We asked you for some of your biggest doggy behavior problems, and you delivered! Then we presented those challenges to Gabriella Ravani, elite San Diego dog trainer, for her expert opinion. You can read about Gabriella in our first post of this series.
“The small one is sneaky, she doesn’t like to go potty outside when it’s cold or rainy… then she finds a tiny doggy hide’y place in the house when you lose attention for a moment and leaves presents…”
She’s just incompletely housebroken, not sneaky. First, consider where you want her to potty. If she hates the cold and rain, can you create a place outside that is covered or protected from the elements a little better? How about a corner of the garage with mulch or some other acceptable, easily cleaned or replaced surface? The more you can work with her sensitivities to lousy weather, the better the chance of success!
Then go back to the very basics. Treat her as if she was a 7 week old puppy. Take her outside frequently (every hour or so during the day, right before bedtime, and as soon as you wake up).
Stay outside her and praise her if she goes potty.
Learn her schedule for elimination. Keep a journal of trips outside and the results. This will help you to get to her “potty spot” at the right times.
Prevent mistakes by watching her carefully. This is probably where the problem originated, she may have been given way too much freedom too soon. When you cannot watch her, confine her to a small area (kitchen, exercise pen, crate).
Note: if confining the her to a small room, use an exercise pen or a baby gate. Closed doors are too isolating. Don’t forget to give her a few toys. We are confining her so he she cannot eliminate in inappropriate areas. We are not punishing her.
Make sure she is healthy. Parasites such as worms or other illnesses can make it impossible to housebreak her.
She’s just incompletely housebroken, not sneaky.
– Gabriella Ravani
Feed on a scheduled basis. No free feeding (just putting a pile of food in the bowl for the pup to nibble on all day). If you don’t know when it is going in, you won’t know when it will be coming out!
Even after you think she knows where to go to relieve herself, give her additional freedom very slowly (add one room or one half room at a time and supervise her carefully at first), and make sure that you have spent time in the new room with her playing, reading etc. so that she knows that this new room is “den” too. Also, be sure to “escort” her from the new areas to her potty area several times so you are sure she knows the way without a “detour” to a closer room.
Be patient!!! This will take a while but will be so worth it in the long run!
If you would like us to ask Gabriella a more detailed solution to this problem, as in what are some specific things you can try, please contact us via our contact form and we will be happy to dig deeper.
Photo: Amy Chin
Other articles in this series:
Introduction to our Dog Training Expert (Part 1 of 7)
Jumping Wheatens (Part 2 of 7)
Kid Hating Miniature Schnauzer (Part 3 of 7)
Getting My Two Dogs to Get Along (Part 4 of 7)
Prevent Dog from Barking When Home Alone (Part 5 of 7)
Dog is OCD for Tennis Balls (Part 6 of 7)