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  • Paw Pack Dog Training

Potty Training Problem

My dog runs outside, sniffs, doesn’t potty, comes back inside and pees/poops in the house. Argh! $#%&@ ^*#%@

Does this scenario sound familiar to you? You're not alone! This is one of the most common problems when potty training a dog. Here’s one likely reason for the problem and how to fix it.

Often, when folks potty train their dog, they reward their dog after he potties and comes back inside. Because there’s a rather long delay between the dog pottying outside and the reward, the dog does not associate the reward with the act of pottying outside. Instead, he associates the reward with coming back into the house. In effect, folks train the dog to run outside and run back inside.

When we are training a dog we want to reward him for a behavior (potty, sit, down, etc.) the moment the dog does the behavior. Reward based training works because the reward is closely tied to the behavior. The longer the delay between the behavior and the reward, the less likely the dog associates the reward with the behavior. Think of the idea of:

  1. See – see your dog doing the behavior you want

  2. Snap – take a mental snapshot of him and say your marker word

  3. Pay – reward (pay him his paycheck) at that moment

The moment you see your dog doing what you want him to do, in this case pottying; snap a mental picture of him. Literally, think of taking a picture at that exact moment and say your “marker” word.

Your marker word is the word you use anytime you see your dog doing a behavior you want. Some people use a small clicker to make a distinct sound. Whether you use a clicker or a marker word – be sure you use the same thing every time. Using this marker consistently lets your dog know that the exact behavior he’s doing is what you want. Right after you say your marker word, reward (pay) your dog. The two keys are:

1. Always have treats with you when you take your dog out to potty.The easiest way to ensure that you have treats is to keep a small plastic container or a baggie of treats right at the door you use.When you go outside, grab a few and put them in your pocket.Don’t show your dog the treats.

2. As soon as your dog potties (pees or poops), use your marker word, and pay your dog immediately.Be sure to mark and pay for pee and poop.Don’t only mark/pay for doing both.Each one gets a reward.

Potty training doesn’t have to be painful. Be sure to See him potty… Snap the picture and use your marker word or clicker…. Pay your dog right then and there.

There are other aspects to potty training, I just wanted to cover this one problem area because of how popular it is. Whether you have a puppy, a new adult dog, or a rescue, be sure to See… Snap… and Pay. You and your dog (and your flooring!) will be all the happier for it!

If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact Paw Pack for your potty training problems. I’m happy to help!

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