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Potty Training

Potty training an easy bit of behavior training that can turn frustrating. Some key things to remember when potty training is to always, always, always reward the pup for going outside. Reinforcement is by definition the increase of a behavior, in this case the behavior of going outside. If you don't reinforce this basic component you can be in for a long journey. Puppies tend to have very small bladders are growing so their metabolism is through the roof. I suggest going outside every hour or so with very young pups to be sure that accidents aren't happening and you continually reinforce going outside.

To help with bladder training, I suggest kenneling the puppy when you leave the home. If the pup can get away from their mess, they will just go when they feel the need. Kenneling with enough room to get comfortable but not enough room to get away from the mess forces the pup to start "holding it" and thereby train their bladder to realize it can hold more.

Avoid using pee pads. They are good for when you have to have a pup somewhere for extended periods to make messes easier to clean up, but they also teach the pup to potty while standing on cloth or fabric. Animals are very tactile and they are learning to potty based on the substrate under their feet. When pee pads go away the closest sensation to that under their feet is . . . carpet. If you have to have the dog going in the home I suggest a fake grass product. At the very least it won't match up with any other surfaces in your home.

Avoid positive punishment. This is a natural bodily function and creating a fear around it can lead to neurotic disorders in dogs. For example "rubbing their nose in it" can lead to coprophagia, eating their own feces. This is because they don't learn that pooping in the house caused the pain or fear. Instead they learn that you don't like it and something bad is going to happen and the only way to stop it is to eat it.

Another strategy for success, bells. Hang bells by the door and ring them whenever you take the pup out. If you catch the pup playing with the bells, immediately reward them and let them out. They learn very quickly that the bells lead to them going outside. Of course they will use this to their advantage to go outside and play, but you have created a communication for them to let you know and a few extra trips to the door are well worth avoiding accidents in the home.

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