The Cure for Dirty Dogs

This was an interesting email about dog potty training. So often prospective dog owners tell me they don't want a male because boys are, well, "dirty".

As you can see, "dirty dogs" is not a gender issue. It is a training issue.

"READ YOUR INFORMATION ON DIRTY DOGS. I HAVE TWO SILKYS, BOTH GIRLS. ONE IS 6 AND THE 7 YEARS...I WAS NOT ABLE TO POTTY TRAIN MY DOGS. I DID NOT CRATE TRAIN. I CHOSE TO HAVE THEM SLEEP WITH ME. BIG...BIG..MISTAKE. I NOW BUY REGULAR BABY DIAPERS FULL TIME. I CUT A HOLE OUT OF THE DIAPER FOR THEIR TAIL. THEN I PUT TAPE ON THE HOLE, SO IT WON'T SHED ANY MATERIAL FROM THE DIAPER THEN I PUT A PAIR OF JEAN TYPE PANTS OVER THEM. ALOT OF WORK, BECAUSE I CHANGE THEM OFTEN. I DID TRY TO TRAIN THEM FOR A FEW MONTHS BY GETTING UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. TAKING THEM OUTSIDE AND AFTER THEY DID THEIR BUSINESS I WOULD PRAISE AND BRING THEM BACK IN. THEN AGAIN EARLY MORNING. I THOUGHT IT WAS GOING WELL UNTIL I GOT A BLACK LIGHT AND SAW ALL THE PEE STAINS. DIAPERS WENT BACK ON. WHAT I'M WONDERING....AT THIS TIME IN THEIR LIFE CAN THEY BE POTTY TRAINED USING YOUR METHOD?????IT'S NOT THEIR FAULT AT ALL. IT'S MINE. I HATE FOR THEM TO HAVE TO WEAR THOSE DIAPERS. HOW LONG DOES THAT METHOD TAKE TO WORK NORMALLY??? THANKS FOR THE INFORMATION..."

SANDRA

Wow Sandra, that sounds like a lot of work.

Your situation brings home two interesting object lessons:

1. Female dogs are no easier to potty train than males, and can be harder. (Sandra, don't you wish you could have used a belly band rather than messy diapers?)
2. Huge difficulties can ensue when you don't start training, from the beginning, the right way. It is definitely worth the time and effort to be educated about what to do, to be attentive and highly restrictive when you first get your dog, whether it's a puppy or an adult. Use your dog's crate. Keep your dog restricted to one safe area of the house until you KNOW they are clean. Full data on this can be found on House Training Tools.

Your girls CAN be cured from being dirty dogs. But basically you need to move back to Day One.

The exact procedure is:

1. Leave them in a crate for 4 - 5 hours.
2. Potty them THOROUGHLY.
3. Put them in the restricted space, ideally hang out with them. If they squat it's an immediate ACK or BAH (whatever your "sharp word" is) to stop the squat mid stream. Then it's back outside to potty. When they go, give lots of praise and treats.
4. Then back inside but this time into a crate.
5. And repeat.
6. When the dogs do well for several days in the above scenario, let them out for a bit in the rest of the house. Keep them with you, and it's a good idea to keep them in a diaper (or belly band if a boy) so if they make a mistake they don't leave a "nice" smell to come back to.

How long does this take? It's quite variable, dog to dog, but generally about a month. The steps are simple but require perseverance. However don't let anyone tell you that it can't be done -- because that's flat not true. There IS a cure for dirty dogs.

Really.

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