I was at a follow-up Home Dog Training session in Big Canoe with a client and his puppy Fox Terrier named Delilah. Delilah was sixteen weeks old and things were progressing rather well. We had resolved some separation anxiety issues as well as building a strong and healthy bond between her and the family. Her standard obedience commands were progressing well and she could come to my client from across the family room with very little direction. One of her main issues focused on potty training, as with all puppies. Our initial instructions and my client’s follow-through were working very well. My client had a new question about Delilah’s pottying because of a new job he started at the beginning of the week.
My client’s prior job allowed him to work from home most of the day with short visits to the office a short distance away. This was great in building a schedule and maintaining a constant routine in getting her out. Since she was only sixteen weeks, it meant that she could hold her bladder about four hours before she really, really had to go.
My client’s old job schedule allowed him to never be away from Delilah for longer than three hours. This was great in maintaining their potty routine and clearly building his knowledge base of her habits and needs. His new job now requires that he be in the office for up to eight hours several times a week. Eight hours is just too long for Delilah to naturally hold her potty. My client was very concerned that everything he had accomplished would be for naught since he could no longer physically be there to work the program.
Standard potty programs require that you always let the puppy out to potty on a specific schedule. You are to do everything possible to discourage pottying in the house and you need to immediately correct and direct the puppy when they potty in the house. The problem is that my client had to work and, even though he clearly understood the need of his presence, simply could not be there.
If he leaves Delilah loose in the house for the eight hours while he is away, she will potty somewhere in the house and he will spend a lot of time trying to find it when he comes home. Because of humane and safety reasons, leaving her outside is not an option. He also does not want to leave her in her crate because he is trying to teach her that the crate is not a potty place. They will not allow him to bring her to work. It appears we have run out of options and are about to run into a brick potty wall.
I told my client that there is a “Plan B” that I have been teaching for years that is designed especially for the unique situation he is experiencing. We need to create a “time out” environment where he can leave Delilah and she can be safe. Since she will be in this place for longer than she can “hold it”, she will most likely potty in this area. With this in mind, we need to establish this place as a unique area that is not part of the potty lesson she is being taught.
I suggested that he use a room with a tile floor that Delilah will never, ever enter on a normal basis. The downstairs powder room is often a perfect choice. He is to pick up everything that Delilah could destroy or could hurt her. He is to place a doggie gate across the doorway and place some comforting things such as her bed, some toys, or her crate in the room.
The only time Delilah ever goes in the room is when he is going away for a long length of time. When he is home, she is to come out of the room immediately and the door is to be closed. If Delilah potties in the room, he can’t correct Delilah because that is after the fact and any correction would simply confuse her. He simply needs to thoroughly clean the room.
I made note that Delilah will probably make accidents in that room. But, since she is never in the room when my client is home and can watch her, the area is disassociated with the general act of pottying in the house. As she grows older, she will be able to hold it longer and will be able to not potty while he is away at work.
I further explained that if she is making accidents in the room while he is away, he can minimize those temporary issues by cutting down on her meal before he places her there. He can also more the meal earlier in the day from his departure time.
I strongly emphasized that he can never have the door to the room open while they are home. Delilah must never associate that room as part of the house. That would then send mixed signals to her regarding “Don’t potty in the house” and will slow down the potty training process in the rest of the house.
Lastly, I explained that my solution for his situation will slow down the final, successful results of the potty training process. This is because she will be making accidents he can’t directly deal with and his actual observations will contain some margin of error. But, since being away for eight hours is a given, the option I presented is the optimum solution to achieving his desired results at the fastest pace.
Please call us at (770) 718-7704 it you are in need of any dog training help. We have a lot of good dog training advice at Best Dog Trainers Big Canoe Georgia. Find all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Big Canoe Georgia.