Resolution #3 – I will recognize the difference between furniture and fire hydrants.

Resolution #3 – I will tell the difference between the furniture and fire hydrants.

Haha – unless you have a dog that is not potty trained.  I’m not using the term ‘house-trained’ because I want your dog to potty ‘on demand’.

Let’s talk about potty training.  Whether you have a puppy or an older rescued dog who may have been an outside dog and never learned the rules the training is comparable.  Crate training is great and I highly recommend it, but if that is not an option you will first have to manage the environment.  That means keeping the dog confined to area until he is trained.  He cannot have the run of the house.  Rule of thumb:  a dog can “hold it” one hour for each month he is old plus one. Example – if you puppy is three months old he should be able to “hold it” for four hours.  Take him outside first thing in the morning and before you go to bed at night.  I suggest that in the earlier days of training, take the dog outside every two hours.  Please note, I did not suggest sending him outside every two hours.  I’m talking about putting him on a leash, taking him to the area where you want him to ‘go’.  Stand still, let him sniff around and when he goes, praise him (good potty), treat and then return inside.  No play, no excessive talking – just a trip outside to take care of business and then, back in the house.  Expect to spend about ten minutes with this exercise.  If it is unsuccessful, return to the house and repeat the exercise in thirty minutes.  If he makes a mistake, do nothing except clean it up.  Take him outside and go through the exercise.  Honestly, once you have 2 -3 successful sessions in a row you are making seriously good progress.  Consistency and patience are key.  Again, no yelling, no rolled up newspapers or rubbing his nose in it.  All of these tactics serve only to confuse and frustrate both the dog and you, and frankly, don’t work.  Remember, show the dog what you want, reinforce the behavior and the behavior will be repeated.  For those of you with your clicker handy, when the dog potties, click and treat.  Eventually, the dog will potty ‘on demand’!  I promise!

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