A Common Mistake in Potty Training Your Large Dog
I was in Miramar last Wednesday finishing up a Dog Guard Out of Sight Fencing® Installation for a new client and his rambunctious Rhodesian Ridgeback named Boomer. Boomer liked to jump in the lake and swim to visit other neighbor dogs. My client needed to take “Boomer’s swimming privileges away and the underground fence did the trick. Boomer quickly learned that the lake was off limits but the rest of the back yard was fine. As we were wrapping up the training, my client mentioned that he had just brought home a puppy Rhodesian Ridgeback to add to “the pack”. He had never had a puppy before and was working on the potty training. He mentioned that he was taking the puppy out, but also had wee-wee pads down in the family room. Since he knew that Robin and I were professional dog trainers, he wanted our opinion on his methods.
I told my client that it is very important to be consistent and clear when it comes to potty training large dogs. This is because a large dog that is not potty trained or is confused about where to go will make a far larger “accident” in the house than a small dog.
My client, obviously, wanted his puppy to go outside to potty and wanted to make sure that was his potty training rule. The problem was that he was also providing a “Plan B” for his puppy. The potty pads in the family room give off a natural scent of urine and when the puppy potties on the pads, is enhances that smell.
A dog’s sense of smell is far more acute than ours. Because of that, many of their actions are based on smell. The potty pads in the family room are telling the puppy that there is also a bathroom right there. With a bathroom so close and convenient, the puppy is far less likely to focus on getting outside to potty.
I instructed my client to pick up the potty pads immediately and to clean the area thoroughly with a standard cleanser and an enzyme “potty cleanser” such as Nature’s Miracle.
He said he would do that as soon as I left, but he still had a problem. He said that sometimes he needed to be out of the house for a long period of time. He knew that his little puppy couldn’t “hold it” for that long a time and didn’t want him to potty in the crate or roam around the house to potty in some corner he would never find. What should he do then?
In this event, I explained that he should find a laundry room or powder room with a tile floor (just as long as it isn’t carpet). This place should be somewhere that he will never allow the puppy to go except when they are gone for a long period of time.
He needs to “puppy-proof” the area by picking up anything that the puppy can “get into”. If this is a powder room, this could be things like toilet paper, an area rug, or any other items on the floor or low enough for the puppy to jump and get. If it is a laundry room, it could be detergent, cleansers, the laundry basket, etc. I also suggested getting a puppy-baby fence to go across the room’s door.
Whenever he is gone for a long period of time, he is to put the puppy in that area and place the puppy-baby fence across the door opening. He can leave a little bit of water (1 inch in the bowl) and some toys in the room to keep his puppy diverted and engaged. If there is a window in the room, open the curtains so he has a nice and engaging view. When he comes home, he should check for any accidents in the room and clean them up immediately with a standard cleanser and then an enzyme cleanser.
He needs to make sure that his puppy is only allowed in that room when they are gone for a long time. The door must always be closed when they are home and the puppy is allowed to roam. This will assure that his puppy will not associate that area with the rest of the house and mitigate his training of getting him outside to potty. As his puppy gets older and can “hold it longer”, the use of the room will diminish until it is no longer needed.
We often forget that we need to be consistent with our dog because “modern life” is almost anything but consistent. We need to be careful not to teach our dog something inappropriate assuming that we can “switch later”. Robin and I hope you will freely contact us about our out of sight dog fences or home dog training. Please go to Dog Fence Training Help Miramar South Florida or dial (954) 472-4724. Robin and I have great Dog Guard Out of Sight Fencing® and dog training hints at Best Out of Sight Dog Fence Trainers Miramar South Florida. We have been your local pet professionals for over eleven years in Miramar and all over South Florida. Is your dog always misbehaving? Besides dog fence experts, we are also dog training experts. Read all about our Behavior and Obedience Dog Training Program by visiting Home Dog Training Miramar South Florida.