Neither Rain, Nor Snow, Nor Sleet, Nor Hail Shall Cause My Dog’s Potty Training To Fail
Our dog Anouk will eliminate on cue within 5 seconds with 99% reliability, just about anywhere (appropriate), anytime, in any weather. Sometimes, I ask Anouk for a “Go potty, go pee!” just a few minutes after she has eliminated to reinforce that elimination is a rewardable behavior. She will crouch and attempt to urinate or expel just a drop or two, then its party time! Dancing, affection and tasty food rewards. We reward our dogs immediately, every time they eliminate appropriately.
This incredible time and sanity saving behavior was systematically trained, as we have done with so many of our client’s dogs. Sometimes, we are in competition for potty compliance with distractions and the environment, as we expect may be the case with some of you next week as a potentially wild storm approaches.
Fear not, Maverick Pet Partners has lived and learned through many thousands of potty times (and a few accidents) in every imaginable circumstance, and we have some tips to help you through the storm with the silk rugs in your dining room intact.
- If you have not already assigned cues (formerly known as commands) to elimination, now is a great time to start! “Do your business”, “Go pee.” Make sunshine,”… Assign a 3’ x 3’ to 5’ x 5’ square of earth for elimination and stick to it. Ask for elimination and reward immediately and consistently for compliance. It is potty time, not walk time, so stay in your dog’s designated potty spot.
- If your dog does not urinate and defecate within 5 minutes outside, bring him inside and place him in his crate or gated area for 10-15 minutes, then try again. Continue this routine until he is successful and then praise and reward him immediately with tasty food for elimination in the appropriate spot.
- Take your dog out on a leash to his bathroom spot so he learns to relieve himself under your control.
- Confine the dog to rooms with tile or other washable flooring so mistakes don’t ruin carpets.
- Stick to your dog’s usual elimination schedule and take the dog outside to the appropriate relief spot immediately after eating.
- Dogs do not soil the house out of spite or stupidity; they soil the house because they have not been taught to do otherwise and the markers granting them permission (uric acid and protein from urine and feces) are present inside the home OR they have a medical condition that impacts elimination. If the dog does urinate or defecate inside, he should immediately and silently be taken outside to the assigned elimination spot. Keep a leash near each door to the house for easy access, just in case.
- Failures in housetraining are human mistakes or symptoms of a medical condition, not dog mistakes. The dog does not understand that carpets are for walking, not bowel relief. Make it highly rewarding for your dog to eliminate outside on cue.
- Never punish for mistakes. Once you’re fairly confident that the dog understands where to relieve himself, do not scold him for mistakes, even if you catch him in the act. Interrupt instead; “Oops, outside”. Never spank, scream, or push his nose in the mess. The spot MUST be cleaned up with an enzymatic cleaner. We highly recommend “Pee B Gone”.
In case of heavy rain, snow, tornadoes, hurricanes, tropical storms, or other conditions that may make potty time frightening, dangerous or physically challenging, the following methods have served us well are storm tested over many years:
If you have access to a garage or other roomy shed, create a temporary potty spot. Lay 3 to 4 pieces of sod (available seasonally) on top of a tarp or other plastic ground covering before the expected wildly inclement weather arrives. You may wish to secure the tarp to the garage floor with duct tape. Under your dog’s usual potty circumstances, sneak a paper towel onto the ground so that your dog eliminates on it. Transfer the paper towel onto the sod and invite your dog to investigate. Coax and comfort; “Good job.” “It’s okay.” Ask for elimination. Keep the paper towel on the temporary potty spot until your dog has eliminated there at least twice. Also keep the potty spot free of feces. When the storm passes, roll everything up and dispose of it appropriately. You can clean up the garage floor with “Pee B Gone” if urine soaked through your sod.
If no sod is available you can use leaves and some non-cocoa mulch on top of the tarp. The finer the mulch, the better. Do not use bark mulch nuggets. The urine saturated paper towel as marker is still essential to the success of your temporary potty spot. You can forgo the tarp if you have a safe space outside under a porch available, but don’t forget the urine saturated paper towel as marker in the novel spot.