Accidental Potty Problems
As a dog owner, you should supervise your puppy at all times or confine him when you can’t be there. If you watch your puppy, you will start to recognise the signs that he needs to go to the toilet. You can also teach him to ring a bell to let you know that he needs to go out. Accidents will happen on the odd occasion but it’s your job to minimise the risk of it happening. This may mean using baby gates to confine the areas that your puppy is allowed to be in. However supervision is just a small part of it. It helps if you can work out your puppy’s routine around food. All puppies will want to go to the toilet after they have eaten. Some will go straight away and some will wait for anything up to 20 minutes. Puppies will also need to go to the toilet when they wake up and when they have been playing. When playing, look for the moment when your puppy suddenly stops and walks off. If your puppy does have an accident, don’t tell him off, just clear it up will as little fuss as possible, after all he is a baby and learning. Remember to praise him every time he goes in the right place.
Puppies are like babies and toddlers, they want to explore their environment and anything within reach is fair game. The only trouble is that they tend to chew to decide whether it is good or not and chewing also makes them feel good. So you need to minimise the risk of your puppy having something he shouldn’t. How is your dog possibly going to know the difference between that old slipper you have given him and your £800 Louboutin’s or that fluffy toy you bought him and your child’s favourite teddy? You need to control the environment. This means tidying up after yourself and putting things back where they belong after using them. If it isn’t meant to be chewed, then put it somewhere out of reach of your pup. Your puppy will sometimes need to chew though, so get him things he is allowed to chew. Deer antlers and kongs can be a good option.
Separation anxiety (where your puppy is very stressed and upset when you leave him which results in him crying, barking or ripping up your favourite pillows, or worse chewing holes in your couch or walls) is something that is very time consuming to correct which makes it important that it is not allowed to develop. Often new puppy owners get worried about leaving their puppy and the puppy can pick this up and then will be worried themselves, So the best thing to do is practise. Puppies, like babies need naps during the day, so put your puppy into his sleeping area, give him something to chew and then leave him. Initially, you can stay in the home but start to pop out for a short while and slowly build up the duration. When you come home, don’t make a big fuss. I know you are happy to see your puppy, but a lot of excitement from you is a very big difference to him being alone, so keep the greetings low key and you will help your pup to see these as part of life. If you are going to leave your puppy in a crate, play games so going into the crate is fun thing to do. If your puppy gets anxious when you are leaving him, get professional help as soon as possible. It is one of those things that is easy to help when it starts and very time consuming if allowed to become ingrained.
Some dogs just love to dig – luckily it is not all dogs but if you have one that digs, it can be hard to fix because they are usually doing it when they are in the garden on their own. I once had 4 Polish Lowland Sheepdogs that liked to help me in the garden and if I started digging a hole, I would have 4 noses in the hole too. Any shrubs and plants they saw me put in, they would helpfully dig them up for me as soon as I turned my back. I soon learnt to plant in secret if I wanted my plants to have a chance to grow. Luckily they didn’t dig at other times. If you see your dog, digging, distract him and fill the hole again. If he keeps digging holes, you will need to monitor him at all times so that you can distract or you could just set up a digging area for him and hide chews and toys in it. Your digging dog will love it.
Some people love their dog sitting in front of them watching you eat every morsel and some people always save a little bit of food for their pup thus guaranteeing that the puppy will be keeping a close eye on you ready for that little bit of food. But for some people, this is the worst thing ever and the easiest way to stop this happening is to teach your puppy food manners so that he knows to only pick food up off the floor when you have told him he can and you can also teach him where he should be when you are eating and cooking. I would suggest a mat or bed to lay on.