You And Your Puppy- Toilet Training – Part 11_11
Carolyn: Hi, Steph. It’s great to see Lizzie. How long have you had it?
Steph: Only actually about a week, Carolyn. But we’re okay, we’re getting it slowly but surely and I hoping you can help us out with a few bits and pieces.
Carolyn: I’m sure I can.
Steph: I’ve heard quite a few scary stories about how difficult it is to toilet train a puppy. Is that true?
Carolyn: No. It’s just people trying to scare you. One of the things that people don’t realize is that when puppies come to us they already come toilet trained, because their mum has already taught them. But what they don’t do is go to the toilet or where they sleep. So from being really, really tiny the mum will have pushed the puppy away from the sleeping area when they need to go to the toilet. So what you have to do is just carry on the work that mum has already started.
Steph: So how do I start?
Carolyn: Well, let’s look at through the nights first because that’s where people really, really get worried about it. And the secret is to restrict the area that your puppy has to sleep in. The very best way to do it is with an indoor crate, which is just nice and easy, you align it with some good quality vet bed and it’s a nice small space for it to sleep in.
Steph: Gosh, that sounds a little bit like a cage, I’d feel a bit mean putting her in there.
Carolyn: Now that’s just how you think about it. Think about it from her point of view, because she can see out and she can see out through the bars you’re restricting her sleeping area but she actually still feels that she’s part of your life. You just have to make sure that you introduce it really slowly to your puppy. So to start with just throw the old treat in there and let her go in of her accord or play with it with a toy in there. We could even feed her with her dinner in there so that she associates this as being a nice warm haven place for her to be. And then even when she falls asleep you can just pop her in. And then eventually she’ll be happy to go through the night sleeping in her crate because that’s her safe area.
Steph: So then what?
Carolyn: Well, make sure she goes out to go to the toilet before you go to bed, and make it lasting and quite late. So 11:30, 12:00 take her out and wait with her to make sure that she does actually go. And with all your toilet training when she does go you reward her. She has to know that when she goes to the toilet in the right place you are thrilled with her, so she always gets a little treat. So then you can bring her in, pop her into her crate and you’re ready to go to bed for the night.
Steph: Great. So that’s it till morning.
Carolyn: Sorry, no. You’re going to have to set your alarm for I guess about 3, 3:30 in the morning. Take her out. Give her a chance to have a pee and a poo if she wants one. Remember to reward her and remember, I don’t care if it’s raining or if it’s cold, you’re thrilled about it.
Steph: Oh, I can feel a few blurry eyed mornings coming on.
Carolyn: And a big coffee bill. But if you get it right from the very beginning you will be surprised how quickly it is that you can start setting your alarm for later and later and later until she’s going all the way through the night, as long as you still get up early, sort of 6, 6:30 just to get her straight back out again. You need to lessen all the chances of her making accidents so that you can reward her for doing the right thing. And you’ll be surprised how quickly she’ll learn.
Steph: Wow, okay. So what about the day time?
Carolyn: Well, that’s all about just watching your puppy and being vigilant. You’ll know when Lizzie’s going to want to go, because she’ll have her own tail-tail signs. Most puppies either sniff around a little bit or turn circles. You will just know. And there’s obvious times when she’s going to want to, so after she’s had a drink, after she’s had a meal, after she’s played a game, or if she’s been asleep when she wakes up she’ll want to go. So straight away you take her outside, you wait, as soon as she goes, again just reward her, make a huge fuss of her. And if you can’t watch her all the time then you can just pop her in the crate. And that’s the advantage of the crate, it’s portable, you can set one up whenever you want. So if you can’t keep an eye on her, pop her in the crate, and just remember to take her out every half hour or so and just rewarding every time she gets it right.
Steph: What if she has an accident?
Carolyn: Well, puppies do and that will happen from time to time. But first of all it’s our fault, it’s not hers. When puppies get it wrong it’s because we’ve just not watched them enough or we’ve not been paying attention or we’ve just not been quick enough at getting them outside. So clean up, don’t make anything of a fuss about it and just carry on as normal. But you use one of the cleaners that you can get from your vets because they’ll remove all the smell. If you use just household cleaner it just still smells like a toilet to a puppy’s sensitive nose and it will just encourage her to go there again.
Steph: If she has an accident should I tell her off?
Carolyn: No. Never punish a puppy for getting it wrong because it’s our fault and not hers. If you’re training her by rewarding her when she gets it right, and this is going to form the basis of all your reward base training that you’re going to do, she has to trust you.
Steph: Well, that’s certainly a lot to think about it, but I think with a little perseverance we’ll do it, won’t we, Lizzie?
Carolyn: You’ll be surprised at how easy you’re going to find it. And in a couple of weeks she’ll be perfect.
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