On Saturday morning, an article surfaced about a guy caught on a building’s security system punishing a dog/puppy for peeing on a rug.  It seems there are a lot of people who have trouble with potty training, and of course, an abusive method is, first of all abusive, and secondly, tends to backfire.  Most creatures, including ourselves, thrive on positive relationships, and can become resentful when mistreated.  Basic interaction skills.

So, when we want a nice clean home, and we have hard surfaces, or areas that have more social activity, what is the outcome of analytical activity in a puppy’s brain?  To find an out-of-the-way spot where that offensive circumstance is least offensive – out of the way and on an absorbent surface.  Humans often fail to appreciate this.  And a dog may be punished for doing his/her best, when a better alternative wasn’t available to him/her.

What is the human to do?  Take a puppy out frequently and at every indication, immediately if not sooner, at any point during the day or night.  Then speak kindly and encouragingly when that action occurs.  Even better – have a treat in hand to follow up the verbal and facial reward when business is complete. Gradually, puppies will develop the ability to “hold it” for longer periods of time.  But don’t leave a puppy in a compromising situation where he cannot take care of the problem, or puppy will/must resort to the only option available to him or her, which will be a setback to the conditioning of going outside as soon as need arises.

Those who can’t commit to attending to the most essential need of a developing puppy don’t need to take on the rearing of a dog (and all puppies, like all children, are future adults).  I think this would be near the top of my interview questions for a placement.

All training goals begin with an outcome-driven intention. “Training” is simply an expression for learning how to better communicate with your dog. Your influence as a trainer is shaped by the relationship you build with your dog. Your dog needs to learn that he/she can have confidence in you, that you are the leader, teacher, coach, friend, and reliable care-giver – FROM THE BEGINNING!

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