Dear Miss Behavior: Potty Training

Wondering about why your dog acts a certain way? Looking for ways to change your dog’s behavior? Wanting to better enrich your dog’s life? Lincoln Animal Ambassadors is proud to announce the start of a dog advice column. If you have a question, please ask it below in the comments. An answer will appear in a future post!

Dear Miss Behavior: I have a small three-year-old dog that has been potty trained since she was a puppy. There have been no messes and she always tells me when she has to go out. Now she is sneaking down to the basement and doing her business. What can I do?

missbehaviorThe first thing you need to do is take her to a veterinarian. Make sure she doesn’t have a urinary tract infection or other medical issues.

Once she’s given a clean bill of health, go back to the basics.  Treat her as if she were an 8-week old puppy.  She needs to be put on a schedule, taken outside regularly and praised for going outside. (Yes, you will need to go out with her!).  If she’s not outside or in a crate, she should be tethered to you.  I use a six-foot leash and attach it to my belt. That way she can’t slip away to do her business.  As she becomes more reliable again, she can have freedom in the house. But if she forgets and uses the basement, it’s back on the leash.  Expect to use the schedule for at least six weeks to help her break the bad habit and form a new one.  

Be sure to really clean the basement area with an enzyme cleaner.  Nature’s Miracle or Simple Solution are just two of the products on the market.  

Thanks to this feature goes to Greater Lincoln Obedience Club, who ran the Miss Behavior Dog Advice Column in their newsletter. Appreciation also is extended to Marcy Graybill, a trainer at GLOC and the expert behind this column. She also hosts her own blog, Dog Log, where she talks about training adventures with her dogs.

marcygraybillAfter Marcy adopted her first dog in 1988, she began to research about dog care. Research took the form of checking out books and videos to learn how to train Lady. Eventually, Marcy and her sister began taking their dogs to the dog run and taking formal dog classes. For about six years, Marcy volunteered for the Capital Humane Society, where she performed a variety of jobs, and took time to watch the dogs and learn about their behaviors. Currently, she’s an obedience instructor at GLOC. “I think the most important is to keep up to date on what’s going on in the field.  I try to read articles, blogs and  new books that come out, and watch any DVDs that are available.”



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