I’ve had a couple of lessons with a very nice client who has, to say the least, more than a handful of small puppies in her house. You literally can’t count them all on one hand. Her biggest complaint was house soiling. Prior to my helping her, there had been no training and no structure for the puppies. They were allowed to roam anywhere they wanted, and they were also allowed to free feed – food was left down for them to eat whenever they wanted. So what she had was lots of peeing and pooping accidents everywhere. The puppies would sneak off to a quiet area and “do their business” where it was safe.
First thing we did was to end the free feeding. They were fed 3 times a day, the food was left down for 10 minutes and then picked up. She could then determine the exact amount of food eaten so she would know when it was potty time.
We also started adding structure. We set a 3 minute egg timer so we could begin short training sessions one dog at a time. We used their dog kibble for training treats BUT, we used a training treat with a much higher value to the dog for really good sits and downs. I reminded her, as I always do, that it is important to wean off food treats, as I explained in an earlier post.
The next thing we did was to confine the puppies to an “x’ pen when they absolutely could not be watched.
So what did all of this accomplish? Well, in 2 weeks her “puppy house soiling accidents” have decreased by 50%. We are headed for 100%.
The other thing we instituted is that now that the puppies knew “sit”, each puppy is required to give my client a sit before they get love and affection from her. It’s a dog way of saying “please”. Earning the love and affection helps the puppy understand who is in control and that love and affection and other rewards are not something they demand, but instead learn correct behavior to earn.
Everyone is a lot happier and a lot less stressed. So it was a good day!