Let’s get it out there – it’s potty time. They do it. We do it. A lot of creatures do it. If the idea of having to clean it up, even with great tools, seems like too much, you may want to prepare yourself because- it’s coming. There’s no avoiding that our animals friends will have to go, and regularly, but hopefully, with a little insight and understanding, setting up some guidelines for where they go can keep it from becoming a problem.
Getting Upwind of the Issue
It might seem obvious, but a lot of people don’t think about training their furry friends to confine their potty habits to a specific place – especially in the yard. They tend to wait until something they don’t like happens (like on the rug) and then scold the animal for the undesirable behavior. While this can work, it’s not only less effective than a proactive positive approach it can come with some nasty side effects. Like for example teaching the animal to be nervous, untrusting, and maybe even never feeling truly safe in their own home. Consider playing a game and never having been told the rules. You could learn as you go, but how fun would it be to blunder into avoidable mistakes you might have prevented had you only been better informed? Probably not very. Especially if you’re being yelled at by someone you look up to.
So how do you get proactive? Start by assigning an area for the dirty deed. Some people have indoor grass potties (almost like a doggy litter box) for their canines. Others pick a spot in the yard, or along their daily walks. (Don’t forget those clean up bags!) In addition to the obvious methods, there are also some truly wonderful products on the market that can make training a lot simpler and a great deal more effective at helping your dog understand what you would like them to learn. No matter your set up though, it’s important to start showing your dog straight away which is the appropriate potty spot. Reinforce the behavior by giving them more affection, extra play time, and/or treats whenever they use the designated puppy toilet and you’ll soon find that they get the idea.
The same concept can be applied to numerous other forms of training and with similar results. A lot of canines are especially easy to train because of their desire to be accepted in the pack. As pack leader, yup that’s you, they will often be looking to you to set the tone for proper behavior. That’s why it’s important to give them instructions that they can understand. Without them, you may wind up with one very confused pup which can lead to some very messy situations.
The Stink of Negativity
What doesn’t work very well is flipping out on your dog for going to the bathroom in the wrong spot. Sure, we don’t want that, it’s messy, smelly, and not at all ideal, but don’t forget that your dog only understands so much of what you’re communicating and the message could effectively translate to: I’m mad at you because you went potty. That’s a problem. How would you feel if sometimes when you needed to go someone yelled at you? And you’re not even sure why. Talk about a nervous bladder!
Negative reinforcement simply does not work as well as positive – it’s been proven over and over, even with us bipeds- and a much kinder, less threatening way to deal with the problem is simply reinforcing the good behavior which is much more desirable for all involved. Once again, picture yourself as the one in need of some bathroom time. Now consider being rewarded every time you used a specific toilet. How quickly would it become your go-to spot? Eventually you wouldn’t need to be rewarded every time because just on the off chance that you might get a goodie for simply doing your business in a specific location would be enough incentive to let’s say- give it a go? One last thing to keep in mind: When a full grown dog repeatedly goes to the bathroom in a location that isn’t on the preapproved list, it could be sign that something’s wrong. Anything from physical health issues to mental ones could prove to be the underlying cause and it’s important not to make things worse by punishing the animal for having a problem. Particularly one that could potentially be serious and require a veterinarian’s expertise. It’s not always easy. People get confused and frustrated just like their canine friends and the issue of how and when to discipline a pet is one that’s constantly argued over, but the trend is pretty clear: patience and communication go a long way while flared tempers do not. And don’t forget, if your canine buddy just isn’t getting the idea, or maybe they’ve forgotten – you can always get a pee-pad or maybe some doggy diapers. They even come in fun colors now.
© Paws and Claws Pet Supply Inc – Please Share our articles links, we appreciate your support. Unauthorized use of this material, including, screen shots, copy/paste of full or partial article content to any website without our written approval is strictly prohibited. We require a link back to our original content. Please contact us for approval or with any questions.