Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Pee of 3 - AKA Teaching Potty on Command

The Pee of 3 is a catchy title, the three applies more to boy dogs than girl dogs, BUT it can hold true for girls too.  I have housebroken a LOT of foster dogs, a lot of my own dogs & even a friend's dog who had lived in a kennel run & just didn't give a $#&% where he went.  None of this is rocket science, it just requires some time, patience and persistence.  

If the dog is peeing super frequently or in their sleep, go to a VET first!  Make sure the dog doesn't have a urinary tract infection or incontinence issues, both issues need medication!   

1. Limit freedom - if you can't watch them, crate or barricade them.  ALL THE TIME.  Until they are reliably going outside.  Yes this is a pain, but it's temporary, and it's for a good reason.  The dogs typically learn that if they are caught going potty, they get in big trouble.  So they will get sneakier and sneakier about doing it out of your sight.  Some have been punished so much they won't go around a human at all!  Do NOT scold, punish, rub face in their accident etc.  This will make them MORE intent on doing it away from people.  If you catch them in the act pick them up or  interrupt them and get them IMMEDIATELY outside saying "Let's go outside" and then proceed with the steps below.  Some dogs may have an accident inside, get caught and not have finished the job.  Some may hear you coming & stop going, so you find 1 turd and then while you freak out about that turd, they aren't done & go again.  So leave the mess & rush them out make sure you give them an additional opportunity outside.  DO NOT SCOLD, PUNISH ETC when this happens, just calmly get them outside, then crate them again before you clean up.
2. Monitor intake - If you free feed, you are doomed.  I recommend feeding twice a day, at fairly consistent times.  Knowing that will create about 2 poops a day, and usually shortly after they eat.  If they are peeing inside, make sure that if they are doing things like tanking up on water after a play session that they get to go out again w/ no option to play.  This is a bigger problem with dogs who love to fetch, they play & play, then drink a ton inside and a few minutes later...PEE!  After you've gone back in & are convinced that the hour outside right before should have given them plenty of time to get the job done! 
3. Don't be lazy - go outside to potty with them EVERY TIME.  I say, "Let's go outside" and off we go.  Try to go to the same door each time.  The first thing they need to do is their business, not play, not run around, not goof around with housemates.  You may need to have them on leash, and stand a long time being super, super boring.  If you can't keep them from running around/outta your immediate observable area, leash them.  EVERY TIME.  If the dog is cautious about doing their biz with a human around, you might want a longer leash and to turn your back (pretend to ignore, watch outta the corner of your eye).  Couple this watching with a simple training exercise, grab a couple small cookies, and right when you see them squat or lift a leg to go, I say "go potty" (once), they finish and I immediately give a cookie & start praising them up like crazy, lots of "good potty" and give them a cookie.  Then I will go back to ignoring them and tell them "Go potty" again.  Yes, this means when it's snowing, cold, raining, hotter than hot, you go with them!
4. Pee of 3 - mostly for boys, but girls can do little pees/poops too.  So wait, wait, wait, again being BORING!  Boys - I make sure they pee 3 times before we are done.  Yes 3, they seem to have infinite reserves!  For girls I monitor based on the length of the pee, if they are do a short squat, then I'm going to wait for another one.  If the poop was a little turdlet, WAIT!  Once I feel they have REALLY emptied out, then we can commence play/take off the leash/go back inside etc.  I do not then let them run free, they will be again, monitored inside or crated.
5. Still don't be lazy - For dogs who are habitual inside pee/poopers & this indeed means every time, all weather, middle of the night, YOU go out there with them.  I will take them out every two hours at a minimum, puppies, it may even be more.  If they are with me and start losing interest, looking around, looking a bit frantic, then I'm going to take them outside immediately.  Typically I see results in a 1-2 weeks.  What I'm doing is putting potty on command, rewarding it OUTSIDE and only when they have JUST completed it, not when we go back in the house.  
6. Busy Dogs - I continue to monitor and gradually allow more freedoms once dogs GET the command and start immediately pottying outside when I give the command.  Busy dogs & puppies especially can forget, so make sure when it's potty time, it's the first thing they do.  It's easier once it is on command, to give the command, make sure they go sufficently, then commence play.  
7. Side Effect - This will create a dog who goes on command & keeps going.  I've trained countless, countless rescue dogs this way, two boys that were supposedly just "IMPOSSIBLE", one had lived in a kennel run for 6 months, then peed inside for another 6 months!  Both would pee multiple times, and even FAKE a leg lift if they had nothing left in the tank.  It also means who you have to stop along the road, in a rainstorm, at a creepy looking gas station, at 11pm, those dogs potty immediately!  Yeah.  I train ALL my personal dogs to do this from day one & it makes life soo much easier.  
8. Consistency - The more strictly you do this at the beginning the faster you will see progress.  I know it's a pain, but so is stepping in dog shit at 3 AM or frantically cleaning carpets right before your judgmental, dog hating, relative comes over.
9.  Why Not - Reward inside?  Because then the dog will be motivated to get back inside and many dogs will skip the potty part to get on it, or do a cursory potty attempt and rush back in, then piddle after.  You also loose the immediacy of the reward to the actual potty.  You wouldn't teach a dog to sit from 20 ft away or tell them sit & then jog 20 feet away to give them a'd give it in close proximity to when & wherever they were sitting!  
10. Kennel Run Raised/Pet Store/Piddle Pad trained dogs - They have no concerns about keeping their area clean.  So, you may need to take some of their poop/pee outside and create an area where they "do their biz".  Then leash them & take them there.  If they are always going on a piddle pad, you may need to take that outside at first, then take them to the area & eventually you can stop that.  Yes, I have literally taken a pee soaked paper towel outside and rubbed it on the ground or carried a poop outside and planted it in the "potty area".  C'mon where do dogs go...where everyone else goes!  I will also not allow any material in their crate, no pads, newspapers, no towels, nothing, so they can't piddle and wad it up away from themselves.  Yes, this sucks, but it tends to be temporary. So suck it up buttercup & give lots of baths, keep that crate spotless.  Puppymill dogs...yeah, I'm sorry, that can be another issue entirely.

Submissive Peeing
This is not about potty training.  Submissive peeing is just that.  If your dog submissive pees, they are trying to appease the great and mighty human or just overjoyed to see you or both.  If you were another dog you would appreciate that a whole lot more!  Shy/soft dogs tend to do this more than bold/pushy ones.  The best thing to do is to be very calm when greeting them, don't fuss over them, don't loom over them, don't gush effusively.  If you want to greet them crouch, turn sideways, and let them come up to you, don't go to them.  Speak quietly to them.  Most dogs will grow out of it if they are doing it as puppies, but they may still do it if they think they are in trouble as adults.  The best course is to ignore the dog when they are super excited and pay attention to them when they are calmed down.  Don't make a big deal about the piddle, just ignore the dogs's wiggling and appeasing gestures, clean it up & move on with your life.  If you yell at the dog or punish it, they will very likely pee more!  You can try to have greetings or exciting wiggle times on hard surfaces or outside.  Or if they do it coming out of a crate, quietly release them & walk away or quickly leash them and take them outside before greeting them.