Toilet training

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Training should begin as soon as you bring your dog home.  But, remember just going to a new home can be very stressful in itself, so be patient with your new dog.

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Step number 1 is to watch your new dog closely and look for signs they need to relieve themselves.   Signs may include sniffing the ground, turning in circles and losing interest in what they were doing. This is your cue to take your dog outside or to their toileting place, armed with some tasty treats – just ensure it doesn’t turn into a game!

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Also, take your dog outdoors after every mealtime, play session and sleep and rest times, as this is when they’re most likely to need to toilet.

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When your dog is in the right spot, you can begin forming a word association with this behaviour by introducing a cue word such as “outside” or “toilet”.   Keep your cue words short, one word is excellent, two words OK just not great long sentences.  Once your dog learns this word means bathroom time, you can use it inside the house to tell your dog it’s time to go outside or to their toileting area.

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For any accidents (hopefully there won’t be many), put your dog’s nose near the spot and sternly say “No” then walk them outside or to their toileting area and use your cue word such as “outside”.  The problem is once they have marked a spot with their scent you need to remove that smell.  So remove your dog from the accident area and use an Enzymatic cleaner to remove the mess and smell.   While I encourage you to say “No” in a stern voice if you see them go or take them to the spot so they become aware your not pleased, never ever punish your dog for any accidents as this is counter productive to their training.

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If you stick to a strict routine, your dog will quickly learn to be clean in the house, the first step to being house trained. But don’t get complacent or your dog’s toilet training can lapse.  Let’s face it who wants to run outside in the rain when that nice & dry spot in your lounge room seems just fine? Continue with the training routine until you’re sure your dog knows not to go indoors and can wait to go outside (or to their toileting area in your house).  Gradually phase out the number of times you take your dog outdoors or to their spot to go to the toilet.  However, if there are any accidents just start increasing the number of visits outside again or to the area you want your dog to toilet.

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Sometimes, for a number of reasons, dogs that have been housetrained can forget their training or go backwards in the housetraining department. Reasons for this type of behaviour can include:
• A change in the environment – more rain than normal, making your dog more reluctant to go outdoors or you have closed off their access to outside
• Separation anxiety where your dog uses their scent to relieve their discomfort at being left alone without You
• Changes in the household – moving house, changes to or a new addition to the family (human or animal)
• Illness like a urinary tract infection or other health conditions, like senility.

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The first step is to rule out any physiological illness so a visit to the vet is recommended. Once a medical condition has been ruled out, you can begin retraining your dog just as you did when you first got your dog. Take your dog outdoors after every mealtime, play session and sleep and rest times, as this is when they’re most likely to need to toilet. Also remember to keep an eye on their body language to see when they may need to go out. Look for behaviour cues like sniffing the ground, turning in circles and losing interest in what they were doing. Always remember to praise them with your voice, and with treats, when they toilet in the right place.

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You can say “No” in a stern voice but never punish your dog if they’ve had an accident, as this may only encourage them to go behind your back – and if there is any anxiety already, the behaviour is actually likely to worsen.  Some dogs just take longer to learn, and some may revert back to house soiling on occasions throughout their lives. Remember how much you love them, how much joy they bring you and be patient and consistent and your dog will soon get back on track.

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*Enzymatic cleaners are powerful all-purpose cleaners that can be used safely on most surfaces, including metal and glass. These environmentally friendly cleaners contain enzymes and bacteria that digest organic matter, so they’re ideal for removing stains and odors caused by urine as well as blood, grass, sweat, and other biological materials.   Now, I’ve never actually tried this but I’ve read (http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Enzyme-Cleaner) you can make your own enzyme-style cleaner at home with a few simple ingredients, but the cleaner will need a couple of weeks to ferment before it’s ready to use.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (100 g) brown or white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (3 g) yeast
  • 4¼ cups (1 L) lukewarm water
  • 2 cups (300 g) fresh citrus peel

Go to (http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Enzyme-Cleaner) for the how to.

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