I am so proud to be a part of the Veteran's Service Dog Training Program at Valley State Prison in Chowchilla. Last Friday I attended the graduation ceremony where the first batch of service dog candidates crossed the stage in a heart filled celebration. From here they will continue on to the public access training phase and then will be matched with veterans.
House training, also known as potty training, is the most important behavior for an indoor dog to learn. Inappropriate elimination is the leading cause of dogs being relinquished to a shelter. Here are the top tips on how to potty train your puppy from a certified professional dog trainer in Fresno, CA.
1. Prevent Accidents from Happening
Direct supervision is crucial. You can use your puppy's leash to tether him to you as a reminder to keep your eyes on him at all possible times. If you are not available to supervise with your full attention confine him to a small area or a crate.
2. Reward Elimination in the Correct Area
Accompany your puppy on a leash to your chosen elimination location. Use the same exit route from inside your home to the specific area of your yard. Do not look, talk or play with your puppy until he eliminates. Right after he goes you can offer praise, a treat and if in a secured area, you can offer play time off leash.
3. Anticipate When your Puppy Needs to Go
Keep your puppy's potty schedule consistent. Start an elimination, feeding and activity log in order to learn your puppy's routine. Initially, schedule repeated trips to the designated potty area. Don't forget to take additional potty breaks after activity changes such as: eating, sleeping, playing and training.
4. What to Do When Accidents Happen
Do not punish your dog when an accident happens. Screaming, swatting or forcing your dog's face in the offended area will teach him to be fearful of you and not to eliminate in front of you. Punishment never teaches your puppy where to go.
5. Clean Soiled Locations Thoroughly
Dogs will often be attracted to spots where they have previously eliminated so it is extremely important to thoroughly clean previously soiled areas with an enzymatic cleaner. After applying the cleaner, allow the area to dry and then apply a pine or citrus scented disinfectant. Avoid applying products containing ammonia, vinegar or bleach as these products can attract your puppy back to the area.