How to Potty Train Your Puppy in 2 Weeks!

Housebreaking

While training up at my Smyrna location yesterday I was approached by an individual seeking advice about potty training. They said it took them 5-7 months to potty train their last puppy! I understand this is not the norm but potty training is a headache for many. Being I have had people tell me they returned a dog due to not being able to potty train them, it is clearly an issue that many face.

Question: What is the fastest way to potty train my dog?

Answer: Consistency, repetition, and diligence, with a healthy dose of patience! Here are our favorite, tried and true, tips for success:

-Proper crate training involves a crate that is only large enough for him/her to lay down in. Most larger crates come with a divider that can be moved as your dog grows, or you can buy progressively larger crates (if you have that kind of money). Unless they are sick or not taken out enough, dogs and puppies will generally not potty where they have to lay down (unless left in there for a exorbitant amount of time). If they have room to potty on one side of the crate and lay on the other, they will do just that. Think crating is mean, please read our other blog: 4 Reasons to Crate Train

-Take the puppy outside as consistently as your schedule allows (every 2 hours, every 3 hours, the younger the more often). This teaches them that they are going to have the opportunity to go outside on a consistent basis. Gradually increasing the interval from every 2 hours, to every 3 hours, etc will gradually increase the amount of time your pup can hold his/her bladder. Note: If you take your pup out and they do not go to the bathroom when you come back in put them directly back in the crate for 10-20 minutes and take them back out, repeat as needed.

-Even when you are home the pup should be in the crate unless you are supervising him/her 100% of the time. This means you are standing with, sitting with, or playing with him/her actively. The reason being is “when” they squat to go pee you can swoop them up and immediately carry them out to the yard to show the proper place you want them to do this activity. Note: Screaming at them is not needed during this step (it will just scare them), simply say nothing or tell them OFF once as you are picking them up to take them OUTSIDE (never crate for bad behavior). Note: You only have a little over 2 seconds to catch the pup in the act, if it is later than that hit “yourself” with a paper and move on.

-Give lots of positive reinforcement every time they potty outside in the designated area, like an excited “GOOD POTTY, GOOD POTTY!” and/or some high-value treats. Note: This is likely the biggest step I see missed. People with fenced yards don’t even go out with the young dogs, while potty training your pups need to see you are happy when they go in the grass!!

-Never punish your puppy after the fact – it is your fault for not catching them in the act! We don’t punish a very young child when he poops in his diaper, so we wouldn’t punish a very young puppy for doing something natural that he doesn’t know is wrong.

-Feedings should also be on a consistent schedule. Young puppies should be fed 2-3 times a day (depending on age and adult size), if possible. Young dogs typically poop/pee immediately after they wake up and immediately after they eat/drink. In both cases, it’s a good idea to take the puppy outside before the accident happens. As puppies age they stop going immediately after eating, you can put them back in the kennel for 15-30 minutes after they eat, then take them straight outside.

As with everything dealing with dogs the key is being repetitive and consistent.

Off Leash K9 Training, Georgia offers a 1-hour puppy consultation lesson full of advice like this to get your life with your puppy off to a great start.

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How do you fix behavioral problems?

dog behavioral problems

One of the most common questions we get at all of our Georgia locations is “How do you fix behavioral problems?”

The answer is simple, We target the issues you are having while working through our obedience program!

In our opinion, behavior cannot be modified without having complete trust and control of your dog. Behavioral modification and obedience go hand in hand. As you are working through our program, we will also be working on the specific issues you may be facing with your dog.

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What is the most important command? | Dog Trainer Atlanta

Training Recall

I had a great laugh today at Off Leash K9 Training, Georgia.

During a call I was told that they had just finished “6 months plus” of obedience classes at a “large pet store chain” where they were told to not worry about recall…

Is it just me or does anyone else find this down right silly?

I would love to hear what others feel could be a more important command?

Recall “Come” in whatever language or verbiage you choose is by a mile the most important command. It is unfortunately not taught, I don’t mean well, I mean at all, by many “trainers” if that is what they want to call themselves.

Just to be clear if you can not get your dog back to you NO other command matters.

Recall is taught and with a high degree of distraction during our first lesson!

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Exercise Relieves Many Behavioral Issues | Atlanta Dog Trainer

I would say at a minimum, half of the dogs that visit Off Leash K9 Training, Atlanta are showing behavioral issues due to lack of exercise (physical and/or mental). This is not necessarily the owners fault. Most of us can not possible walk or run far enough to wear out our high energy pups. But I find the issue to be the owners are not physically able to walk their pup or are just too embarrassed due to their pups leash manners. Be it the constant pulling, lunging at people or other dogs, or just the unpredictability of what they will do when distracted.

Pups that don’t get the mental or physical exercise they need can display a wide range of behavioral issues.

  • Excessive barking and/or excitement
  • Escaping enclosures
  • Destructive chewing
  • Picking on or annoy other pets/family members

Medium and high energy dogs need a job. If you don’t provide one, they will make it their job to bark at everything that moves, chew on your prized possessions, escape the crate or kennel you’ve asked them to stay in, and so on. They will find their own outlets for their energy.

Off leash obedience opens up an entire world for you and your dog to experience the joys and benefits of proper amounts of exercise. Every grass field becomes a playground for you and your dog – no more waiting for a trip to the local fenced dog park. Hiking trails at local parks become an enjoyable walk for you and an energy-burning trek for your dog when they’re allowed to run ahead and romp versus pull at the leash. Walks become more enjoyable without risk of being pulled down or dislocating an arm at the sight of a distraction.

We can give you the confidence to throw the ball and take your pup to the park with a confident recall no matter the distraction.

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Dog Park Alternatives for Socialization | Georgia Obedience Training

Off Leash K9 Training, Georgia

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I cringe every-time my clients start a sentence with “So we were at the the dog park”!

At best they say how annoyed they were that no one was paying attention to their own dog and some dog kept mounting theirs…

But more often than not such and such happened resulting in a dog fight. Now their pup is extremely fearful or aggressive with other dogs.

Note: The most incorrect statement I hear is “I got (2-57) dogs so they could play together and be socialized”. My constant response to this is “If the only people you ever saw and interacted with were your spouse and kids would you be “socialized”?

I am only speaking for Off Leash K9 Training, Atlanta but we do NOT recommend dog parks as a way to socialize your dog.

  • Pack Mentality with strange dogs is not what you want.
    • In large groups of “uncontrolled” dogs, they will try to establish pack order.
    • The rush when entering the park is overwhelming to many pups.
    • Just being in the crossfire when other dogs get in a fight.
    • Your pup may think the pack is a threat to you and become protective.
    • A lot of owners pay no attention to their pup, therefore have zero control.
  • Human emotion: There will always be one owner that you’ll find chasing their uncontrollable dog from one end of the park to the other, screaming at it to behave. Others see a pitbull, doberman, rottweiler, german shepherd, or are just fearful of large pups. This can bring a lot of unneeded anxiety to the equation. Adding the human emotion element can create a ticking time bomb from even a relatively stable pack.

SO what is the solution and alternatives to dog parks?

The solution is simply, smaller groups of controlled dogs with more supervision.

Alternatives:

  • Play-dates – Dogs can have play-dates just as kids do. Less dogs with more supervision.
  • Doggie Daycare – This one comes with a caveat, the daycare needs to have a sufficient amount of “competent” handlers to divide up and supervise dogs.
  • Pet Friendly Stores – Proper socialization is not just with other dogs but with people and strange locations. Lots of home improvement store such as Lowes, Home Depot, and Tractor Supply allow dogs (call to ensure your local location does). These are not about running into other dogs but experiencing different environments and people.

If your dog has been in a dog fight and is showing signs of fear or aggression please seek help as soon as possible. The longer you allow this change in personality to go on the longer it will take to correct. Proper obedience training will built confidence while showing your pup you will protect them in any situation.

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Notes on our E-Collar | Off Leash K9 Training, Atlanta

I believe the hardest thing for my new clients to remember after the first lesson in Smyrna or Peachtree City is all the functions on the remote. While I would rather you remember as much as you can about the actual dog training instead of the minor details such as how to turn the remote on, they are still important.

So I put together a quick reference about what button does what, how to turn off and on, and a few more little things.

Please note we typically use either a 400 series or a 1200 series (posted separately below), the one you have is noted on the back of the remote to the right of the plug as pictured here:

Obedience Training Atlanta

As I will note in the video, please “only” use as directed by your “trainer”, every dog is different!

400 Series Youtube:

1200 Series Youtube:

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Ways to Minimize Dominance Issues | Dog Aggression

Dog Aggression

These are ways to help you minimize dominance issue that may arise over your pups life. I find that the leading cause of aggression cases I deal with arise from owners not dealing with dominance issue in their dog. Unchecked dominance issues lead to dog aggression as they age.

Note: I want to point out that several of the following behaviors my dogs do or are allowed to do on a daily basis (except for one, which I will discuss below, that I personally believe leads to aggression in a large amount of dogs) so by no means am I stating they should not be allowed or done. But your pup needs to understand its place or issues will arise as they age.

1. Furniture/Bed- Who does not love to cuddle with their pup in bed or on the couch? My personal dogs have free range to the couches and the bed (as long as I am not in it) but they also know their place in the family unit. The reason for this has a lot to do with being eye-level and sharing the “best spots” in the house, where only the Alphas of a pack should get the best spot. Again, this is something that needs to be considered if you have a overly dominate pup or dominance issues arise.

2. Spayed/Neuter- This one is simple biology and applies to both sexes. Will it always fix the issue? No, but it tends to help in a lot of cases.

3. Socialization- I get a lot of confused clients on this topic. First, A lot of people believe that dogs only need socialization with other dogs. If your dog will only be around other dogs and never need to meet new people then this would be true. Second, having two or more pups also does not socialize your pup. Imagine the only other person you ever saw was your spouce, would you be well socialized or crazy? This is best done at an early age where you can still control the pup easily. But a lot of us adopt and don’t always get to do this when they are young, in this case you will need control first so please see number 6.

4. Free Feeding- This is the one I mentioned at the beginning that I truly believe almost always leads to food and toy guarding later in life. Your dog needs to understand you are providing the food, by always leaving it out or even not picking it up and letting them “graze” they believe it is just there and not that you are providing it. Food should be put down, giving them 5-10 minutes to eat, if they do not it should be picked up and given back 12 hours later.

5. Sitting on You- Depending on the size of your dog this one may be a no brainier but just as you see the dominate dogs trying to sit on or pin down the other dogs during play they perceive you allowing them to sit on you as submission. This can go back to the furniture in where you allow them to be mostly or partially on you in the bed or on the couch. I see this more in smaller breeds and the reason smaller pups tend to start the fights they can not win.

6. Obedience Training- I think we all knew I would get to this one:-) Basic Obedience Training as I am sure my clients around Atlanta would tell you gives your pup not only the understanding that YOU are in control but the relief of not being in charge. If they believe you will take care of the issue and provide for them there is no reason to be aggressive toward other dogs/people or challenge your dominance. Things such as not listening, pulling on a leash, toy guard or not releasing when told are basic commands that you need in order to have the control required to enforce a lot of the other suggestions.

Our dogs may not love every dog or person he or she ever meets but we should never settle for behavior we know is not appropriate. Most of us strive our entire life to be “better” and we should do the same for your pup.

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4 Reasons to Crate Train

There seems to be this stigma lately about crating your dog… I have heard everything from it is cruel to I don’t think they are getting any exercise. These are always followed by why can’t I get them potty trained or they keep destroying something.

In reality crate training is one of the best things you can originally do for your pup. It does not matter if it is a new puppy or an older pup you just adopted.

The 4 following reasons are the top reasons why, and again they all apply to pups (dogs) no matter the age:

1. Safety- Your dogs safety should be your number one priority. We all have that story of something crazy our pup has eaten in their lifetime and are all amazed that it did not kill them. Well there are plenty of dogs that do get into things that do kill or at least hurt them and cost owners tons of money to save them. Be smart and prevent bad things from happening in the first place.

2. Potty Training- Crate training is by far the easiest and fastest way to potty train a puppy or older dog that never got to learn as a pup or has recently been in a kennel at the pound for too long. Again there is no faster or easier way! The faster your pup is potty trained the happier everyone will be.

3. Protection- This applies to your stuff. I have had clients tell me their dog destroyed mattress, couches, and carpeting that cost thousands of dollars. The real unfortunate part is I see people get rid of new dogs due to this easily prevented occurrence. If you are rich enough not to care about thousands of dollars then this one does not apply to you:-)

4. Exercise- This is the NUMBER 1 reason clients tell me they don’t want to crate their pups. They feel if crated while they are gone there dog is not getting any exercise! Even if you have a dog door (like me) and multiple dogs (like me) they don’t do much while you are gone, except get into trouble. I personally have 3 dogs and a dog door. I have also recorded what they do when I leave for 8 hours. Now if sleeping in my bed for 4 hours then moving to the couch for another 4 is exercise then I agree with you:-)

Now crates should never be used as punishment. In the end proper crate training will lead to the crate being that safe place the pup wants to go just to get away. A good example is the last BBQ I had. About 20 people and a few extra pups were over for a good 6-7 hours. After people started leaving I could not find my oldest, come to find him sleeping in a crate that had been left open in the spare bedroom. This spoiled boy had not been in a crate in a good 5 years:-) He just got tired and needed to get away.

Rarely will pups end up staying in a crate for life but for their safety and your sanity while they adjust to their new environment it is a really good idea.

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