How to Potty Train a Dog With Positive Reinforcement
One iron rule of dog training will always serve you well: The
most effective way to train your dog is also the most pleasant
method for both of you. It’s called Positive Reinforcement.
Here’s how to potty train a dog using this method:
The key to the Positive Reinforcement method is the use of
praise, affection and rewards to give your dog a strong
incentive to behave appropriately. You want your puppy to be
eager to do the right thing, because she wants to be rewarded
For potty training this means praise, affection or rewarding
with a treat when your puppy goes where you want, and
withholding any reward or praise when the pup has an accident.
An incentive to get rewards and pleasure from doing well is
always more powerful than fear of punishment. This principle
works just as well on older dogs too.
Applying Positive Reinforcement
When your puppy successfully goes outside, or in the place
you've designated (such as on a mat), give her a healthy treat
and say "good dog" or some other words of praise. Overact a
little, and show real joy over it. If giving a treat is not
possible, then remember the importance of affectionate touch.
Rub your puppy's head or give her a good belly rub. Love your
puppy up enthusiastically when she does well.
When the little tyke has an accident, you deliberately
withhold affection and praise. Put the puppy in its kennel or
crate for awhile. Withhold any treats. Ignore the puppy no
matter how fervently she pleads for affection. Let the dog know
how disappointed you are.
Remember the Importance of Timing
Both your rewards and your denials must be immediate so that
the puppy always associates reward with the good behavior, and
denial of the things he or she wants with bad behavior.
Do not hit your dog with a rolled up newspaper or rub its
nose in urine or feces after you discover the waste. These forms
of “discipline” are actually Negative Reinforcement. Your puppy
usually cannot associate his mistake with your punishment,
because too much time has elapsed between the two. This confuses
your puppy and anxiety will make the whole experience of going
to the potty unpleasant. Consider the possibility that an
anxious dog may be more likely to have accidents.
You must reward and withhold rewards in the same way each
time. Use the same phrases in the same tone of voice in each
situation. Don’t be casual or slack off when praising or
rewarding, and don’t fail to withhold reward when it’s
You might try using a commercial spray to deposit dog urine
scent in the places you want your dog to go. Dogs think with
their noses - they select spots where they smell dog waste for
going to the potty.
Avoid using ammonia as a cleaner in your house, since dog
urine smells of ammonia. Use a cleaner specially designed to
eliminate odor when you clean up after your dog has an accident.
You can find these products in any good pet store.
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