Toilet Training for Dogs and Puppies

Toilet Training for Dogs and Puppies

By Stan Rawlinson

Training Your Dog to Eliminate Outdoors

The Equipment You’ll Need

1. A Crate

Also known as a kennel or carrier (you see them at airports because they are approved for flight) They are either plastic with wire windows, or are all wire, these type can be collapsed down and transported more easily, therefore the wire style are my personal choice. They come in various sizes to fit all dogs (even Irish Wolfhounds) the tallest dog in the World.

Do you need one?

I believe they are almost a necessity in this day and age. If your dog lived in the woods it would seek out a den where it could sleep and be secure, free from predators and interference. Think of a crate as a portable den. Your dog will if its presented correctly think of the crate as it’s haven, and in times of stress or tiredness or just time out will seek it’s den to settle in peace and quiet.

2. Food Treats

Something your dog can consume quickly. Not a biscuit, which he must chew and then look for crumbs. I use dried liver or cheese.

3. A Lead and Collar

I dislike Check Chains, Haiti ’s and Chest Harnesses they are not required in most cases. You can train nearly any dog to walk to heel within 5 minutes without the need to use any other form of restraint other than a good leather, nylon or canvass collar and a five-foot lead.

I have also invented and I am patenting a device called a Jingler. It works by distracting your dog momentarily from what it is doing,. The repetition of the jingle and either a change of direction or a command conditions your dog so that it associates the noise with a command. Though not necessary for crate training it is extremely helpful for many other training situations including walking to heel, nipping, jumping, and barking etc.

4. An Odour Eliminator

You can buy a commercial one or mix one part white vinegar to four parts water or I use biological washing liquid or powder which breaks down the fatty acids and proteins and removes the smell, If you can obtain it, a quick wipe over with surgical spirit afterwards finishes the job.

The Crate

Mothers keep babies in a playpen when he/she can’t be supervised? Dogs are den animals. They will seek out a den to feel protected. It should be small and cosy, therefore do not buy a crate that is to big for your dog. However the dog should be able to turn round comfortably. Dogs will rarely soil their own beds therefore if you fill the crate with something like VetBed which can be washed regularly in the washing machine and dries very quickly, you will find that toilet training should be quick, painless, and easy. Do not put paper in the crate this only serves to stimulate the puppy to toilet in there if he is being paper trained. Cover the crate with a blanket to make it more den like.

Your first rule on toilet training is when your puppy or untrained dog is not supervised; he or she should be in the crate. Teach your dog to enter on command. Begin by saying, “Kennel” “Bed” or any word you prefer.

Place the dog in the crate, give a food reinforcement (a treat) and lock it. Wait 15 seconds and then release the dog and praise.. The dog will start to associate the crate with the food and feel it is a good thing. Work the dog up to an overnight stay. If the dog is noisy, rap on the top and say “Quiet”. And never, ever let the dog out if he is noisy. You’d be reinforcing his Behaviour. Variable reinforcements worked better than fixed ones. When you go out, leave on a talk radio station in another room NOT the same room, Hearing voices will help your dog not to feel so alone.

Establish Meal Periods

If you feed and water your dog on a schedule, your dog will eliminate on a schedule. FREE FEEDING YOUR DOG WILL MAKE THE JOB OF HOUSE TRAINING MUCH MORE DIFFICULT…First, establish meal periods. three to four meal periods for young puppies and a single or a double meal period for adult dogs. The meal period will last for 10 minutes. During that time give the required amount of food and as much water as the dog wants. At the end of the meal period, remove the food whether or not the dog has eaten, unless instructed otherwise by your veterinarian. If the dog plays and does not eat, he will soon learn that the food will be taken away. This also helps to discourage picky eating habits.

Place Your Dog on Commands

Many dog owners inadvertently teach their dogs to eliminate indoors. Each time they take their dog outside they wait for him to eliminate. As soon as he does, they bring him in. Most dogs, especially young ones, like the sights and smells of the outdoors. They quickly learn that as soon as they eliminate, they are taken inside. They learn to hold it until they come inside to prolong the experience.

It makes better sense to train your dog to eliminate on command, especially if you must lead walk him. Take your dog to “his spot” each time. As your dog begins to urinate, choose a word and say it over and over as the Behaviour is occurring (I say “wee”) do this each time your dog urinates. After several weeks of hearing “wee” as he urinates, it will eventually act as a trigger for the Behaviour. I use a different phrase for defecating. Each time your dog finishes, praise him while offering a food reinforcement (a treat). I use cheese puffed jerky or frankfurters.. When he has finished, take him for a walk as a reward! If your dog fails to eliminate in 5 minutes, take him inside crate him for a half-hour and then try again.

Use an “Instructive Reprimand” each time you take your dog outside say, “Outside”. He will soon learn what outside means then, if the dog inappropriately urinates inside, say “Outside” and take him to “his spot”.

“Outside” becomes an instructive command because it directs the dog to the appropriate elimination place and it is a reprimand because of the tone of voice you use as the Behaviour is occurring, thus acting as a negative reinforcement.

There is a device called a pee pole which is a pheromone impregnated device that is supposed to aid toileting I have mixed responses to this aid with some dogs it works well particularly if you want them to go in a particular spot. With other dogs I find they pull them up and chew them therefore they are useless in that circumstance

About the Author

Stan Rawlinson
Dog Behaviourist & Trainer
H 0208 979 2019
M 07976 153161

Stan Rawlinson is a Dog Behaviourist and Obedience Trainer, who has owned and worked dogs for over 25 years, starting with gundogs then moving to the behavioural and obedience side of training companion dogs. He now has a successful practice covering Greater London, Surrey, and Middlesex.

Stan is recommended by numerous Vets, Rescue Centres, and Charities. He writes articles and comments on behavioural issues and techniques for dog magazines including Our Dogs, Dogs Monthly, and K9 Magazine and Shooting Times. He is the founder member and chairman of PAACT; The Professional Association of Applied Canine Trainers. He is also the behavioural expert and spokesperson for Disney.

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