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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Potty Training Problem

These dog training tricks are being written as I am training the 2 dogs I just adopted from one of our local dog shelters. Lily is a dainty, little terrier mix who is about 5 years old. She had been abandoned so I don't know anything about her background. She was very thin, matted and dirty when I got her. Sandy is a frisky, shedding, long-haired chihuahua mix and is about 3 years old. She was very thin but looked to have been well taken care of. She was surrendered by her owner but the dog shelter did not have any information about her background. I brought them into a home where I already had an alpha male dachshund mix named Scooter who was also a shelter adoptee that I got about 7 years ago, when he was 2. This should give you a good idea of the dynamics of my happy little family.

I have had six dogs over the past 30 years and all have been from shelters. Two were puppies when I got them and the rest have been 2 to 7 years old. My very first dog training trick with any dog I get is potty training. I have a doggie door that leads to a dog run and to the back yard when the dog run gate is open. My dogs have access to outside 24 hours whenever they need it.

To teach them to go outside, I took Lily and Sandy and pushed them through the doggie door from the kitchen to the dog run. I had a friend outside catch them and push them back through the doggie door from the dog run into the house. After 2-3 pushes they got it but it took a little bit more time until they figured out how to push themselves through. Every time they came through the doggie door they got petted and praised. Praising, rewarding and petting are critical to successful dog training. Anger and force never work, they only scare the dog away from you.

Lily got the potty training idea of going outside right away and I had no accidents from her. Sandy is another story. She apparently lived in an apartment or someplace where she did not have access to outside and was taught to go on a shower rug in the bathroom. I learned this because no matter how much time she spent outside, she always went into the bathroom to do her business. When the bathroom doors were closed I had several accidents. She is gradually learning to go outside. I stay with her until she is done and then praise her for doing a great job. I'm still having an occasional accident with her and she will hit the bathroom shower rug if I forget to close the door. Training is a process and it doesn't happen over night.

Remember, dog training tricks only work when you put in the time and effort to train. It takes patience and cannot be rushed. Sandy and Lily haven't been with me very long and we have a lot to accomplish. Please come along and enjoy the journey with us!

If you have had the same potty training problem I'm having with Sandy, please let me know what you did to correct it.

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