Toilet Training With A Puppy or Adult Dog
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 quite 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.
I have now started stocking and selling these crates and puppy playpens. which are British made and are of superior quality, guaranteed for the lifetime of your dog.
Guaranteed for the life of the dog and beyond. All cages and playpens feature a high quality electro plated finish, to ISO9002 standards, which ensures rust resistance and ease of cleaning and safety.
This is the only crate designed and manufactured in the UK, I have to say it shows in the quality and finish. see more information. HERE
Do You Need a Crate:
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 mild cheddar cheese, fish4dogs star treats or frankfurter.
3. A Lead and Collar
I dislike Check Chains, Haiti ’s and Chest Harnesses, they are really not required. 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 plus lead.
I manufacture my own collars and leads which are made of cushion web. A beautiful soft feel fabric that is kind on your hands and the dogs neck. see My Products. These are also British made.
I have also designed a device called a Jingler. It works almost the opposite of a clicker which tells the dog when it has done something right. The Jingler tells it when it has done something wrong.
The repetition of the jingle and either a change of direction or a command conditions your dog so that it associates the noise with the 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.
No animal on earth learns from from ignoring the bad behaviour and only praising the good. How is that puppy going to understand right from wrong.
I see many pups that are not told what acceptable and what is bad behaviour. I was with a client recently who was being attacked by their puppy.
They had taken a puppy to the vets socialisation classes. The vet nurse, who clearly knew nothing about dog behaviour, told them to scatter food around when they were being bitten to distract it. So the dog bites you and you reward it? Brilliant.
They were also told when the puppy was barking aggressively to treat and reward it so it calms down. This type of ludicrous mindset which the positive only trainers trot out, means we have many thousands of unruly puppies that will grow into bad adults.
This is why I wrote Killing With Kindness. It is also why we now have record numbers of dogs being euthanised.
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. A quick wipe over with surgical spirit afterwards finishes the job. ; this deters over-marking, they appear to dislike urinating over the surgical spirit.
Mothers keep babies in a playpen when the children can't be fully 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 too big for your dog.
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 Vet-Bed 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. Put newspaper outside of the crate in the playpen on if the dog is in a utility room or kitchen.
I do not use puppy pads. They are impregnated with what I believe is horses urine, to stimulate the puppies to over mark on them. Therefore increasing the likelihood of them continuing to toilet indoors.
It is also a good idea to cover the crate with a blanket, they also sell ready made covers. This makes it more den like and allows the puppy to relax more within the crate..
Your first rule on toilet training is when your puppy or untrained dog is not supervised, he or she should be in the crate. By this I am not suggesting that you lock your dog in a crate day in day out or for long lengths of time. other than overnight.
You need to stage it depending on the dogs age. but during the day work on no more than an hour at a stretch.
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.
Never use the crate as punishment, If you want to have a naughty place for dogs then see my article called The Alpha Myth near the end you will see the naughty step for dogs.
Build the dog up to an overnight stay. If the dog is noisy, tap on the top and say "Quiet". Never let the dog out if he is noisy, you be reinforcing the crying behaviour, making it far harder to overcome the toileting problems.
Variable reinforcements work better than fixed ones. When you go out, leave the radio on, an all talk show is preferable but classical music can also help. My favourite station is LBC 97.3, make sure it is in another room NOT the same room. Hearing voices or music will help your dog calm down, and not to feel alone, therefore giving a sense of security.
|Is your dog pulling on the Lead, Unruly, Bad Recall, Aggressive on Lead, Jumping Up?
See my article and Video Clips on how to stop this. The Jingler
Do Not Shut The Crate Door Early.
Shutting the crate door on a very young puppy for long periods, could be a total disaster. It can cause crate aversion and severe toileting problems in the future, and may cause anxiety and the onset of fear related to separation. If you do close the door too early it may cause severe distress to the young pup, as it fights not to defecate and urinate in the crate.
This happens because when the pups are about 3.5 weeks, the mother forcefully and in some cases aggressively makes the pups toilet outside the nest/bed. Therefore closing the door under the age of 12/13 weeks often causes anxiety as the puppy struggles to hold its bladder and bowels movements distressing the pup and possibly causing future behavioural problems during this critical learning period. See Critical Periods
Therefore until the pup is at least twelve to thirteen weeks old, I would never shut the crate door overnight,. or for long periods during the day. (no more than 30 min's) see also Puppy Crying at Night on how to overcome this, and still enclose the puppy.
The "Goodbye Bone" "Kong" or "Activity Cube"
Pet stores sell sterilized bones that are hollow in the middle or Kong's which are the rubber equivalent. The activity Cube has a Maze in the middle where treats can be deposited, which then comes out it small quantities when the cube is manipulated.
These make excellent devices for taking a dogs mind off of his solitude when stuffed with his favourite treats such as cheese, liver or kibble, It is believed that a dog is most upset during the first hour after an owner leaves. The Bone/Kong or Cube stuffed with goodies becomes the centre of the dog's attention for an hour or so while he tries his hardest to extract the food from them
This allows the owner to slip out without a fuss. When you return home, remove the bone from the dog's crate, let him out, put him into a sit and poke the remaining food out onto the floor for the dog's consumption. Now the bone/kong/cube gets put away until next time. After a week or so of this the dog will not worry about "Where's my owner going?" but will think "Where's my bone?"
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 under 12 weeks 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. So 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
Each time your dog finishes, praise him while offering a food reinforcement (a treat). 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.
The Instructive Reprimand
Each time you take your dog outside say, "Outside". Soon he will learn what outside means Then, if the dog inappropriately urinates inside in your presence, 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 had 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 circumstances.
© Stan Rawlinson 2004
Dog Behaviourist and Obedience Trainer
0208 979 2019