Six Facts You Need to Know to Raise a Perfect Puppy

BentPup

Fact #1: Forget about alpha and pack.

A nine year old child, or a 85 year old grandparent in a wheelchair, can teach and control any dog by following a few, simple, kind rules. There is an excellent, simple way to teach your puppy, and it has nothing to do with alpha or dominance. As neat as it sounds, your family is not in some sort of mythical pack with your dog. You do not compete with your puppy for food, territory or reproduction rights. You do not have to intimidate your puppy into submission. That little guy wants to be your friend!

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Fact #2: : Mother Nature will potty train your puppy.

97.3% of the millions of dogs who ask to go outside, were never taught to go to the door and ask.  Mother Nature did it! The dogs just naturally ask, without any training from humans. Puppies get house trained as a result of a natural, built -in process known as classical conditioning. It has little to do with consequences, scolding or tasty treats. Yes, your actions can enhance potty training, or your actions can unknowingly teach your puppy to pee and poop inside the house. But, the truth is, nature is responsible.  Follow two simple rules, and let nature take its course. Your puppy will “become” house trained.

Fact #3: You have 12 -16 weeks to create a friendly adult dog.

Events during the first few months of your puppy’s life will determine if your adult dog will be a social butterfly or a frightened, shy, neurotic, anxious dog.

***********Every certified applied animal behaviorist is familiar with the mid, 20th century, classic 20-year study of genetics and the social behavior of dogs at Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor Maine.

John Paul Scott and John L. Fuller proved that events and exposures (or lack of events and exposures) during a critical period of socialization affect a dog for life. The critical period of socialization for domestic puppies begins when the ear canals open (about 21 days) and ends at 12 -16 weeks. ********

Here are four simple things you can do right now to introduce your young pup to the good life with a capital “L”.

 

  • Have your puppy meet 10 new people each day
  • Pop open an umbrella – – – just so he won’t be startled when he sees one spring open later
  • Tune into the Cartoon Channel and turn up the cartoons: What an excellent way to get your turbo puppy used to loud, unpredictable noises!
  • Race around your living room on crutches

The idea is to let your young puppy see, hear, feel, and experience everyday events, along with life’s surprises, at a very early age.

There are many easy things you can artfully do to raise an easy-going dog who will experience the ups and downs of life as a natural unfolding of events.

Take advantage of this 16 week

critical window of opportunity.

You will be glad you did!

Fact #4: Your puppy already knows how to come, sit, and lie down

Your puppy already knows how to do every basic obedience command. You just haven’t found the best way to ask your puppy, and you’re not quite sure how to kindly motivate your puppy to want to perform for you. . . (keep reading and you will know). . .  Anyone can learn how to kindly tell their dog WHEN, WHERE, HOW LONG, and WHY to perform basic commands.  It’s easy and it’s not a secret. You will succeed when you start off right with your puppy.  Nurture a relationship based on trust, consistency, clear communication, and rewards for cooperation.

Fact #5: Puppies and dogs do not hang their heads in shame

When your puppy hangs her head and lowers her body, she is not saying, I’m sorry. She is saying, “Please do not attack me, I mean you no harm”. Some of you may be thinking, “but she lowers her head before I even talk to her.” Puppies are observant and smart. They quickly learn to read situations and human body language. Dogs know more about human body language than most humans. But this does not mean they feel guilty or know right from wrong? If you do not believe me, walk up to your puppy when she has done nothing wrong. Use the same body language and tone as you do when there is a mess on the floor. She will lower her head. Does that mean she knows she’s done something wrong?

Fact #6: There are no dog training secrets in this world; you too can be an expert.

Dog training gurus want you to think only they have the secret. Hogwash. There are hundreds of books about dog training. Unfortunately, many of the books are written by people who gained their information from reading other books. Outdated, 20th century information is being sold as new and improved! One reason I studied companion animal behavior and learning, (and canine abnormal behavior modification), was to be able to sort trendy, well marketed information, from realistic everyday solutions with accurate information that applies to all dogs and all owners.

Your search is over. I can help.

The problem you new owners are facing is you don’t have time to sift through volumes of information. It’s tough to find dog-friendly, 21st century information from an expert . . . especially one who has the experience to back up his words.  I work with all kinds of animals: happy, exuberant, fearful, shy, aggressive, and compulsive.

As of December 10, 2009, I have helped 1621 pet owners. 25% of my clients have naughty dogs with aggressive, anxious and fearful behaviors. Veterinarians refer the new puppy and the crazy dog behavior cases to me, because I get good results. I get these results using kind, consistent, easily taught techniques. That number continues to rise, because this is my full time job.

I will give you the benefit of all my experience and education. When it comes to enjoyable, healthy relationships with our animal friends, there should be no secrets.

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Alan J Turner

How’s Bentley’s Gateway to Free Articles and Serives

Memphis TN


House Breaking or House Training? Let’s Call it Potty Area Conditioning

Potty pupContrary to popular beliefs, the process of house training is largely governed by a naturally occurring, classical conditioning process. I propose we assign a more accurate, 21st century, label for house training. Let’s name it “potty area conditioning”!

All of your actions will alter the natural process of “potty area conditioning”.

You may hasten the process, delay the process, or unknowingly teach (condition) your dog to eliminate inside.

TWO SIMPLE RULES:

Provide access to desirable area.

Prevent potty accidents inside.

If one always provides their dog the opportunity to eliminate in desired locations and never ever gives the pup access to eliminate in undesirable locations, potty area conditioning will occur without any other input from people.

The dog will associate the desirable areas with the internal relief gained by elimination. The dog will naturally seek out the desired location

.

The type of flooring or ground cover is an important dynamic for potty-area- conditioning.

Many people report their dogs often choose to eliminate on a specific types of ground coverings.  This is because a “conditioned” dog automatically seeks out the same type of area that he used most often in the past.

For example, if your pup is always led to a gravel parking lot, he will seek out gravel-like surfaces whenever he feels the pressures associated with the need to eliminate. If he is always led to grassy areas, he will develop a natural preference for grassy areas.

An unsupervised dog that eliminates inside your house will naturally form associations with that type of flooring. In addition, the dog will be attracted to use the same area because of the odors of the soiled areas. The dog will return there to eliminate next time he or she has a need to potty. Yikes!

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Happy Training!

Alan J Turner

21st Century Dogs

House Training Quick Start Guide

bucketwestie1

  • Manage the environment. Close doors, use crates, baby gates, tethers, et cetera.
  • Get a clean bill of health from a veterinarian.
  • The dog should be leashed, confined or supervised at all times while inside.
  • Anytime you cannot directly supervise your dog, use a crate or confinement area to keep your dog and your house safe.
  • If you will be gone for periods longer than the dog can wait, place newspaper (or house training pads) on the flooring of the area where your dog will be confined.
  • Introduce your dog to the concepts of confinement and alone time.
  • When you are inside and your dog is not confined, use a tether.
  • To use a tether, make a 6-9 foot lead you can attach to furniture or your waist.
  • Always provide your dog with adequate access to the “potty” area.
  • Feed your dog at the same times each day
  • Unless directed otherwise by a veterinarian, take up bowl and uneaten food after 15-20 minutes.
  • Keep a log of feeding and elimination until you learn your dog’s schedule.
  • Always attach a leash, go out with the dog, and lead him or her to the elimination area.
  • Wait patiently for 5-9 minutes. If the dog doesn’t eliminate, return inside, crate or confine the dog for 20 minutes and then try again.
  • Teach your dog cues for defecating and urinating on command.
  • Teach your dog that rewards are for eliminating outside.
  • Reward your dog for eliminating outside.
  • Teach your dog to ring a bell to signal desire to go outside.
  • Never scold or punish your dog for any “accidents”.
  • Clean soiled, inside areas, with cleaners containing pet odor neutralizers.
  • When your dog becomes more reliable, gradually grant supervised access to more areas of the house.

Alan J Turner, Companion Animal Behavior Counselor & Trainer – Canine Specialization

Private and Group Dog Training in Memphis, TN

Owner: How’s Bentley

Inappropriate Elimination Questionnaire- for Dogs that were Previously House Trained and Inside Elimination Represents a Change in Behavior

Maggie HoundSometimes I see clients whose dogs were previously house trained, but recently started eliminating inside. The causes can range from medical or dietary issues, attention seeking behaviors,  to anxiety and fearful behaviors. You’ll  need to determine the root cause before you can fix it.

Here is the inappropriate inside elimination questionnaire that I use for remote house training consultations. I use this form to determine the root cause.

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______________________________________________________________

Inappropriate Elimination Worksheet– for dogs that were previously house trained and inside elimination represents a change in behavior.

Have medical tests been conducted since the onset of the inappropriate elimination behavior(s) for the specific goal of identifying or ruling out a medical cause(s) for the behavior(s)? 

Yes No

How long has the problem behavior been occurring?

__________________________________________________________________________

How often does the behavior occur?

______________________________________________________________________________

Is the number of incidents increasing in frequency? Yes No

Behavior occurs only in the (visible) presence of persons yes no

Behavior occurs only in the absence of persons: yes no

Behavior occurs both in the presence of and in the absence of persons: yes no:

Were there changes in the external environment that coincided with the onset of elimination disorder? (i.e. new/remodeled home, moved furniture, installed fencing (including ‘invisible’ fencing), added room mate, schedule change, added pet, lost pet, lost room mate, etc.)

Yes No

If yes to above question, please explain.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Was there a change in dietary and elimination environment at or after the onset of the behavior? (type/brand/amounts of food recently changed, water consumption change, location of outside area used for elimination, willingness to go outside, etc.)  Yes No

If yes, please explain._______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Are there any other behavioral changes you have noticed at or after the onset of the problem elimination? (destructive behaviors, barking, mounting, object stealing, tail chasing, shadow stalking, storm phobia, firework or noise phobia, eating non-food items, etc.)  Yes No

If yes to the above question, please explain.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Does the problem behavior occur more often in any particular location(s)? Yes No

List area(s) of most recent problem elimination and flooring type. (i.e. inside crate in den, kitchen on tile floor, back bedroom on carpet, living room curtains on carpet, cabinet in kitchen on tile floor, etc.)

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Please check the type(s) of elimination occurring inside.  Urination Defecation

If defecation selected in previous question, circle the consistency of stool.

Hard Soft but firm Firm then partially liquid Diarrhea Variable

Will the dog readily walk outdoors for a walk, or to play?

Yes No

Will the dog readily eliminate outdoors –on or off lead -in the presence of traffic, strangers, other dogs, loud noises, in bad weather, rain, cold, or other distractions?

Yes No Maybe _________________________________________

Where does the dog eliminate outside? List area and ground type. (i.e. back patio on concrete, back yard-anywhere on grass, backyard in designated area on grass, backyard on grass or concrete, during walks on grass, during walks on street, etc.)

______________________________________________________________________________

Does the dog eliminate inside regardless of schedule of outside exercise/outings and may eliminate immediately after you return indoors?

Yes No

Does the quantity of inside-the-home excretions indicate full-fledged elimination?  Yes No

Are there numerous small amounts of urine deposited inside? Yes No

Please list any additional information you feel is relevant to the inside elimination problem behavior. Thank you.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Happy Training!
Alan J Turner – How’s Bentley Memphis

Submissive & Excitement Urination – Solutions

Corgi

Sometimes dogs seem to leak urine. I’ve noticed that it occurs more often during initial greetings. This can be caused by youth, a developmental problem, a medical condition, a behavioral issue or a combination of factors. It’s always possible that sudden urination is the result of both behavioral and non-behavioral causes.

Contributors such as underdeveloped organs, medications that facilitate poor bladder control, diseases, or failures of organs are examples of non-behavioral causes.

Before you can address involuntary urination from a behavioral point of view, it’s essential to ask your veterinarian to perform a thorough medical check-up to rule out non-behavioral reasons for the urination.

Once you’ve ruled out all non-behavioral causes, determine if the urination is submissive urination, or excitement urination, or both.

Observe your dog’s body language. Carefully notice ear, head, tail position, and overall body language at the instant of urination.

Common submissive behaviors include lowered ears, lowered head and body, and a tucked tail.

If the dog is not walking or running, (the instant urination begins), the urination is most likely to be submissive in nature. If the dog is standing,  sitting or lying, the urination is submissive. If the dog is in the process of sitting or lying, or rolling over, it’s submissive urination.

Take note of your interactions with the dog. If the dog urinates when you bend over or reach towards him or her, it’s submissive urination.

If the dog urinates when you interact via speech, touch or eye contact, it’s more likely to be submissive urination.

If the dog is not sitting or lying, and is not in the process of sitting or lying, AND you are not interacting with the dog, it is more likely to be excitement urination. If he or she eliminates while running to greet you, it is more likely to be excitement urination. If the dog urinates while zooming around the room, it’s excitement urination.

I’ve only met a few dogs that exhibited excitement urination. Most often, submissive urination is the diagnosis. In rare cases, it is a combination of both submissive and excitement urination.


Excitement Urination Solutions

Be sure to have your vet rule out medical causes if you have an older dog that exhibits excitement urination.

To reduce excitement urination, tone down your enthusiasm. Avoid games that involve excessive amounts of glee which encourage your dog to race around the room. More often than not, a pup with excitement urination will grow out of the behavior after he’s been with you a while. Some older dogs may always release urine

when encouraged to dash around the house.

Submissive Urination Solutions

Shy dogs are prone to exhibit submissive urination. Confident dogs are less likely to react with submission when people interact with them. Submissive urination is not a voluntary behavior; it is triggered by “scary” stimuli and is more of a fear response. After the family learns a bit about the causes and changes their behaviors, and the dog matures and gains confidence, it usually subsides. Here are some short term and long term suggestions.


Short Term Solutions

Make your approaches less intimidating. During initial greetings, turn sideways. Avoid bending over to greet the dog. Don’t reach to pat the dog, especially on top of the head. Don’t initially speak to the dog, and don’t make eye contact.

After a few minutes, greet the dog in a calm, non-threatening manner. Touching a dog on the chest or belly so that your arm or hand does not loom over the dog’s head or body is usually perceived as less threatening. Patting a dog’s hips, back or sides, and scratching behind the ears, are less threatening when you are beside and slightly behind the dog as opposed to positioning yourself directly in front.

Never fuss at a dog or console the dog for submissive urination. Act as if it did not happen.

If you expect guests, take your pup outside on a leash for the initial greeting. This won’t solve the problem, but it will make cleanup unnecessary!

If your dog jumps up on guests and then releases urine when the guests reach to pet him or her, your goal is to teach your dog how to greet politely.

If the dog eliminates when released from a crate, place the crate near an outside exit into a fenced area. Before you open the crate, open the outside door. Then open the crate door, and without saying anything, step outside and call the dog or toss a toy outside. If your dog is small and is confined in an airline carrier, pick up the carrier and take it outside before you open the carrier door and walk away.

Teach the dog to perform an alternate, confident behavior that will focus attention on something other than the approach of people. Ask for this alternate behavior when you or others approach. Fetch, chase the ball, or “parade with toy in mouth” are good choices for alternate behaviors.

During this treatment period, always greet the dog with a couple of toys in hand. Place them outside the door in the garage or utility room. During the greeting (before the dog reaches you), toss a ball for him or her to chase/retrieve. This will physically orient the dog away from you and focus his or her attention on a task that is incompatible with submissive greetings.

Instead of using toys, you could toss a few tasty food treats on the floor. Toss them in an area behind or to the side of the dog. This focuses the dog’s attention away from you. Walk back out the door while the dog is eating the treats. Repeat this sequence two times whenever you arrive home. After your second entrance, toss the treats and walk into another room and be seated. Wait for the dog to approach you. You may speak softly to the dog, but do not reach out to touch the dog. Wait a couple of minutes before you start interacting.

After a few of these sessions, your dog will begin to associate your arrival with food treats. The involuntary submissive responses to the stimulus of approaching humans will be replaced with the involuntary response of salivation. Your approach will trigger a “Oh goodie, here come the treats!” response.

Long Term Solutions

Your methods of interacting throughout the day shape the relationship with your puppy. Following these guidelines will usually reduce submissive urination due to behavioral causes.

  • Do not scold your pup or use body language which triggers submissive urination.
  • Never scold any dog for any house training mistakes, much less for submissive urination.
  • Do not coddle or tell your submissive dog, “it’s ok”. Just ignore the behavior and try to engage the dog in a confident task.
  • Never reach down and touch any dog that is jumping up to greet you.
  • Careful socialization in safe environments during the critical period of socialization (3-12 weeks) may lower the risk of submissive urination.
  • Meet the dog’s physical, social and emotional needs.
  • Treating other fearful behaviors may reduce the instances of submissive urination.
  • Soften your voice when giving commands.
  • If your primary choice for teaching involves leash jerks, shouting ‘no”, corrections with a training collar, et cetera, discontinue these corrections-based teaching methods.
  • Start a training program based on consistency, a clear communication system and a reward system. In addition to basic obedience commands, teach your dog some tricks / skills / commands that will engage him or her to perform confident actions. I already mentioned fetch, chase the ball and parade with toy; spin and find the “xyz” are other examples of confident behaviors.
  • Touch or target training can increase a dogs’ confidence. Teach your dog to touch your two-finger target for a treat. After confidence builds, introduce “shake” or “high five”.
  • Enrich your dog’s environment.  Scatter feed. Toss kibble on the patio or on the kitchen floor. Encourage your dog to hunt for each piece.
  • Each person in the household should teach and exercise the dog.
  • Review the quality of your dog’s diet.
  • Begin a massage program.

If your dog continues to leak urine, ask your veterinarian for the name of a trainer or visit http://apdt.com and search for a trainer in your area.

Doggie Poop, Pee on Command!

Duchess_IskiswitzWhen it’s cold outside, when traveling, or anytime you are about to leave the house, it’s wonderful when your dog will eliminate or potty on command.

It’s easy to teach your dog two different commands or cues, one for urination and one for defecation.

It helps if you are already familiar with your pup’s potty signature. Observe your pup closely so you’ll recognize when he is about to eliminate and you will recognize if he is going to urinate or defecate.

Choose three words or phrases– one for the act of moving to the bathroom area, another for urination, and a third command  for defecation.

I use “let’s go potty”, “pee“, and ”poop”. Choose phrases or words that suit you and your family.

Label Each Behavior

First, teach your dog the phrase for moving towards the bathroom area.  Before you go out the door with your pup, say “Let’s go potty”. When you are leading your dog to your preferred area, again say, “Let’s go potty”. This works best if you refrain from adding other comments. Just speak the three words, “let’s go potty”.

Many people repeat phrases over and over as they are walking around with their pup. It’s not helpful to repeat your commands over and over, two times is enough.

Watch your pup closely for signs of pre-elimination. When he is committed to the act, tell him what he’s doing.

For example, suppose your pup is sniffing, circling and is about to squat and urinate. Softly say “Piddle”. After he urinates, say “that’s piddle”, and immediately deliver the after-elimination rewards (treat and praise).  Play a quick game of ball or act silly and let your pup chase you.

Repeat the sequence for defecation; just replace “piddle” with your word for defecation.

Label the behaviors for the next day or so.

I’ve found that 4-6 instances of labeling are enough to teach most dog the names of the acts.

Teach your pup that good things happen immediately after he eliminates outside. Praise him; give him a special treat and initiate a game of fetch or chase – immediately after he eliminates. For now, deliver all food treats outside, at the elimination area, right after you praise your pup for eliminating outside.

After potty area conditioning occurs, delivering treats (as well as the timing of the delivery) won’t be important. You can give your dog a treat outside, after he comes inside – or not.

Cue the Behaviors

After a day or so of labeling each of the behaviors, you can transform the labels into commands or cues.

Perform these steps when you know your dog needs to eliminate. The first trip of the day is usually a good time.

Before you open the door, say “Let’s go potty”.  Lead your dog out to the area. Say “Piddle” and wait. Do not repeat the command. After your dog urinates, throw a party! Play a game. Toss your dog a treat. The idea is to teach your dog that fun stuff happens after elimination!

If your dog doesn’t urinate when you give the cue, don’t repeat the command. His hearing is better than yours!  He heard it; he just hasn’t caught on yet. Repeating the cue is not helpful. Just back up in this program and repeat the labeling sequences.

Once your dog learns the labels, he will eliminate on cue.

Most dogs always have a bit of urine in their bladders, so urinating on cue usually happens right away. Teaching your dog the cue for defecation requires a bit more planning. You’ll want to deliver that cue only when it’s time for your dog to have a bowel movement! Refer to your log and only deliver the cue for defecation when your dog is due a bowel movement.

Happy Training!
Alan J Turner – How’s Bentley Memphis

Teach Your Dog to Ring a Bell – for Potty Signal

RingBellMost people state they want their dogs to bark to signal the nedd to go outside to potty. I suggest teaching the dog to ring a bell instead of teaching the dog to bark. The dog will inevitably signal when she doesn’t need to use the bathroom but she does want you to interact. If you teach her to bark at you, she will learn to bark at you for attention.

If you teach her to ring a bell, you can always take the bell off the doorknob. In addition, you can take the bell to a hotel room, a friend’s house, the basement, or anywhere you want.

I suggest placing a bell on a string and hanging the string on the doorknob, but you can always hang the bell on your easy chair, kitchen island, bed post, or anywhere you like. Hobby and craft supply stores carry the ball-like bells in several sizes. String two or three on a leather string for a full sound!

Some people use a wireless doorbell and teach the dog to push the button with her paw or nose. This allows them to place the ringer near to them, when the door and the dog may be rooms away. This requires a bit more training to teach the dog to bump the button hard enough to ring the wireless bell.

Method two is best if you want to use a wireless doorbell.

It doesn’t matter where you place the bell or if you use a wireless doorbell. The concepts for teaching are the same. Just adapt these instructions for your situation. There are several ways to teach your dog to bump a bell to signal a desire to go out. I’ll list two of them here.

Method One is simple to follow but may take some dogs longer to learn.

Method Two takes more time and thought and effort, but works with all dogs and is best if you want to use a wireless doorbell. You decide which Method is best for you!

Method One

Hang a bell on the door that Caroline exits to go potty. Leave the bell on the door from this point forward. Before you ever touch the doorknob, reach down and bump the bell with your hand.

Always bump the bell with your hand, and then open the door. Do this for several days.

If she sniffs or noses the bell, make a fuss as you praise her and then open the door. If you want, you can speed up the process by placing a teeny tiny bit of peanut butter on the bell. When she sniffs or licks it, praise her, open the door and walk her to the elimination area. Give the command to potty. After she eliminates, give her a treat, play with her, toss a ball, take a walk, et cetera.

Once she learns that interacting with the

bell makes you open the door, you can teach her to bump it with her nose. Just ignore her when she sniffs or licks and she will “sniff harder”. Wait until she bumps the bell just a bit harder.

There are many variations for Method One.

Some people gently take the dog’s paw and strike the bell before they go out.

If your dog knows how to shake, you can cup the bell in your hand to get your dog accustomed to pawing the bell. Experiment with variations and see which works best for your pup!

Method Two

This is the method you can use to teach your dog to bump a doorbell button or a bell hanging from the door. Just adapt the instructions to your situation.

Some dogs and some trainers might skip a step or perform additional steps. Use this outline as a guide to develop your own program.

After step 1, perform each step in very short sessions over the next few days.

Do not move on to the next step until you are sure that Caroline knows the current step.

If Caroline seems confused, go back to the last step that she understands and work from that point forward.

Teach Caroline:

1. a signal that will communicate success and motivate her

2. to bump the bell

3. to bump the bell when it is

hanging on the door

4. to bump the bell and then step

outside

5. to bump the bell, step outside

and walk to the elimination area

6. to bump the bell, step outside,

walk to the elimination area and

eliminate

Before you can teach any animal, you must be able to communicate what you want and you must be able to motivate the animal to want the same thing.

At the very least, you should be able to tell the animal the instant he or she has succeeded. Some people use a clicker to communicate the instant of success, but you don’t need a clicker to communicate.

You can pair any unique word or sound with treats and create your own unique signal. It is best if the word is not a common word; it should stand out as a unique signal. Initially, you’ll pair the signal or marker with food treats so the dog will be motivated to perform behaviors that cause you to deliver the signal. I use the word “kick” for the signal.

Step 1

Teach Caroline a signal that will communicate success and motivate her.

Say “kick”, and say it quick, like a sound instead of the actual word. Immediately toss Caroline a soft and tasty, bite-sized treat. Repeat ‘kick and treat’, 3-8 times. By now the sound should be conditioned and you should have her attention.

To test the signal, wait until Caroline is not looking at you but is close by. Say “kick” one time. She should turn her head towards you really fast. If not, just stop the exercise and start from the beginning at another time.

Say nothing else during this exercise.

The “kick sound” must precede the treat, so be sure and wait a second before you toss the treat. Once you have conditioned “kick”, you have a great tool to tell Caroline the instant she creates wanted behaviors.

You’ll mark the instant of success with the word “kick” and follow the ‘kick’ with good stuff, like a treat, toss of a ball, verbal praise or a quick pat.

Once kick is conditioned, you don’t need to repeat this step and you don’t need to deliver the treat immediately after the kick (marker). You can deliver the treat or good stuff several seconds after the marker.

Step 2

Teach Caroline to touch a bell hanging on a string in your hand.

Hold the string so the bell is at Caroline’s nose height, an inch away from her nose. Say nothing. Wait until Caroline sniffs the bell with her nose.

The instant her nose touches the bell, say kick and then immediately deliver a food

treat.

Perform this step several times, but hold the bell just a bit farther and farther away from her nose each time. Say kick the instant she touches it and then give her a food treat. Practice 5-8 times and then place the bell in a drawer or out of sight.

Hold a few sessions just like the first one until Caroline becomes excited when she sees you get the bell out of the drawer. Go to step 3 after Caroline will readily bump the bell whenever she has the opportunity.

Step 3

Teach Caroline to touch the bell when it’s hanging on the doorknob.

Hang the string on the doorknob so that the bell is at Caroline’s nose height. Sit or stand next to the bell. When she touches the bell on a string attached to your doorknob, say kick and then immediately deliver a tasty treat. Repeat 5-8 times per session. After each session, place the bell in a drawer or out of sight.

Step 4

Teach Caroline that the treat after the “kick” is delivered right outside the door.

When she touches the bell on a string attached to your doorknob, say kick, open the door; walk outside and then deliver the treat right outside the door. Repeat 5-8 times per session.

After each session, place the bell in a drawer or out of sight.

Step 5

Teach Caroline that the treat after the “kick” is delivered after she walks to the elimination area.

Same as step 4 but walk to the elimination area (she will probably follow you) and deliver the treat there. Repeat 5-8 times per session. After each session, place the bell in a drawer or out of sight.

Step 6

Teach Caroline that the treat after the “kick” is delivered outside at the elimination area after she eliminates.

Introduce this step when you know she needs to eliminate, such as her first outing in the morning.

Same as Step 6 but once you arrive at the elimination area, give her your command for potty and then give her a treat after she eliminates. Practice this step the next few mornings – and any other times throughout the day that you know Caroline needs to eliminate.

After a few days of practicing step 6, you can drop the word “kick” and the food treat from the sequence. Instead of a food treat, praise her, play fetch, or take her on a walk. Now, you can leave the bell on the doorknob.

When she rings the bell, say something like, “Ok, you need to potty?” and walk her outside to the elimination area. Give her the cue to eliminate.

After she eliminates, deliver something good. Toss a ball or take her for a walk in the neighborhood.

At his point, it’s important to always open the door and go out to the elimination area every time she bumps the bell. If she eliminates, then give her a treat. If she doesn’t eliminate after you’ve given the command, just go back inside. You can leave her out of not, depending on how you feel about your dog being in the yard alone.

After a few days, you can stop walking

all the way to the elimination area and

stop giving her the command to eliminate.

Just open the door and walk halfway to the area. If she eliminates, perfect, give her a reward!

Over the next few days, reduce the amount of steps you take towards the elimination area.

In about a week, you should be able to wait at the door while Caroline goes out to eliminate.

It’s okay to give her a treat after she returns, for now she knows the treat is for eliminating, not for returning.

Some dogs learn to ring the bell to get you to interact, but they don’t need to eliminate. Keep a log of feeding and elimination. This will help you recognize the times she needs to go outside. If Caroline bumps the bell when she does not have to eliminate, she is telling you that she wants more mental and physical stimulation. Consider taking her for a walk or holding a short training session to stimulate her!

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Happy Training!

Alan J Turner

Companion Animal Behavior Counselor – Canine Specialization

How’s Bentley Memphis TN

Private and Group Puppy Obedience Courses


Why Use a Crate? Puppy Confinement & Crate Training Overview

Bichon1Dogs are den animals and contrary to misconceptions, (when introduced and used properly), dogs will readily enter their crates and relax, regardless of the level of activity near the crate.

Dogs should never be crated or left unsupervised while fitted with any types of harnesses or collars, except a break-away collar.

Please fit your dog with a break-away collar for any events or activities that do not include direct supervision by a responsible adult.

Here are some examples of why and when to use a crate.  Use a crate:

  • for house training
  • to protect your property
  • to keep your dog safe
  • when traveling
  • for overnight outings
  • to rotate two dogs while training
  • for stays at vet clinics, groomers
  • to provide a den or safe spot for resting
  • to restrict dogs’ access to visitors
  • to limit activity during medical recovery periods
  • to give yourself a break

Confinement Overview

During my consultations with clients, I meet people who use laundry rooms, garages or back porches instead of crates. Some in this group report that their dogs constantly bark or whine. What they don’t realize is that dogs, like humans, are social mammals.

Most dogs want to be near us! A simple solution is to kindly introduce the dog to a crate and place the crate in a room with people. This often solves the barking problem.

Opposition to the proper use of crates is more often a reflection of how we feel about confinement (as humans).

Millions of dogs live full, happy lives with a crate as part of their daily routines.

If you are opposed to crating your unsupervised dog, use other, less effective, confinement tools such as laundry rooms, baby gates and exercise pens.

If you don’t use any barriers, expect problems with house training. Expect soiled carpets and destruction of your property.

Many people only confine their dogs when they are away or at night. Pups and dogs normally relax when away from their people in these low activity situations.

These same dogs may bark and whine if confined when their people are home and moving about.

This is because the dogs were not introduced to the concept of being confined when people are home and active. More than likely the dogs were placed in the crate immediately before the people left the house or went to bed.

A crate trained dog:

  • will not eliminate in the crate
  • readily enters the crate when asked
  • relaxes in the crate when alone in the home
  • relaxes in the crate when people are home and active
  • relaxes in the crate when other animals are not crated

Potty Accidents Inside? Don’t Kick the Dog! Clean Up and Smile!

Yellow Lab MixI promote no suggestions to interrupt a dog during elimination. Instead, focus on preventing accidents. Keep a log. Watch your pup closely. Observe your dog’s behavior when he eliminates outside so you will recognize signs of “hunting for a location” like sniffing, and circling.

When you notice any pre-elimination behaviors while you are inside, tell your pup, “let’s go potty”, pick up your puppy and carry him outside to the desired location.

I know some very reliable sources instruct owners to kindly interrupt their untrained puppy (if they catch him in the act) and then take him outside.

The suggestions include actions such as softly clapping your hands, saying “ehh ehh”, shaking a can with pennies, or even tossing a magazine or keys on the floor beside the pup. I don’t like any of these suggestions. Some pups are confident and others are shy and some are in-between. The same interrupter will be received differently by each pup.

If the interrupter you choose terrifies your pup, you might as well have kicked your dog.

If your pup is confident and playful, he might respond to interrupters as Bentley did –gleeful fleeing while peeing!  Yikes!

Another point to consider is this. If people are instructed to use some sort of mild interrupter to reduce behaviors, what will their next choice be when the interrupter fails to reduce the behavior?  I know what their choice will be because I am no different. My next choice would be stronger interrupters – which will certainly hamper the house training process.


I’m not sure why professionals who suggest interrupting don’t clarify their suggestions with this statement:

“Interrupters will not hasten the house training process. At best, interrupters will stop the dog in the act and you’ll have a smaller area to clean. At worst, interrupters will teach your dog to fear you and to hide from you when he eliminates”.

Clean Up

Expect accidents. No matter how careful you are, there will be occasions when your pup piddles and poops on your floor. It’s nobody’s fault. It happens. The damage is done.

Try not to fuss at your spouse or your kids, yourself or your pup. Just remember, if it happens frequently, you should review this guide and make changes that will reduce your pup’s opportunities to eliminate inside.

Clean the affected area with an enzyme-based, odor neutralizer.

Any commercial product that specifically states “For Pet Odors” is sufficient.

It takes several days for the enzymes to break down the odors. Your dog will smell the urine and be attracted to the area long after you apply cleaners.

Whenever liquids are spilled on carpet, the carpet pad acts as a sponge and soaks up the liquid.

The urine is spread over a larger area in the pad than is indicated by looking at the carpet.

Generously apply the cleanser to an area equal to twice the size of the observable stain.

If you have “pet proof” padding installed under your carpet, the affected area underneath the carpet will be even larger. Pet proof padding has a plastic coating on top to prevent liquids from seeping into the pad. This causes the urine to spread underneath the carpet until it is absorbed by the carpet backing, instead of the pad.  Treat a much larger area than is indicated by the wetness of the carpet fibers.

If you don’t have any cleanser, use a solution of 1 part distilled, white vinegar to 4 parts water. Do not use ammonia based cleaners. Ammonia breaks down into urea, which is a component of urine.

Do not use any cleaners that are not specifically marketed to neutralize odors. Non specific cleaners will set the stain and the smell.

Before you hire a carpet cleaning service, verify that they use an odor neutralizer with enzymes.

If the smell is set into the flooring, your dog will always be drawn to eliminate in that area. It’s impossible to remove urine odors from concrete and other non-sealed, porous flooring materials. If you have any permanently-soiled areas, you may need to deny your dog unsupervised access to that area forever.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – How’s Bentley – Memphis

Companion Animal Behavior Counselor – Canine Specialization