House soiling can be a huge challenge to deal with, and many owners feel at a total loss as to how to housetrain their puppies. After trying different approaches or making many common mistakes, patience starts running thin and despair often sets in.
I love to offer solutions, and worked very hard to ensure this book is packed with lots of practical ones. My main priority, in writing it, was to make sure it’s useful, simplistic and to the point.
The indications in this book will work for puppies, as well as for adult dogs with house soiling problems.
We often think puppies house soil, simply because they don’t know any better. But, house soiling can be caused by:
it may be a symptom of a behavior problem, such as separation distress, and
it may result from training mistakes.
In this book, I will discuss:
the most common physical causes of inappropriate elimination (or house soiling),
common behavioral causes,
times when your puppy is likely to need to urinate or defecate,
why eliminating is intrinsically reinforcing – in other words, a reward that happens inside the body,
management at home,
the training program itself, indoors with the aid of puppy training pads, and outdoors, and finally,
when and how to stop rewarding.
This book will be free from November the 6th to November the 10th!
Targeted Age Group:: 25 to 75
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I am a professional dog trainer, and have become well acquainted with the most frustrating situations dog owners experience with their puppies or adult dogs. This book is the first of a series of topic-specific books. Why begin with a book on housetraining? Because this is one of the biggest challenges puppy owners face, and I wanted to offer them an easy to implement, easy to understand step by step guide to help them along the way. I wrote the book as if I were talking to them face to face, and explaining the process in great detail.
Behavioral causes of house soiling
Once a physical cause of house soiling has been ruled out, you should consider a behavioral one. Similarly to physical causes, there are also quite a few behavioral issues that may contribute to house soiling problems.
Ineffective training program – A major one is an ineffective training program. If your training program isn’t up to par, you can be totally committed to house training your puppy and he still won’t get it right!
Ineffective training programs are the result of training mistakes. One of the biggest mistakes people make, is not taking their puppy outdoors or to the training pad when he’s likely to need to eliminate.
Try to anticipate an “accident” by guiding your puppy to the desired spot before and not after he voids in the wrong place. Taking him to the training pad and saying “You naughty puppy! This is where you’re supposed to go. Not on the rug!”, after he has emptied his bladder on the rug and no longer needs to relieve himself, won’t do much in the way of training.
Another common mistake is not having enough training pads available to your puppy. Think of your 2 and a half month old puppy, who doesn’t have much control over his bladder yet. He’s in the lounge playing with you, and the only training pad available is at the other end of the house. Even if he already knows or is beginning to understand that elimination must take place on the pad, he won’t have time to get there.
Besides not having enough training pads, placing training pads in the wrong spots won’t help much either. For example, most puppies avoid soiling their sleeping area, the vicinity of their water and food bowls, and areas where they play. Placing a pad right next to his bed is likely to result in the puppy avoiding using it.
We live in a society where punishment is normal and acceptable. We use it to raise and educate our children, so we assume it’s effective and will be just as effective with dogs. But the truth is, using punishment will, at best, stop your puppy from eliminating in some wrong spots. It won’t teach him to go to the training pad or ask to be let outside, and he will make many more mistakes, before getting it right. You may also believe a mixture of punishment and rewards works best. But when you punish a puppy, even if you catch him in the act of eliminating in the wrong place, you become associated with punishment too. As a result, your puppy may learn that weeing in front of you is “unsafe”.
In the long run, using punishment will slow down the house training process. Not rewarding your puppy is also ineffective because, as you’ll see later, urinating and defecating are intrinsically reinforcing – in other words, self-rewarding. Therefore, rewarding the puppy is what will motivate him to go to the toilet on the training pads and outdoors instead of going anywhere in the house.
Urine marking – obviously translates to inappropriate elimination, or house soiling. The difference between urine marking and house soiling is that urine marking is intentional. In other words, the puppy purposefully urinates – usually in small amounts – on an object or surface to leave his scent on it. House soiling, on the other hand, is accidental due to the puppy not knowing where to eliminate.
Although female dogs may urinate frequently to mark territory, or to let a male dog know they are in season and receptive, this behavior is more common in intact male dogs. And don’t kid yourself – some male puppies can start marking territory at about 4 months of age!
What happens is that if a male puppy isn’t properly house trained, he may urine-mark in the house once he enters the stage of territory marking. One way to differentiate urine marking from plain house soiling is that the pup is more likely to urinate on new objects – a new piece of furniture, for example, or a shopping bag left on the floor.
Another common behavioral cause of house soiling is submissive urination, which is totally different from excitatory urination, because it has nothing to do with excitement.
Submissive urination – is actually a behavior problem, not a house training one, which presents itself in the form of inappropriate urination. It is more likely to happen when the puppy feels threatened, and it is accompanied by a low body posture with flattened ears, and rolling over exposing the belly , while looking away.
The more assertive a person’s approach is, the more the puppy feels threatened and is likely to urinate.
Punishment must be avoided so that the puppy doesn’t start to submissively urinate in anticipation of being punished.
Excitatory elimination – on the other hand and as the name implies, is related to excitement. It is urination the puppy can’t control due to being overly excited, and occurs typically during greetings. So, if an excitable puppy is greeted with great enthusiasm, he is likely to pass urine without realizing he’s doing it, and without being able to control it. Often, the puppy doesn’t even squat. He urinates while jumping or standing.
Excitatory elimination tends to resolve itself once the puppy develops complete neuromuscular control, and is a bit more mature.
Please bear in mind that excitement or arousal isn’t always a positive thing, and that a puppy may also become excited if he’s punished without understanding why. Therefore, and similarly to submissive urination, punishment should be avoided.
Separation distress – is not a direct cause of house soiling. But what happens is that the dog or puppy experiences a lot of distress when alone, and this distress causes various physical responses including more frequent urination.
Urination typically occurs in small and scattered puddles, but may also be concentrated around points of entry such as doors.
Inappropriate elimination and the form it assumes should not be the only criterion for determining separation distress, because a puppy suffering from separation distress displays other behaviors too, such as howling and destruction, to name just a couple.
There are various problems related to badly timed punishment, but one of the main ones is anxiety. Badly timed punishment causes anxiety, because the puppy can’t link the punishment to his “misbehavior”, so to speak, therefore can’t predict the occurrence of punishment and, as a result, can’t do anything to avoid it. Consequently, as a result of the anxiety the puppy experiences, the body responds with increased urination.
Another major problem with badly timed punishment is that your puppy may learn to urinate or defecate in hidden spots or absorbent surfaces. In other words, he learns the only times he is safe is if there is no urine or feces in sight. So he tries to hide them. In extreme cases, he may start ingesting his own feces or urine, to ensure there’s no punishment coming his way.
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