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Old 11-08-2008, 02:35 PM
Location: San Antonio
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We just got a 7 week old black lab/female.
Love her. But haven't a clue how to "potty train" her. Any tips from those who have done this before?
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Old 11-08-2008, 03:06 PM
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I used puppy training pads. They're pretty cheap and you can get at W-mart. I kept it simple. I kept my pup confined to my kitchen which has a vinyl floor and spread one training pad. When I saw him get ready to pee or poo I quickly picked him up and place in on the pad. After he went I praise him. He got the idea immediately. I have a small confined area on my porch, (cement), and I moved the training pad out there after a week or so. He made some mistakes but got the idea that the pad was outside now. The third week he asked to go out and does his business outside. I still praise him each time to goes. Fourth week and no mistakes.
IMPORTANT: Never hit your pup with anything. If you feel the need to use a newspaper, then use it on yourself. When your pup makes a mistake just clean it up and say and do nothing. You must catch your pup in the act to make the corrections. Dogs are in the here and now. Ten seconds after the act they have no idea what you are upset about.
There is lots on info for dog training on line.
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Old 11-08-2008, 04:07 PM
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You have a VERY young puppy! Like human babies, puppies don't have real control over the muscles holding the bladder and bowel closed for a few months. So don't expect too much too soon. And, until she's had her final Parvovirus vaccine, at the age of 16 weeks, walk her ONLY in your own yard, if you live in a house. If you live in an apartment, yes, use the pads. Then, after 16 weeks take a soiled pad down to the street with you to give her the idea.

What follows is my method to teach housetraining: it works IF you follow it to the letter. And and everyone in the house needs to, as well. You'll end up with a trained pup, but it's NOT right away! When she's about 7 months, that's about when her neurologic connections will really start to settle in and she'll have control over her bladder and bowel.

I also HIGHLY recommend reading Pat Miller's book, The Power of Positive Dog Training.
Here's the method:

Housetraining your dog (puppy or adult!)

The first thing you need to do is to remember that you’re trying to reinforce a new behavior. That means that the rewards for this behavior must be WONDERFUL. NOT crap from the store. Wonderful treats are poached chicken breast/turkey breast, cheese and steak. And you don’t have to use big pieces. Tiny pieces (about 3mm cubes) are just fine! I poach a whole turkey breast every few weeks, cut it into hunks when it’s cool enough to handle, wrap them well and store them in the freezer. When I need some, I’ll thaw a hunk overnight and cut off pieces and dice finely, storing them in a plastic bag in the fridge. One hunk will last about five days. Cheese is also popular, so variety is fine.

I carry these plastic bags in my jacket pockets in the winter and in a fanny pack in warmer weather. You HAVE to have these with you, or this method won’t work, because you need to reward as soon as the dog finishes pooping or peeing. It’s not going to work if the rewards are in the house.

Remember that you’re trying to change a very ingrained behavior. Some dogs like to feel certain things under their feet when they eliminate, like fabric, or newspaper. This is called a ‘substrate preference.’ What you’re trying to do is change this substrate preference, and to do that you have to make the treats SO wonderful that the dog will change this very well-entrenched behavior. Thus the chicken, cheese, steak.

I love clicker training, but this can be done without clickers. You just need a way to ‘mark’ the behavior you want to reinforce. Use the word ‘YESSSSS!!!!’ very enthusiastically – that works for some.

You’re going to need to GO OUTSIDE WITH your dog and the dog needs to be on a leash. Yes, even in winter. If you don’t reward IMMEDIATELY after the event (when dog immediately finishes pooping or peeing) and wait inside, the dog is going to be reinforced for coming inside, not for doing its business. So, leash up your dog. STAND IN ONE PLACE. Be boring. Bring a book or magazine for yourself.

Eventually, the dog will do what you’re waiting for. The NANOSECOND that the dog is finished, HAVE A PARTY – lots of loud, high-pitched praise, treats and running around. You want to make this memorable for your dog! You’ll find that once the first event is achieved, the others will come more quickly. Keep on treating (you don’t have to throw a party except for milestones – a milestone = if he only pooped outside but now peed, too, or something equivalent to that) until he’s good and used to peeing/pooping outside. Before you know it, you have a trained dog.

Regarding accidents in the house: NO SCOLDING. Just clean them up. If you scold you’ll get the dog to think it’s bad to pee or poop and he’ll do it in places you won’t see. Until you step in it. Invest in a big bottle of Nature’s Miracle or Simple Solution and use it liberally on accidents.

With young puppies, remember they have little control of the muscle that holds the bladder closed. This is something they grow into. Just as it’s not expected that a human baby is toilet trained at six months, don’t expect much from a puppy. Patience, patience, patience!!!! The nervous system in a puppy has to mature, and it won’t have much control over the sphincter (closing muscle) at the neck of the bladder until six or seven months. The same goes for the anal sphincter. Until control is achieved, both of these muscles operate on reflex: there are stretch receptors in the bladder wall. When the bladder is full, it sends impulses to the spinal cord and these, in turn, send signals to the sphincter to open and the dog pees.

In the stomach wall, there are also stretch receptors. So when the dog eats and the stomach is stretched, the impulses again go to the spinal cord, but this time the reflex, outgoing, nerve signals are sent to the anal sphincter, so the dog defecates. This operates in people, too – which is why some people rush to the ‘reading room’ after a meal – especially breakfast.
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Old 11-08-2008, 07:32 PM
Location: Maryland
1,667 posts, read 7,956,654 times
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When a dog makes a mess in an inappropriate place (i.e. the house), don't scare him with discipline. Remain stoic while he watches. Make him watch you pick it up, take it outside, and place it in a place where you want him to use (neighbor's yard is the best). When you place the pile in the prefered place, reward your dog. Make sure the pile never gets out of his sight. He will quickly see that putting it in the neighbor's yard is a good thing. Warning: Black Labs are not for the impatient. They are very anxious.
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Old 11-08-2008, 07:39 PM
Location: Kennewick, WA
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I crate trained both of my dogs and it worked fabulously. A crate is also a good idea if you can't watch a puppy a 100% of the time or if you have to leave them home for a bit to run errands. A dog will not go to the bathroom where they sleep. So, the crate should be big/small enough for them to stand up, turn around and lay down comfortably. For instance, you don't want to put a Jack Russel in a large crate because they will poo in one end and go sleep in the other. Kind of defeats the purpose. I have used crates for my dogs and my Aust Shep is now 4yrs old and he still prefers to sleep in it at night. It's like his security blanket. I let him sleep by my bed and in the middle of the night he'll wander downstairs and get in his crate. Good luck!
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