Dog is frequently known as man’s best friend. However, you won’t find yourself on very friendly terms if you are having a hard time house training your dog. Mike Cruz, owner of The K9 Mentor, shares a simple method for house training your dog.
The K9 Mentor
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Mike Cruz is the owner of The K9 Mentor — Orange County’s first-rated dog-training program. Cruz has been training dogs for more than 35 years using a method that is so simple for dogs and humans to understand that it can be taught in only one private lesson. His method, which combines corrections that are natural to dogs and focuses heavily on praise, has been done by owners as young as five and as old as 90. Cruz has been fortunate enough to work with thousands of dogs of all ages, breeds and sizes, and is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers
If you see the dog going the bathroom in the wrong location, firmly say to the dog “no potty.” Then walk over to the dog, show him the potty (point his head at the potty but do NOT have him touch it) and firmly state “no potty” two times as he is looking at it.
Take your dog to the proper potty location
If you stop at the first step, you’ve just told the dog you do not like the potty, which will confuse him the next time he needs to go. So, immediately after correcting him in the first step, take him on a leash to the place he should’ve gone outside. Once there, calmly repeat “go potty” every several seconds for anywhere between 30 seconds and three minutes. If he starts to go potty, wait until he has finished and then give him lots of love and praise. The right way to do this is to say “good potty” in a calm, soothing, relaxed tone of voice as you slowly pet him. (Many people pet their dog too quickly as they praise him which can excite him and cause nervousness or other immediate bad behavior like jumping or getting overly excited). Keep your praise tone calm and soothing and your petting slow.
If your dog does not go potty, do not scold him, as not going the bathroom is not a crime and he should not be punished for it. However, since he didn’t go potty, don’t praise him either. Simply take him back inside and remove his leash.
Never let your dog see you clean up his mistakes
Never let your dog see you clean up something he should not have done. If you take him for a walk, it is OK to clean it up in front of him. However, if he goes in the house, never let him see you clean up the mess. Instead, lock him in another room while you clean it up and then release him once the mess is clean, the cleaners are put away, towels are thrown away and your hands are washed.
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Show your dog where potty is supposed to happen
If the indoor potty was poop, during the cleanup process, use a plastic bag or paper towel to move the poop outside to where it should’ve been. Place the poop in the correct location and throw away the bag. After you’ve cleaned up the mess inside, take your dog to the poop you just placed outside and give him lots of calm praise and approval next to the poop. He may not know how it got there, but he will see that it upsets you if there is poop inside, but thrills you if there is poop outside. Once he makes this connection, he will make an effort to please you by pooping outside where it belongs.
It is important that you do these steps even if you didn’t see the dog go potty. If you are of the frame of mind that “I can’t correct him because he won’t know why I am correcting him,” then what you are really saying to him is “you can do anything you want when I don’t see you doing it.” That’ll teach him to not go the bathroom in the house unless you are out of the room. Dogs are smart and have a memory so — with consistency — they will understand the message you are trying to give them.
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Gary Schwind is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. His work can be found on Examiner.com.