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D2009-15

Dear Daisy Dog

I’m having trouble house training my puppy. When he messes in the house, I drag him to the spot, rub his nose in it and yell “no!” What more can I do?

Daisy Responds

Stop punishing your pup. Instead, help him do the right thing – and immediately praise him.

Start by kenneling your puppy in a dog crate when you can’t supervise him. Instinctively, he will keep it clean.

Take him outside when he awakens or leaves his crate, after meals and every few hours. Visit the same spot each time and tell him to “go potty.” When he does, reward him.

I was five when Mom adopted and housetrained me, and I learned quickly, because I wanted to hear her delighted “good potty!”

A study at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine confirmed that praise works, while aversive training does not. Veterinary behaviorists surveyed 140 dog owners about their training methods.

Of those who rubbed their dogs’ noses in the house-soiled areas, not one person reported that the technique was beneficial. In fact, 89 percent stated that it had no effect, and 11 percent said it actually made matters worse.

So incorporate positive reinforcement into your house training program, and talk with your dog trainer about other reward-based techniques to successfully train your dog.

 

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