Potty and Kennel Training a Coton de Tulear Puppy

By: David Codr

Published Date: September 27, 2016


Clancy is a five-month-old Coton de Tulear who was adopted 3 weeks ago. His guardians scheduled a puppy training session with me to help put a stop to his has occasional accidents and his barking and whining in the kennel.

Clancys guardian bought him in a pet store. Often times people who purchased dogs for a pet store end up with a puppy mill dog whose confidence has been shaken because they are taken away from their families at such a young impressionable age. This is one of the many reasons why I do not support purchasing dogs from a dog stores.

Fortunately, Clancy appeared to be pretty well-adjusted. He was inquisitive and confident enough to come over to Sam and myself and greet us with his nose. This very very well be the most confident dog I’ve ever seen to come out of a puppy mill.

Sam and I sat down with Clancy and his guardian to discuss what he wanted to accomplish in the session. This always gives us an opportunity to observe the dog as well as observe how the dog interact with the humans.

During our discussion I learned that Clancy didn’t really have many rules in place; he was allowed to jump up on the furniture as well as on top of his guardian. He nudged or scratched at his guardian for attention any time that he wanted, although he didn’t have to do that very often as the guardian was petting him quite a bit.

One of the tips that I shared with the guardian was that he start to add a Little structure to petting the dog. I like to call this petting with a purpose.

I also recommended that the guardian dial the pups access back a little bit. It’s natural for us to want to let a puppy have full access to our homes and everything in them, but in many cases this can be overwhelming for the pup.

Remember you’re going to have a lifetime with your dog. Just like human children, it’s better to keep them in a smaller area first where you can observe them carefully. As they mature and prove to be trustworthy, you can gradually give them access to other portions of your home.

I advised the guardian to no longer allow Clancy to sit on the top of the back of the couch as this can give the dog the impression that it has more authority than it actually does.

One of my biggest concerns however was Clancys lack of socialization experience. Clearly he is very comfortable around humans but when I inquired as to what experience he had amongst other dogs, it turned out to be very little.

First year of a puppy is life is when they learn how they are going to interact with other dogs and people. If we do not expose them to a wide variety of other dogs, we are going to end up with a dog who is socially stunted.

Just like humans, dogs need to be exposed to of wide variety of other dogs in order to learn how to properly greet and interact with them. I have dealt with many clients who had small dogs that did not have any rules and little to no experience with other dogs. The end result is a dog that is a ferocious Barker, lunching and snapping at other dogs it sees because it does not know how to properly interact with them.

He is a little bit older than we would like to see for our puppy socialization classes, however since he is such a small breed and has such a limited amount of experience, I strongly recommended that the guardian enroll him in our puppy socialization class which will start in a few weeks.

I also learned that Clancy was scheduled to be neutered the following week. While it is important that we spade and neuter our pets, sometimes we need to wait before we do so. Many breeds of dogs develop later and need to have all of the hormones that are provided by remaining in tact until a certain level of development.

My apprentice Samantha has a friend who breeds Cotton’s so she reached out to determine if there was a desired age in which to have Clancy neutered. Sams breeder friend said that most cotton breeders ask people to hold off until the dog has reached one year of age. This allows the dog to make sure that all the growth hormones and growth plates are closed before being adjusted.

After going over rules and structure, it was time to tackle one of the primary issues; Clancys protesting when placed in the kennel.

Guardian took me into the basement to show me the room that he had moved the kennel too. Because Clancy have been whimpering and barking in the kennel in a protest, he had move the cattle into a furnace/storage room. The only real punishment for a dog is to be excluded from the group. So placing a kennel in a room that is never used by the humans is often interpreted as a punishment.

Recommended that we relocate the kennel into the primary hangout room in the basement. The kennel the Guardian had only had one door to it which meant we had to position it so it’s stood out a bit out of the Covey that we placed it in. If the Guardian picks up another kennel, he should be able to find one with the second door in the side which will allow the kennel to be positioned in a way where it’s not in the way.

The first thing I wanted to do was identify how much reluctance Clancy had built up with the kennel. Fortunately, he was only mildly reluctant to go inside.

Spent the next couple of minutes showing the guardian how he can create a positive association with the kennel.

By tossing in and leaving high-value treats in the kennel, the Guardian should be able to get the dog to build up a positive association to it in no time.

Once the dog has a positive association of the kennel, the guardian will need to help the dog learn to feel comfortable being left inside.

By utilizing positive reinforcement, it shouldn’t take long before Clancy sees his kennel as a positive and beneficial place to hang out.

Next we headed upstairs to go outside so the Clancy could do some business and I could go over some basic potty training tips. By this point in the session, the guardians two grandchildren had arrived home from school.

Their youngest grandchild was a girl who was clearly very enamored with Clancy. She followed and ran along behind Clancy and picked him up to give him frequent kisses and hugs. After a couple of minutes the Guardian asked her to go inside the place of the clients he could do his business.

When we returned inside we started wrapping up the session and I noticed that the granddaughter was chasing Clancy around the house.

At first it appeared to be normal play but after observing her interact with the dog for several minutes, I could tell that Clancy was feeling a little bit overwhelmed. Young children sometimes have difficulty understanding when a dog needs a break. However when you combine a puppy who is over exhausted with a determine child, you can end up with an unfavorable result.

I have read many, many case studies about dogs who have bitten a young child where the dog had zero history of showing any aggression. In each one of these situations, the dog was not allowed to remove itself when it had had too much. Dogs will attempt to wiggle away and run to give them self a little bit of space. But if the child does not stop, some dogs will nip or even bite when they are overwhelmed or exhausted.

I suggested that the grandparents institute a rule that anytime the dog runs away more than three times in a row, the grand child has to wait for the dog to approach them before playing with the dog again.

My apprentice Sam made an outstanding points on that subject. She recommended that anytime that Clancy went into the kennel, the children should not be allowed to remove him. This will give the dog a sanctuary to go to when he feels overwhelmed and also have a additional benefit of creating another positive benefit or association with the kennel.

Clancy is a great little dog. Despite coming from the puppy mill system, he is grown to be very comfortable around humans. If the guardians can incorporate a little bit of rules and structure to help him identify as being more of a follower and go out of their way to provide him with the proper socialization experiences he needs with other dogs his size and maturity level, he will grow up to be a balanced and well mannered adult.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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