Noel the Shih Tzu Puppy Learns to Use the Great Outdoors

By: David Codr

Published Date: May 21, 2014

Noel Shi TsuNoel is an eight-month-old Shih Tzu puppy. Her owner contacted me to help put an end to her accidents in the house.

When I arrived for the session, Noel was very energetic. Her room mate is a seven-year-old Doberman and when she wasn’t jumping excitedly at me, she was playing with him with all her might.

Noel’s owner had trained her to use a puppy pad. While she uses it properly to urinate, she frequently deficates in different parts of the home. In fact, her owner informed me that she had never seen the dog go number two, outside. EVER!

As we continued the conversation I learned that Noel’s owner had reacted the way many many owners have over the years. When Noel had an accident, her owner rubbed her nose in it.

This training method has been thoroughly disproven. In fact, many studies have shown that rubbing a dog’s face in it can actually increase the number of accidents. The dog learns to hold it then sneak off and do its business away from the person who rubs its nose rather than telling her owner they need to go outside.

I suggested that her owner start to use the command word potty while the dog is doing its business. This helps tie the action to the command word. After enough repetitions we can see a reaction out of the dog when we use the command to see if the dog needs to eliminate. I explained that any time that the dog reacts to the word (raised ears, jump in energy, etc), her owner needs to let her outside.

I suggested that her owner let the Doberman go outside to potty before she let Noel out. Then to take Noel out by herself and lead her to where the Doberman eliminated. Sometimes the scent of another dog’s urine or feces can trigger a desire to eliminate in a dog.

Because she is a puppy, I advised her owner to take her out for five minute opportunities and watch her the entire time. If the dog doesn’t go in five minutes, she needs to call Noel inside and put her in the kennel for 15 minutes. After the kennel time out, she can then let the dog outside for another five minute potty opportunity.

By repeating this process we hope to get a pseudo “potty dance” going for the dog. By eliminating the opportunity to sneak off and repeating the process until the dog poops, we can ensure a successful conclusion. The more often the dog goes outside, the more likely it is it will do so in the future.

I advised her owner to drop to a knew and call Noel over after she eliminates outside and richly praise her while repeating he potty command word over and over in a calm voice.

These steps will help her owner communicate in a positive way that going outside is a good thing to do. But in the transition, there may be some bumps in the road so I went over the times a dog is most likely to need to go; after waking up, after heavy play time and after eating. I suggested that Noel’s owner let her out immediately after these activities.

By eliminating the ability to be alone when the dog is “loaded,” using positive reinforcement and word association, Noel’s in house accidents will quickly become a thing of the past.


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This post was written by: David Codr

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