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Training Tips

Discipline Backfires Sometimes

December 8, 2017, 8:02 PM
Q: Good evening. I wanted to update you on how things are going and I have another question. First off regarding the potty training, we are working on “shunning” when there are accidents by using a leash and attaching to the table leg. With the help of our other dog,Gracie absolutely hates it. I think we have cut down on accidents but not eliminated them. I think we were doing really good when I was taking her out every 30-45 minutes when I’m home but since it has gotten colder and I have only been taking her out about every 60-120 minutes I have noticed she isn’t doing quite as good. At 7 months old, I know she can hold it longer than this. My thoughts are that taking her out more often than every 2 hours isn’t giving her the chance to learn that she needs to hold it. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on that. She uses the puppy pad when she is in her playpen when we are gone but doesn’t go in there to use it when we are home. Maybe I need to take away some of her freedom and make her stay in the pen more. Regarding the other question, since I have begun the shunning she seems afraid of me picking her up. She won’t come to me when I call and when I try to go to her to pick her up she runs away. This is very frustrating. I have not been mean or hit her or anything like that only loudly told her No, and that she was naughty when she has an accident. I have worked on calling her with a treat but it seems that unless she can see the treat in my hand she won’t come to me when called. How do we get over this? Thanks for all your help
A: Your observation is correct, she has to learn to postpone elimination. Even though the ability to “hold it” should be operable at 7 months it is still a learned skill. It takes practice to perfect it and there must be a reason to accomplish the goal. It sounds like the positive reinforcement is not enough or more likely your corrective measures are too weak. So far as her reluctance to come to you there again has to be a reason to change, the treat by itself seems not enough. You might try sitting down with treat in hand and or involving other family members who can pick her up to offer the treat and some enjoyable acitivity repeatedly so the positive interactions outnumber the negative ones.