Minding Your Pees and Poos

wire haired dachshund puppy lies facing the camera while chewing on a roll of toilet paper

When you learn to toss a ball in the air you also learn to catch it. They go together the same way confinement training and bathroom training go hand in hand. You teach them simultaneously.

Hmmm, What came first, the chicken or the egg?

The first thing most new puppy parents face is teaching the pup where to go to pee and poo. Yes there is some sleep deprivation and countless trips outside, but teaching your puppy this habit should not be a complicated task. It does however require that you have a plan. You also must realize that it takes time and attention to detail.

To ensure success of your pup’s pee and poo habits a method of confinement is needed.

Confinement is a crate, an exercise pen or a gate, something that prevents the puppy from having total freedom in your house. My preference for bathroom training purposes is a crate.

A loose puppy needs 100% supervision; this alone makes a crate an indispensable tool. In addition to bathroom training, confinement provides the important structure and boundaries a puppy needs. It prevents the puppy from developing inappropriate chewing preferences, it provides a quiet respite for a puppy resulting in a calmer more focused pup and it provides you with down time.

A loose pup with no supervision will wreak havoc on your life. They will chew, poo, bite, destroy and maybe make you cry. I get calls all the time from stressed out puppy parents. The household has been disrupted and a feeling of defeat is setting in. Please don’t be discouraged. Success is around the corner.

The key to proper crate training is that you have to crate the pup while you are at home and awake, not just when you leave or go to sleep. The latter can lead to a pup hating the crate because it predicts you are going to disappear.

The Slippery Slope of Crate Guilt

If you are suffering from crate guilt please try to get over it. Spend that energy on teaching the pup that the crate is a great place to be. The half-hearted approach to using a crate may result in more resistance and unnecessary stress that can be avoided if you stick to a game plan. Early in the crate training you may experience crying and barking from your puppy, this is natural, the majority of puppies get over this quickly. If the first time the puppy is crated is when you bring him home, there is going to be some stress.

Play Games

Play games multiple times per day that help make the crate more attractive to the puppy.

Toss The Treat
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes.
  • Toss a treat in the crate and say ‘go in‘.
  • Ask the puppy to ‘come out’.
  • Repeat.
  • Do this until your timer goes off.
Jackpot
  • Hide a jackpot such as a raw frozen bone or a delicious stuffed toy in the back of the crate.
  • Toss a treat in.
  • When the pup finds the jackpot let him gnaw at it for the count of 10.
  • Gently bring him out and close the door to the crate preventing him access to the jackpot..
  • Count to 10 again.
  • Open the door and allow access.
  • Repeat.

You Need A Strategy

Create a plan for bathroom training your puppy. Your success depends on you and your actions not the puppy.

The simple version goes like this; the puppy has every opportunity to ‘go’ outside and no opportunity to ‘go’ inside. You reinforce the behavior you want with a tiny tasty treat and a bit of free time. You stay the course. The pup’s bathroom habit will start to become reliable after about 3 to 4 months of your continued good work. This is a ballpark figure based on how long it takes for the good habit to form.

People and puppies need not go through unnecessary turmoil and strife when it comes to confinement and bathroom training. With consistency and attention to the process you and your puppy will quickly fall into a rhythm. Soon you will be sleeping through the night again. You will have a calm, crate-trained dog with excellent bathroom habits.

Use This Tip List to Help You Devise and Stick To A Plan

  1. Make a plan and stick to the plan.
  2. Confinement of some sort is key.
  3. Go outside or to the spot of choice, on leash.
  4. Stand relatively still.
  5. Use a ‘key phrase, such as ‘show me’ or ‘go pee’.
  6. Stay outside for approximately 3 – 5 minutes.
  7. Reward the puppy for ‘going’ with food and a bit of free time.
  8. If he doesn’t ‘go’, he should go back in the crate to avoid any accident.
  9. Offer another opportunity a short time later
  10. Remember it will take 3-4 months for a habit to form.
  11. Sleep interruption is a real thing. Expect to get up in the middle of the night to take your puppy outside for the first few weeks.
  12. Go outside with pup every time he comes out of the crate
  13. Go outside with pup before he goes back inside the crate.
  14. If it feels like you are going outside all the time, you are doing it right.
  15. Use an enzymatic cleaner inside the house to clean up accidents.

The Benefits of Working With A Dog Trainer

Shouts from the rooftops ring out across the land. We’re getting a puppy! Exciting times to be sure.

The time to call the dog trainer is before the new addition comes home. A good coach will help you be ready and thinking about the right things to focus on from day one.

Many dog trainers offer free consultations to potential students. Why not take advantage of such an offer? You will get a sense of her or his style. You can ask questions. You will most likely learn something too.

Avoid stress that comes from being unaware of what to expect.

Woman let's out joyful whoop! While puppy lays on his back while pawing at an abacus

 

Raising a puppy has its share of joys and challenges. Let’s look at some of the benefits of working with a dog trainer from the get go.

4 Reasons

  1. A good trainer will help keep you focused on the fundamentals of training. They will teach you the correct order of things. Taking into account the pup’s age, capabilities and attention span. Often new puppy parents want to teach the pup to walk on a leash or stay. These are not ‘puppy friendly’ behaviors. Start with the base layers and work towards more complex behaviors. This helps ensure success for both puppy and human. Your trainer will help you set goals and reach them.
  2. Working with a dog trainer will add a motivation factor. This motivation factor will help ensure the important early work gets done. There is an immense amount of valuable information to glean from a trusted educator. Participating in a weekly class and doing your homework will keep you and the new pup moving along. They will keep you working at a pace that is realistic and fulfilling. This will help you reach your goals. The first year is the meaty stuff. The foundation that you put in place will help ensure you have a happy, well-adjusted pup for years to come.
  3. Even if you have raised a pup in the past, working with someone the next time around is always a good idea. Certified trainers must take part in continued education. This keeps them fresh and current in the ever-growing body of work surrounding pet dogs. If you are working with one of these folks you will enjoy this knowledge too.
  4. Your trainer is your sounding board, a trusted ally. Raising a puppy can be emotional. You can count on your coach to be there for you when you are feeling overwhelmed. You can also count on them to be cheering for you. They will celebrate your achievements right along with you.

Win Win

There is no down side. Don’t wait until your puppy is home and you are feeling the pressure. Do your homework, audit some classes and interview some trainers, book your space. Take advantage of all the wonderful information a good trainer has to share with you. This will enhance life for your pup and for you.

5 Ways You May Be Stressing Out Your Puppy

A woman on the left looks confused while a husky puppy on the right looks directly at the camera

1. Not providing enough structure.

Structure in the form of a crate, exercise pen, baby-gate or leash is a must for a new puppy. You pull quote: “There is a big difference in something the puppy loves, versus something you think the pup should love.”can not expect him to make the ‘right’ choices until teaching him what they look like. That is way too much responsibility to pile on a pup. Too much freedom equals chaos. Neglecting to provide a calm and contained environment leads to negative side effects. A handful of undesirable behaviours would be: destructive chewing, bathroom accidents and biting. It is of no service to a puppy to have too much freedom. Little by little teach your pup what you expect of him and how he can succeed. Do this and as he matures he will be able to handle longer stretches of freedom. Short cuts make for long journeys. Avoid having to do damage control to fix problem behaviours. Think prevent over cure.

2. Not using food to teach, motivate and reinforce.

Rewarding your puppy with food right after he does something you like will help ensure he does it again. It is a win-win situation. Using food to educate your pup is a no brainer. It keeps the learner (your pup) engaged, motivated and happy. Inadequate pay and poor working conditions lead to stress and unhappiness. Learn how to teach your puppy using food.

3. Expecting too much too soon.

Polite walking and learning how to stay are not puppy friendly moves. This is like expecting a pull quote: “Inadequate pay and poor working conditions lead to stress and unhappiness.”toddler to do high-level math problems. Look at the education of a pup as a series of layers. Time sensitive considerations like socialization and early prevention should get special attention. Teach the other behaviours in a thoughtful and strategic way, building on one another. Create a positive association with the learning process. Keep your goals and expectations realistic. This sets your dog and you up to succeed. Remember to take your pup’s age, attention span and the quality of your efforts into account.

4. Not providing appropriate things to chew.

Puppies bite and chew. When we give a puppy stuffed animals or ropes to chew on we are not practicing best chewing methods. They need to gnaw appropriate chews and animal bits that they love. They need to learn what is okay to gnaw on. These are things you must stay involved with. Provide the chews, teach the pup, and manage the chews. There is a big difference in something the pup loves, versus something you think the pup should love. Learning a pup’s preferences is essential. It goes far beyond tossing a dog a bone.

5. Not learning to speak dog.

Learn what your puppy is communicating. A dog uses his whole body. The secret life of dogs should not be a secret to anyone who wants to live peacefully with this creature. They have a have a whole other agenda. It makes for a lot of unpleasantness for a dog if we do not gain an understanding of their species-specific ways. Use compassion and the desire to understand what makes your dog tick. This will help create a heartfelt connection.

The fantastic Lili Chin has provided the following infographic on dog body language for all of us to use. Thank you Lili Chin.

Doggie Language starring Boogie the Boston Terrier

Illustration: Lili Chin www.doggiedrawings.net

Socialization Deconstructed

 

This is a black and white hand drawn sketch of a mind map about puppy socialization deconstructed. There is a puppy head (with the title your puppy) in the middle, surrounded by 5 think bubbles: When - age 0 to 16 weeks; What - Early exposure to oodles of people and experiences; Why - After 16 weeks of age the opportunity is gone. Fallout = Stress. Afraid of things. Compelled to bite or run away from the scary things; Where - Everywhere, Everyone, Everything; How - Pair introductions with something your puppy loves: Food + Toys

Mind Map

“I’m So Confused”

There is a great deal of confusion surrounding the term socialization and what it means for a puppy. The term comes from the description of specific stages of canine development. A pup goes through two socialization periods. In the primary socialization period they learn how to be a dog, in the human socialization period they learn how to navigate our complex world and everything in it. Combined, these development stages comprise only about 10 weeks; starting at about 3 weeks and ending at about 14 weeks of age. What happens or doesn’t happen during this time has a lasting effect on a puppy.

What Socialization is NOT

• A pup on leash meeting other dogs on leash.

• A puppy getting pets from the neighbor while you stand back and watch.

• A puppy sequestered in the house or yard until he has all his shots.

What’s The Big Deal?

Lacking a comprehensive understanding about this stage of development can literally make or break the quality of your dog’s life. If a puppy misses out on lots of positive early introductions during this time, serious behavioral issues are likely to develop. It’s crucial to have a robust game plan. You must be organized and strategic. Use our Social Schedule to stay on track, and use the Field Trip Worksheet to think critically about your outings. During this time social expeditions must be part of your daily routine.

Continued Reading

Giving Puppies Extra Socialization Is Beneficial To Them

Socialization and Vaccinations Belong Together

Count Down to Puppy – Part 3 of 3

A young boy and his jack russell puppy stand side by side looking stage right. They are both wearing red caps that are flying behind them. The boy is also wearing a red mask. All to help promote the https://www.ultimatepuppy.com/2018/03/count-down-to-puppy-part-1-of-3/ series

A New Life Together

This final instalment of our series we’ll get you ready for the car ride home and walk you through what to expect in the early days. We will provide links that show fun things to do. It is important to do these exercises with your puppy, as they learn best before 16 weeks of age. Take advantage of this time to get them used to their environment (“socialization”). This is top priority.

Car Ride Home

Pull quote: Creating a positive first encounter with all the new experiences your puppy has is important. ultimatepuppy.comCreating a positive first encounter with all the new experiences your puppy has is important. Be prepared and think about all new encounters. Make sure you have treats and a couple of toys with you when you go pick up your puppy.

Your pup may stressed.

This may be the very first time pup is separated from littermates and mom. Your puppy may never have worn a harness or collar or experienced a leash. There will now be lots of firsts.

If possible hold the pup during the car ride home. Take a partner so someone can hold the pup during the drive. A crate can be used too if that is your preference. Depending on the length of the trip you may need to alternate between crate and holding the pup.

Supplies to bring

•  A blanket or towel for the seat or your lap

•  Paper towel – poo bags

•  Water and a water bowl

•  Harness, collar, leash

•  A variety of food treats

•  Bring a few options for the pup to chew on too – bullies are a good bet

You will need to stop along the way for a bathroom break. Use a word or phrase that will become the pup’s elimination cue, like “show me”, “do the business”… you get the idea. Be sure and treat the puppy for going.

Arrival Home

Take pup directly to the chosen bathroom spot immediately upon arriving home, even before the pup goes into the house for the first time. Keep pup on leash. Be prepared with a treat if the pup goes.

Honeymoon Period

There is a honeymoon period for the first week or so when you bring a new pup home. Your puppy may be quiet, more placid, and not very nippy. He is dealing with a lot of newness. As he acclimates to his new home he will start to change. You will know when the honeymoon is over.

Dealing with Barking or Whining in the Crate

Ignore it. As hard as it can be ignoring the barking is the best approach. Any talking to the pup, cooing or letting the pup out will just make the process longer. Expect a day or two of barking and or whining and expect it to get loud. It’s a bonus and a small miracle if it doesn’t get loud. Be prepared with lots of good things for the pup to chew on in the crate – always toss a few treats in the crate every time your pup goes in. Keep a jar of treats on top of the crate, this way you are always prepared.

Get A Rhythm Going

It is nice to do the introduction to your home on leash. Take the pup around so he knows about his new environment.

Provide lots of bathroom breaks to the chosen spot. Every 15 – 20 minutes if the pup is out of the crate.

Remember 100% supervision. No free time unless you are there and paying attention.

Tips for the First Night

Expect some sleep deprivation.

Set an alarm to get up for bathroom breaks. Take the pup on leash, use your verbal cue, reward.
You may want to keep the crate in the bedroom so pup feels safe and knows you’re near by.

Tips for the First WeekPull quote. Go beyond the home, get out of the house.

If you work at home or have taken some time off from work, make sure the pup gets some time alone in the home. You want him prepared for spending some time alone when you need a break and for your eventual return to work. There should be no big hellos and good byes. Just get out of the house and leave pup alone for an hour or two in the crate. He needs to learn that your coming and going is normal.

100% Supervision

There should be zero unattended time outside the crate. This is lethal for a new puppy. It is much easier to prevent annoying behavior than it is to change it. Think prevention versus cure.

Pups need lots of sleep, lots of quiet time. Lots of crate time.

Keep the leash on in the house to help with management of your pup. Have lots of chews available for your pup to chew on.

Be proactive and set your pup up to succeed. Build good habits from day one with structure, training, playing, exploring, the crate, etc.

Socialization Checklist and Field Trip Worksheets

Here are two handy sheets for you to use for early introductions, aka socialization.

Socialization Field Trip Worksheet

A Social Schedule

Your puppy should be meeting lots of new people and getting treats from everyone.

Take walks through the neighborhood, don’t worry if you carry the puppy a lot in the beginning this is fine, fun and normal.

Make sure you have your treat pouch full of a variety of tasty, soft treats that your pup loves.

Plan a couple of socialization field trips in advance that you will do during the first week. Book a fun vet visit. Ensuring a variety of new experiences is essential. Go beyond the home, get out of the house.

Games and Training

There are lots of fun games and new behaviors to teach your puppy. Keep sessions short, reward all the behaviors you want to see more of.

Patience & A Sense of Humor

Note for fridge. There are two things we want you to always keep in mind as you raise this puppy. Patience and a sense of humor; write this on a piece of paper and put it on the refrigerator.

There are two things we want you to always keep in mind as you raise this puppy. Patience and a sense of humor; write this on a piece of paper and stick it on the refrigerator.

 

Here’s to all the adventures that await you and your dog.