Some Potty Training Tips Help a Shihpoo Stop Having Accidents

By: David Codr

Published Date: November 9, 2016


Skyler is a one-year-old Shihpoo who lives in Omaha. His guardian takes Skyler out for therapy dog work and there were a few issues that were causing problems with that. I was called in for a dog behavior training session to stop his marking or having accidents in the house and also teach him to stop barking or nipping when excited.

I got a first-hand accounting of Skyler’s barking when I arrived for the session. Most dogs bark a little bit when someone arrives and then settle down. Not Skyler.

Because Skyler kept on barking as I tried to discuss what his guardian wanted to accomplish during the session, I knew we needed to deal with that problem first. I pulled out a leash and started to approach Skyler to attach it. As soon as I took my first step towards him, Skyler ran away and then started to use the furniture around the room as a way of blocking me from gaining access to him while he continued to bark his disagreement at me.

It’s took a couple of minutes, but eventually Skyler’s guardian and I got him on the leash. As soon as he did, something dramatically different happened.

Because Skyler’s guardian had not incorporated any real rules or boundaries, the dog had gotten the impression that it had the same authority as his human. As a result of this perception, Skyler did anything that he pleased and ignored his guardian anytime he disagreed or attempted to correct the dog.

Adding some rules and structure into Skyler’s day-to-day routine will go a long ways towards helping him learn to respect the authority of his human. Once the dog respects the human as an authority figure, then listening to him will no longer be optional.

After covering rules and structure, I turned my attention to one of the primary issues I was called in to help with; Skyler’s marking, accidents or potty problems.

I have found that many dog’s potty training issues are directly related to how the humans react when the dog is going through potty training itself. I started out by going over some dos and don’ts when it comes to potty training.

It’s extremely important that anyone who is attempting to potty train a dog avoid the common mistakes and errors that I highlighted in the above video. These have been clinically proven to make potty training more difficult and take longer.

Now that we had covered the main things you want to avoid, I spent a couple of minutes explaining how Skyler’s guardian can use positive dog training to potty train Skyler.

By consistently rewarding Skyler in the appropriate way and with good timing each time he successfully eliminates, his guardian will be able to provide the dog the motivation needed to start holding it inside the house.

Next I addressed Skyler’s habit of nipping when he gets over excited. One of the most overlooked aspects of nipping is the dog’s frame of mind and energy level when it occurs. Dogs sample things with their mouths. For this reason it is natural for a dog to nip or mouth things as a young dog and it is incumbent upon humans to communicate that this behavior is not acceptable as soon as possible to stop it from becoming a habit.

I went over some techniques and tricks that the guardian can use to get Skyler to stop nipping. Consistently stopping any engagement with the puppy the instant his teeth touch the human’s skin is the trick that usually works the best. The timing of this stoppage is key, it needs to happen right away.

For many dogs mouthing or nipping is a bad habit, but for some dogs it happens when they are over excited and loose control.

I knew I would be able to assist with many of Skyler’s problems by helping him develop more self-control. A great way to teach this is to have the dog practice a Leave It exercise. I demonstrated how to do this in the video below.

There are a number of variations of the Leave It exercise. I suggested that Skyler’s guardian go to YouTube and find a couple of other exercises that help Skyler practice this discipline. While there are many variations of this technique, they all center around the same principle; control.

I also recommended that the guardian use YouTube to find some tricks or commands that can be beneficial during his therapy work. Having tricks specific to this kind of social task can be beneficial to humans and dog.

Just like humans, dogs have a self esteem or pride the kicks in when they master a new skill. Teaching Skyler 8 to 12 new tricks or commands will help him feel less of a need to bark at people, Many dogs bark and nip out of lower self esteem or frustration. Teaching Skyler a Leave it exercise  can help him develop the discipline and self-control that will help put a stop unwanted behaviors such as nipping.

Because Skyler was still having occasional accidents in the home, the guardian wanted me to go over some basic kennel training with him to prevent them from occurring while in training. I covered some of the basics and how to use positive reinforcement to help Skyler have a good feeling about going into the kennel.

I regret not pulling out my camera sooner because Skyler responded so well to the positive reinforcement kennel training methods we were using. Within a few minutes, Skyler was going  into his kennel on his own without any prompting whatsoever.

This type of positive dog training goes a long ways towards helping a dog feel good about things that they have developed a negative perception about.

By the end of the session, Skyler was considerably calmer, had stopped barking, was going into his kennel on command and even starting to sit in front of his human to ask for attention rather than jumping up on his lap.

By consistently enforcing the new rules and boundaries, Skyler will start to see and identify himself as being in more of a follower position. Once this transition takes place it will be much easier for the human to communicate what is and is not allowed in the home or on therapy visits.

Once Skyler has spent enough time behaving the way his guardian wants, he will be more relaxed and at ease and this new behavior will become his new normal.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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