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Ask the Trainer: Potty Training

2-meyer-terahIf I could just get Meyer (my young terrier mix) potty trained… Two months of strict crate training (I started late, thinking she would learn from her brothers) and she is still having accidents and she knows it’s wrong because she goes in the crate right away after.

She gets rewarded when she goes outside & is in the crate overnight with no accidents. Perhaps she is stubborn but surely there is a way to correct this?

I will continue the crate training of course but if anyone has ideas/ tips, I’m open to suggestions. 

– Terah

Dog trainer Anthony says: The crate is simply a starting point. It is typically the first place that a puppy won’t mess in — because that’s where they eat, sleep, and consider their “living quarters.” The goal of housebreaking is to condition the dog over a period of time to see your entire apartment or house as where she “eats, sleeps, and lives.”

The way to do this is to gradually “wean” your dog out of her crate. Do this by attaching a modular metal or plastic “playpen” to Meyer’s crate, so that you can gradually start making her contained space bigger and bigger. Always take her straight from her contained space to outside. Then whenever indoors and not in that space she’s supervised (attach a light lead so you can rush her outside immediately), or you only leave her for very short periods of time after she’s just been to the bathroom. This way she only messes outside — the more she does that, the more she’ll want to, and the less she messes inside the less she’ll want to. Eventually, you can get rid of the crate/playpen entirely!

Additional tips:

  1. Feed her in particular trouble spots where she targets — e.g. near your bathroom is a common spot, and near the front door
  2. Play with her everywhere, get her to “eat sleep and live” in every corner

Calm Energy Dog Training teaches New York dog owners how to raise calm, peaceful dogs in the challenging city environment. Voted Best Dog Trainer, NY Mag’s Best Of New York 2013.


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