House Training Tips and Tricks

The task is to ensure that the puppy understands that it pays off to eliminate outside.  They need repeated positive input that they’ve guessed correctly. 

To effectively housetrain, new puppies need to be taken outdoors during the day and evening about every hour. They need to be taken out after they’ve eaten, after a nap, and after bouts of high activity, and after training. Every successful elimination warrants a Good Puppy and a treat from your pocket. Take every opportunity you can to provide him with the information that it is a very good plan to eliminate outdoors.

In addition to the housetraining protocol is the appropriate use of a crate.  The rule of thumb is: “If you can’t supervise, you must confine.”   The space inside the crate should only be big enough for your puppy to move around easily and lay down comfortably.  Dogs have a natural aversion to eliminating in their sleeping quarters. 

Always be vigilant in watching your puppy for signals that he needs to eliminate.  He may abruptly stop what he’s doing and begin to intently sniff the floor.  That’s a good indicator. Another is circling and sniffing.  He also may disappear behind some furniture.  Some prefer privacy when eliminating. 

In a perfect world, your goal is to have an perfect reward history…the puppy never has a chance to eliminate indoors.  But we’re not perfect, just like our pups, so if you happen upon a spot that he has used recently….maybe 5 seconds ago, or 2 hours ago,  the ONLY thing you should do is clean it up.  Correcting the puppy late only teaches him that you’re unpredictable and occasionally scary.

Your job is to supervise him, anticipate when he needs to go, watch for the signs, and to praise him (with a treat and “Good Puppy”) when he gets it right. 

Happy Training!
Lynn Hyndman

You Should Know This by Now! The “Mystery” of Generalization

How many times have we looked at our dogs in frustration when we’ve asked for, what we consider, a task the dog knows quite well and yet there is a total failure? What the heck is going on?

It could be that the training has not actually hit the ‘critical mass’ mark because the issue of generalization has raised its ugly head. The fact of the matter is that dogs don’t generalize very well. They can’t easily take a new piece of information or skill and apply it to a new set of circumstances.

I can easily teach a young puppy to sit in the kitchen in a few minutes. But, even though I say and do exactly the same thing for the pup, a move to the dining room presents confusion on behalf of the pup. This confusion results in either frustration or disengagement by the puppy if I don’t quickly step in to help by starting over.

Here’s a great little list of the factors involved in generalization to emphasize all the different elements one must train before the behaviour/skill is learned. Each element is introduced at the lowest level of difficulty and gradually increased to the highest level.





Happy Training!

-Lynn Hyndman