Some Potty Training Tips and Secrets Help a Goldendoodle Puppy Learn to Stop Having Accidents

charlie-labradoodle-puppy-waterloo

Charley is a three-month-old Goldendoodle puppy who lives in West Omaha. Her guardian set up a puppy training session with me to help with potty training, stop her from jumping up, teach her to come when called and stop her excited urination.

Charlie’s guardian had reviewed some of the puppy tips I have shared on the Dog Gone Problems website and set up a puppy play pen in the laundry room like the one I set up for Quest. I am a big proponent of setting up a play pen this way as the puppy has more room than a kennel which allows it to play, sleep, drink and use a puppy pad if the guardian is so inclined.

The guardian did a good job with the play pen but there were a few things things I spotted that could make it even better.

After sharing my tips and suggestions on the play room, we left Charlie to take a nap while her guardian and I went into the kitchen to discuss what she wanted to accomplish during the session.

One of the major issues was Charlie having accidents in the house. I started to ask some questions about the puppy potty training and found a few things that could be contributing to the accidents. Fortunately the guardian didn’t make any of the major mistakes most people do when potty training a puppy.

While the things I covered in the above video seem minor, these mistakes can have a major impact on your dog and successfully potty training your puppy. I have worked with many client’s who’s dog refused to potty in front of them due to the guardians engaging in these methods.

Potty training is all about rewarding the dog at the right time in the right way while including a command word so that the dog connects the command with the action and the reward. To make sure that Charlie’s guardian knows all the right things, I spent the next few minutes sharing a number of puppy potty training secrets.

Many people don’t consider where the puppy eliminates in the yard or that its possible to train your dog to go in a specific location. But with some positive reinforcement as outlined in the above video, you can teach your puppy to go in a low traffic area to prevent anyone from stepping in something best left outside.

As we was finishing up sharing these potty training tips, Charlie’s guardian lamented that she had failed to teach the pup to ring a bell to communicate when she needed to go. Many people take it for granted that their dog barks to let them know they need to go out. Sometimes teaching a dog to bark this way can result in a dog who thinks barking is a way to ask to go out (Not necessarily to potty) or to demand things from their humans. We call this demand barking and its an annoying behavior that can be challenging to stop.

Many people make a few crucial mistakes when tying to teach a puppy to ring a bell to ask to go out. Im surprised more puppy trainers don’t share these tips and secrets with their clients so I decided to make a video on teaching a dog to ring a bell when it needs to potty.

It will take a week or so, but if the guardian can time the ringing of the bell to the action, it shouldn’t take long to get Charlie to start ringing the bell to let the guardian know she needs to go.

Many people ask me why I bother teaching a dog to use a command word if they are going to teach the pup to ring a bell. Teaching the dog a command word is always a good idea for the times when you are out and about and need to communicate to your dog that you want it to go. Additionally, I find that teaching with a command word first makes teaching it how to ring a bell easier as the human has practice at teaching close to the same method and the dog understands the reward / command sound connection.

Now that the potty training issues had been addressed, I wanted to show Charlie’s guardian how to stop the puppy from jumping up. This is a behavior that is often introduced or reinforced by the dog’s guardians. Anything that a dog is doing when we pet it is what we are reinforcing or rewarding the dog for. So the first thing that everyone needs to do is stop petting Charlie when she jumps up on them.

I suggested that the guardian start practicing what I like to call Petting with a Purpose. This involves not petting the dog unless it does something to earn the praise first like coming when called, siting or laying down. By asking the dog to do one of these things first, then immediately rewarding the dog by petting it and saying the command word at the same time, we can reinforce teaching these basic commands. Many people never think about petting their dog and saying the word “here” at the same time, but over time this helps the dog recall or come on command better and in more difficult scenarios.

This also introduces and reinforces the concept of the dog being in a follower position. Instead of getting petted for no reason or demanding the human pet them or pay attention, the dog learns that it has to ask in a way the humans wants. I like to say this teaches the dog it needs to “pay” for its reward and the currency is obedience.

We headed back to Charlie’s puppy play room so I could show the guardian a few other tips that will help stop Charlie from jumping up while also developing some self control.

By asking Charlie to ear her rewards and asking her to sit before being let out of her play pen, before going out the door, before getting permission to eat, etc, the puppy will transition from jumping up to ask for something and instead sit to make that request. We call this Manding.

Next we headed into the family room so that I could show the guardian how to teach the puppy to come when called. Like many of my clients, Charlie’s guardians were using multiple command words. One person in the house said “come here,” someone else said “come,” others said her name, whistled, slapped their thigh or used other words.

This meant that Charlie had to learn and recognize five or more command words. Making a dog learn multiple command words for the same action obviously makes it more difficult for the dog which slows down the learning curve. I suggested that they come up with a simple command word and focus on that in the future.

We finished up the session by grabbing a seat so I could go over the basics of teaching a puppy to come. I also showed the guardians how to use a hand motion to get Charlie’s attention when she didn’t respond to the command word as well as how to reward her in a way that connected the command word with the action.

By the end of the session, I had taught Charlie how to lay down and come on command and showed her guardian how she can transition the puppy from jumping up to sitting to ask for things. With some practice with the right positive puppy training, it shouldn’t take Charlie long to become a pro at these new commands and start ringing the bell when she needs to go out to do some business.

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