I was at a new dog training client in Marietta last week working with him and his very cute Blue Heeler puppy. We discussed all the normal topics about socialization, focus, obedience, and appropriate behavior. As usual, I made sure that I reviewed potty training so that any issue could be corrected early in life. He said that he had been doing pretty much everything I had been saying about pottying, but he was still experiencing accidents in the house. He had talked to his Veterinarian about it because the puppy seemed to be pottying all the time. He would take him out every hour and there were still accidents. He put him in the crate and there were accidents. I smiled, because I had heard this problem many times before…
It was just about meal time, so I asked that we stopped the training session for a few minutes and feed Magnum (the puppy). I told him that I would just stand back and watch what he was doing. Well, he went to the pantry, pulled out Magnum’s food, poured it into his bowl, and was about to put it on the ground. Magnum was all excited and ready to chow down.
At that point, I told him to stop and put the bowl on the counter. We were going to analyze what he was about to feed Magnum. I first looked at the contents of the food to make sure that it was a good quality. My quick check is to see if the first ingredient is a named meat such as beef, chicken, lamb, duck, salmon, etc. I also want to make sure that it isn’t a meat by-product such as “chicken by-product”. That could mean that the food is filled with chicken feathers. I also want to make sure that it is free of general fillers. My big “no-no” is corn. The food passed both tests; chicken was the first ingredient and it contained no corn.
Since Magnum was pooping more than normal, the next test was to see if he was eating an appropriate amount of food. I determine this by reviewing the feeding instructions on the side of the dog food bag. Most dog food manufacturers have canine nutritional experts determine the appropriate amount of food (in cups) for dogs by age and weight and post that in the form of a chart on the dog food bag. Based on Magnum’s weight and age, he should be getting 1 ½ cups of food a day. Since my client was feeding Magnum twice a day, he should be getting ¾ cup of food at that meal.
I asked my client for a measuring bowl and poured the dog food into the measuring bowl. He had Given Magnum 2 cups of food for his one meal. That meant that Magnum was getting over twice the amount of food he needed each day. No wonder the puppy was pottying all the time. He was constantly being stuffed!
I did not fault my client for this mistake. We humans normally just fill the dog bowl and think that is a good amount. Our culture has always said that a full plate is a “happy plate”. Our mothers always said “Oh, let me put just a little more on our plate.” We are also much bigger than our puppies, so our perspective of how much we are giving him is skewed into naturally giving more than he needs.
I told my client that from that day forward, he was to take a measuring bowl each morning and pour Magnum’s total daily allowance of food into the bowl. Only feed him from what is in the bowl for the rest of the day. I also said that he should use the dog food from the measuring bowl as treats. When the bowl is empty, that is all the food Magnum is getting.
I called him last night to see how the potty accidents were coming. He said it was amazing. Just by measuring Magnum’s food, the accidents have almost completely disappeared. He had noticed a big drop in the number of Magnum’s potties.
Although this is not the only solution to potty problems, it is an easy one to fix. Make sure you measure and manage your puppy’s food intake so that you are not over-feeding him. It will help fix the potty problems now and will help maintain his weight as he grows older. This will influence his health and help him live a longer and happier life.
Please call Robin or me at (770) 718-7704 if you are in need of any dog training help. We have a lot of good dog training advice at Best Dog Trainers Marietta Georgia. Find all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Marietta Georgia.