Updated: Apr 11
Dog trainers, vets and well-meaning friends often get this wrong. They might tell you if you don't "catch your dog in the act, you can't discipline them." Dogs have told me otherwise.
Has your puppy or rescue dog had an "oops" (or more...) in the house, and because you didn't see them poop or pee, you just cleaned it up and committed to doing a better job training them to go outside?
Have you ever found a pillow, favorite shoe or other possession chewed or destroyed, and because you weren't there to see it happen, just threw it away angry and frustrated, muttering, "Why is he doing this? He has plenty of toys."
Dogs Need to Understand
When your dog sees you cleaning up and you say nothing, he senses that you're upset, but he isn't sure why. He becomes confused and doesn't know what he did wrong. This creates anxiety and insecurity. As a result, he's likely to do it again and become more anxious because you continue to be upset. There are two key pieces to use to teach him what you want and expect.
1) You need to show and tell him how and why you're upset.
2) You need to show and tell him what he should do instead.
Solve the Problem
There are specific ways to communicate when you find an "oops." The key is to let her know what you don't want and show her what you do want. This will clarify everything for your dog and help her succeed rapidly.
1) If it's a poop or pee inside, call her over to the spot. Look at her and say in a low, deeper than normal voice, "Uh oh, Gracie, this does not belong here." If your dog gets the message, she'll look away, show submission or "look guilty."
2) With a paper towel, blot or pick up the oops and in a higher, yet authoritative voice, call her, "Come Gracie," and take her outside.
3) Place the oops or wipe the towel on the grass where you want her to go and in a high, happy voice say, "Good girl, Gracie! Always do your business out here!" Let her smell the area and praise her. When she goes out next time, take her to the same spot and praise her again in your happy voice.
Why This Works
1) You've used the vocal cues mama dog uses.
Low voice/growl = Mama's upset and you need to pay attention NOW.
Authoritative voice = I'm in charge and giving you instructions.
High, happy voice = happy, playful, "all is well."
2) You've clearly shown her where the poop and pee belong. Even a towel rubbed on dry pee will carry enough scent for the dog to get the message.
If you're working with chewed items, repeat the process and direct her to a toy instead. I'd also add the phrase, "Your job is to only chew your toys. You must leave all other items that belong to us alone." (Notice this is all in positive statements.)
Using clear communication based on canine vocal cues will help your dog understand quickly what he needs to do and not do, help him succeed, and support him in being a happy, confident dog.
NOTE: If you find these tips don't solve the problem, we should talk in an animal communication session. There are likely underlying health issues or past trauma related to inappropriate behaviors. Click here if you're new to me or here if you're a returning client.
Don't wait. The longer you let it continue, the more difficult it is to change.
Your dog only wants to be a happy, contributing member of your family pack.
Doing what you want and expect fulfills her.
Let's do all we can to help her understand what that is and thrive!
With Love, Your Voice of Animals,
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