the bathroom. Never swat your puppy, yell at it, or try to rub its nose in the mess.
Work on only one part of a skill at a time Many of the skills we want our dogs to learn are complex. For instance, if you want to train a solid sit-stay, you’ll need to work on teaching your dog that she should stay in a sitting position until you release her (duration), she should stay while you move away from her (distance), and she should stay while distracting things are going on around her (distraction). You’ll probably both get frustrated if you try to teach her all of these things at the same time. Instead, start with just one part of the skill and, when your dog has mastered that, add another part. For example, you can work on duration first. When your dog can sit-stay for a few minutes in a quiet place with no distractions while you stand right next to her, start training her to stay while you move away from her. While you focus on that new part of the skill, go back to asking your dog to stay for just a few seconds again. When your dog can stay while you move around the room, slowly build up the duration of the stay again. Then you can add the next part-training in a more distracting environment. Again, when you make the skill harder by adding distraction, make the other parts-duration and distance-easier for a little while. If you work on all the parts of a complex skill separately before putting them together, you’ll set your dog up to succeed.
At this initial stage, we teach the dog how to learn from and interact with the handler. This establishes a bond essential for reducing stress and increasing opportunities for fun.We use food rewards to shape and lure the dog into foundation positions. Repetition is key to the dog’s learning. Once the dog is offering the behaviours freely, a ‘cue’ word is added.All work happens in our training barn, where outside distractions are minimised.
Effective dog training does not require many items, but there are a few basic supplies that will help make the process more convenient and effective. Choose a dog collar or harness that is suitable and comfortable for your dog. Then decide which dog leash is best for training. A retractable leash is not appropriate for dog training. You will also need dog training treats that your dog enjoys and are easy to eat quickly so the reward is more immediate. There are plenty of great treats available at pet stores or you can also use something you make at home, like small pieces of plain cooked chicken or turkey.
Suppose you consistently praise your puppy for their actions, while potty training. Then say your dog has an accident. Do not praise you dog immediately. Instead, take your dog outside and wait for it to go to the bathroom. When it finishes doing its business, take it inside, and keep it in a separate room while you clean up the mess. After this you should act disappointed in your dog, but only for a few minutes. Keep you and your dog motivated to potty train.
Unfortunately, there is no magic length of time or milestone age when a puppy can be considered fully housetrained and there are many factors that go into how quickly a puppy can be potty trained. Your puppy’s age plays a major role during the initial phase of potty training, as a very young puppy won’t have the muscle control necessary to hold it for long periods of time.
Taking the learning from Stages 1 and 2, we now test the dog within a public environment with real life distractions. This period can be the most challenging for the dog. Using a range of public locations we train the dog to utilise learned behaviours.During Stage 3 we expect the dog to work on verbal commands only, asking for a higher level of obedience. The training is still fun. At this stage, we have usually exchanged the food reward for a toy.
My nine year old standard poodle loves to perform tricks. She earned 4 titles this summer including the ‘performance dog’ trick title. She needed a few new tricks in her repertoire, so, I taught her to turn on & off a light switch &walk across a raised balance beam. I think because she’s had an enriched environment, she learned theses new things quickly. I showed her once & she had it. Yes, you can teach old dogs new tricks!
Some training methods use punishment, like leash corrections and scolding, to discourage dogs from doing everything except what you want them to do. Other methods cut right to the chase and focus on teaching dogs what you do want them to do. While both tactics can work, the latter is usually the more effective approach, and it’s also much more enjoyable for you and your dog. For example, you can easily use treats, games and praise to teach your dog to sit when people approach during walks in the neighborhood. If your dog is sitting, she won’t be dragging you toward the people, jumping up when they get close enough, mouthing on their arms and legs, and so on. That’s pretty efficient training-no pain or intimidation needed. Alternatively, you could grab your dog’s leash and jerk her to the ground every time she jumps up to greet people, and you’d most likely get the same effect in the end-no more jumping up. But consider the possible fallout: How do I establish dominance over my dog?
As for the puppy pads, they are only a temporary solution until you can take your dog outside. During the time you’re using them for training, slowly move the pad closer and closer to the door your dog will exit through when it’s time to go out. This will build an association in his mind between that door and going to the bathroom. Eventually, going out that door itself will trigger the behavior in your dog’s mind: “Okay, go.” Can a harness hurt your dog?