Monday, May 29, 2017

Dog Potty Training Q &A

Potty Training Question:
Q: Over the past 3 months, Rigby is pooping in the house. Sometimes it's when I leave him alone & other times it's when I'm here. Last week I brought out his crate again so I wouldn't come home to it but yesterday I brought the gate out so he's not so confined. I don't know what the right thing to do is. Last week my housekeeper went in my office to clean & he had peed on the side of the dog bed I keep in there all over my wood floor. Since I don't go in that room every day, I have no idea when I did it. I've always had to keep a gate up on the stairs because if he goes up there, he always poops in one of the bedrooms on the carpet. He never poops on the wood floor or tile floor, always on my area rugs or carpet upstairs. Any advice would be gratefully received.

Unfortunately dogs do choose to pee on the nice carpet, as opposed to the linoleum floors, and during times of potty problems, area rugs tend to be a target for trouble. Whether a puppy or a grown dog, potty training or re-training is always the same. A dog needs to respect their own space first, before they will respect yours. You are on the right track of bringing the kennel and the gate back out. Confine Rigby's space so you can see if he dis-respects his own space also, or just your space. Test the amount of area he can be trusted in, and expand the area when he is successful.
For now, I would close off the rooms you are not using. To re-initiate those rooms into his life, you will need to spend time in those rooms, with Rigby, to let him know it is not his personal latrine. Don't worry too much about how the system went sour, but just begin correcting it. He may have had an "accident" one day, and when it went undetected, it now became a "convenience", and then a habit. You just need to change the "habit". Remember, they say for a human, it takes 21 days, or 100 tries to break a habit. It is not instant, so stay focused on the goal, and keep directing your dog to the right potty place. I have found in our 2 week dog boot camp, we could correct any naughty behavior, but the new good behavior must continue to be reinforced so that no one falls off the wagon, or in this case wee wee does not go to the wayside!

Here is a link to a potty training blog I wrote with step by step directions.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Potty Training your dog in 2 weeks DIY

A 2 week Potty-Training Boot camp.  For any dog, any age. Read everything, because it is not an order, but tips to be incorporated all at once.

First, ALL dogs are trainable, and none are worse than others. It is just a matter of patience and following through, so try not to get discouraged. 😊 Don’t believe the excuses you hear from other people who did not succeed. I have trained them all, and have not found one breed that gets to bow out to the excuse of being “untrainable”. 

  • Plan on dedicating 2 intense weeks to her training, and then it will taper off.  But, every moment counts in the beginning training.  Right now she believes there are no rules on potty-training.  These two weeks will be creating the boundaries she WANTS to follow.
  • Using a little 24” kennel is the easiest way to potty-train. A dog needs to learn to respect their own space first. Then, and only then, will they respect a larger space, and especially your space. If utilizing a kennel to train, be certain to walk your dog in between kennel time (walking instructions are in a below tip).  Just being let loose for a while is not a walk. 
  • If you choose not to use a kennel, gate off a smaller area. But, if you want less work, and more success, use the kennel. They LOVE them. If your dog does NOT like a kennel, or is stressed at all,  you will need to learn “kennel training” at the same time to make this a positive experience.
  • As soon as she wakes up, she needs to go pee. Straight outside. If she has played for a while, she needs to go pee. Straight outside.
  • For these first two weeks you will need to monitor when she is “being taken” outside to pee. We are looking for the opportunity  to tell her, “good girl!”.  You do not need silence for her to pee. Interruptions happen in life. Creating a silent pee moment, when only train a dog to go pee only when life is silent.
  • If she is being distracted while out for the pee time, it will help to put her on a leash. Pee time is pee time, NOT play time.  We play only after she pees. If she DOES NOT pee, then back to the kennel for another 10 min (or so) and then attempt the pee process again. Success=free time.  No Pee= time back in the kennel until you get a successful pee.
  • You can actually teach a dog to pee on command.  While you are outside with her waiting for her to pee, repeat, “Go potty”, or whatever phrase you want to be the command. (do your business, last chance, etc)  Be consistent.  Dogs like consistency, and when there is confusion, they will think the rule must the up to them to decide since no one else is making the rule.
  • When she does go pee, through a party! Be excited, proud, and let her know she has done well.  Everyone has their way of being excited, and your dog knows each family member’s personality, so let everyone show their reward in their own way.
  • A reward for going pee, IS NOT a treat.  This is a real quick way to get a dog to learn how to “fake” a pee, or to want to pee many more times than needed, just to get the treat!
  • Structured walks, meaning on a leash, will also improve your potty-training success.
  • While walking your dog, do not allow them to pee wherever they want. Remember we are teaching rules, expectations, and boundaries. Think of the walk as going on a car ride with the kids.  Everyone goes pee before you leave, may get a pit stop at a Mc Donald’s, but then we all wait to use the bathroom when we are “scheduled”.  Pick the time. Pick the place, but YOU pick it.  Just because your dog wants to smell and pee at the fire hydrant, does not mean it is the place you have scheduled.  REMEMBER, right now, your dog is choosing to pee IN YOUR HOUSE.  This training is to change what your dog is now doing, into what YOU want your dog to do.
  •  Each room is a new space. So, if a dog is acting potty-trained in your common living areas, and all the sudden has access to a bedroom not usually visited, it may be used as an indoor potty in their minds.  You can add rooms to be certified as “potty-trained, but each room will need to go through the training. This is why dog’s love to pee in the living rooms….because no one ever uses them. It makes a nice indoor and private potty experience.
  • Only add extra rooms to your potty-trained territories, AFTER you have success in the main living areas, and AFTER your 2 week graduation of potty-training boot camp.
  • When your dog is having free time, it is NOT your free time.  You will need to monitor the little “squirter” continually!  Think of it, like babysitting a one year old baby. Do not take your eyes off your dog. If you do, she WILL pee.
  • First thing your dog quickly learns is, the only rule is DO NOT PEE in the owner’s presence.  They learn for some reason, her peeing makes YOU upset, (not her, only you) so she will quickly learn to pee behind a couch, around a corner, and quickly, while you get a glass of water, use the bathroom, look at your iPhone, etc.
  • Mistakes may happen (as you are training yourself in how to better monitor your dog). If your dog has a potty mishap, correct her immediately, but not harshly, and ONLY if caught in the action of the crime!  Say sadly, “nooooo…… (or wrong, or whatever word you choose) shake your head in disapproval (for only a few moments) then quickly take your dog outside to pee and say, “Go potty, go potty” in a NICE VOICE.  If she has anything left and pees, throw the same excitable party you normally would.  If she does not pee, back to the kennel for a little while, until you are ready to be responsible and be a better Potty Monitor!  You will need to be able to flip your emotion from sad to encouraging instantly in this scenario. Remember, your dog likes happy, and does not like to pee around someone who is grumpy. Who would, right???
  • Boot camp is not a time of being mean. It is a time of structure, with reward at the right times. Never hit any dog. Boundaries and expectation IS the discipline in this training.  If you feel the need to hit someone with a rolled up newspaper (if you can find one these days) then hit only yourself.
  • If you stress, your dog will stress, and if your dog is stressed, they will most likely turn the pee problem into a diarrhea problem!!
Potty-training any dog is for the brave and dedicated owners that want to finally have the relief that their dog can live in their home with having the peace of mind that your home is no longer a fire hydrant!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Your dog calls, "Shotgun!"

Whether a quick trip to the park, a weekend vacation, or a complete relocation...

There are a few tips that can make traveling in the car more enjoyable. Keep in mind, the attitude of the dog that you put into the usually setting the mood for your traveling companion!  If you think it is cute that your dog goes ballistic when you prompt him in an excited voice, "Do you wanna go for a ride? Do ya? Do ya?"  Well.....then you will probably need to appreciate his "excitement" at each stop light, each dog in passing, and each person approaching your car.

Please remember....It is YOU that creates the dog you have!

By breeding excitement, your results will be reactions of excitement for all sorts of conditions. It may sound boring to direct you to calmly walk your dog to the car, only let him jump in the car on direction, and to sit politely while on the ride, but this set of instruction breathes good manners!

Good manners are not boring. It is called, "BALANCE".

Friday, March 6, 2015

Why Behave?

Sometimes we all want to be a rebel, go completely wild, and throw a tantrum! I'm talking exteme... drive fast, demolition bump into cars we don't like, throw dishes (I have always wanted to do this one!), and tear up something real bad, like a pillow fight gone wild!  If you have "never" had that desire...then, um, ya...neither have I..)

Face it...we all feel like we are gonna crack sometimes, and sometimes we have a little leak, but usually we trek through and most of us don't rob, rattle, and terrorize. What determines that boundary line that refrains us from reacting? For me, there are a lot of reasons that I police myself.

#1. The actual police. (I used to be one, and I really never want to be on the other side of the cell using toilet paper as my pillow)
#2. The regret I would have after the fit. (It's really not my core person)
#3. The expense of replacing and fixing the wreckage. (Have you priced dishes???)
#4. The clean up. (a split 2 minute fit is not worth wasting an hour of clean up)

 There are so many stress triggers in life; traffic, work, weight, health, pressure from family peers or parents, barking dogs....the list is enormous and is individual to you. My personal triggers are traffic, crying, barking,, needless to say you don't want to be in the car with me on the 91 freeway with my passengers crying and barking as the siren is pulling me over!  Wham! Caution, breaking point in my radar!

Dogs have triggers too!

A list of dog triggers can also be individual to the dog. Many common triggers are, other dogs, balls, food, bones, motorcycles, kids, skateboards, trash trucks, knocking, door bells, etc...For many dogs, just one of these triggers can set them into a barking, growling, jumping, fitful tantrum. Add a few more stress triggers and simply multiple out the result exponentially.

Forcing me into a traffic jam with a pack of preschoolers, and raging dogs is not a good way to teach me to "get over my triggers".It is also not the best way to rehabilitate a dog to get over his issues either. Bribing us with Twinkies only puts a band aid over the moment. Our bodies can only withstand so many Twinkies before we get full or have a sugar spike, which can cause a whole new reaction.

I train and rehabilitate, the dogs, and ME, in a prevention method, rather than a reaction application.  In other words...don't treat the sunburn. Limit access to the sun to build up a tolerance, and use sunscreen for proper prevention.

There are prevention measures I have in place to keep myself in check. Let's call it "Cindy's Risk Management,", and it is a  regimen I enforce to keep myself in the green.

#1. Sleep (Have you ever had sleep deprivation...not pretty)
#2. Cellular Health (I feed my cells the stuff they need so the benefits flow out of me. This is Vitamins/ supplements, the stuff that is actually nurturing my body)
#3. Healthly Eating (Because I still need and like the taste of food. This is my fuel )
#4. Exercise (when an athlete has a bad attitude, the coach says, "take a lap".  Proper exercise it not only good for the body, but great for our mind!)

These risk management points can also be used for dogs. A properly exercised, nutritionally healthy, and restful dog is a vision of beauty and balance, and isn't that what we are all striving for anyways?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

I sat down to write, then I realized I had nothing to say today.

As humans, we have the gift of gab....and sometimes it can be confusing or even annoying. We all seek silence at some point. There is a restaurant in Corona Del Mar with a headless woman outside.. named, "the quiet woman". It always gets a laugh, because we know, that maybe, sometimes....women talk too much :)

I am gonna talk, but I also know when to stop talking, and especially with a dog. People ask how can they train a deaf dog. I always reply, "That's easy!  A deaf dog can't hear you screw up when you talk too much!"

When I train a dog, the beginning is done all is silence. Yep. The dog doesn't understand my words yet so why keep repeating dead words until we can find a common communication to begin translating anything.  I begin each relationship with a dog by me speaking dog language to the dog first. Dog language consists of specific body movements that they instinctively understand. Then training becomes easy, because I am now on their playground and they understand me.

After I can get the dogs' respect, then I can begin teaching the dog my human language, and any task I want them to learn.

   Don't over think, 
and especially learn the 
gift of silence 
while training your dog.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Potty Training Gone Wild!

                                                                                                                                                                   Anytime a behavior changes in a dog, we don't panic, but we do not ignore it hoping it will disappear. We
address it immediately in a program I call "Back to Basics.

    Example:  A dog that has been fully potty trained is all of the sudden having accidents.. Yikes.

    First, we analyze if the dog is possibly sick (diarrhea...probably not his fault) But if there have been a few occasions of pottying (#1 or #2) then we want to nip this in the rear...literally.

    As humans we like to know the answers, the reasons, the WHY did this happen. Get over it, and just get the behavior to stop. Immediately initiate "Potty Training 101". (See blog post)  This means go back to early potty training lessons (flash back to messy puppy stage) Potty training is a 24/7 job, but even the toughest potty protesters can be rehabilitated in a two week period.

    To set your investigative mind at could have been a neighbor getting a new dog that set your dog in a whizzing twirl, or an annoying new gardener, or... it could be you are stressed out about something and in turn your dog gets stressed out. A dog has just a few thoughts or coping skills, sniff it, eat it, or wizz on it. In other words....if your dog is suddenly eating your couch....enroll your dog back into Remedial Respect Rules 101. (no current blog, but give me a call)

    Whatever the reason, re-inforce the rules calmly with clear boundaries and things should start landing in the designated areas quickly.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Look in the Mirror

My dog is my "keep in check" counselor.

When my dogs are going crazy, I don't blame the dog...I say "hey, I have to chill out!"  Dogs will mirror your emotions. You can calm them down, and amp them up.

Moving can create a lot of stress, for everyone! Depending on how you handle stress, your dog will pick up on that stress vibe too.

Tips for a successful K9 moving experience;

Keep your dog's meal time somewhat close to regular, and step up the mileage on the walks. A little more exercise will help you both.

Since dogs are resilient, once we balance ourselves,  they will balance out with us.