Another potty training thread :)

Discussion in 'Labrador Puppies' started by AmyAW, Aug 28, 2019.

  1. AmyAW

    AmyAW Registered Users

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    Hello all,

    I have a 13-week-old lab puppy who has been with us since she was 9 weeks old. Overall, training is going very well. She is very eager to learn and super bright. Most of the issues we are experiencing are normal puppy things like chewing furniture, jumping and nipping at my 7-year-old when she's over-excited, etc, and they are easy to deal with. But potty training is completely exasperating me.

    She goes really well outside, and always comes straight to me for praise and a treat afterward, so she definitely knows that it's good to do her business outside. She sleeps in her crate without complaint for 7+ hours at night. She has never gone in her crate. Her stools look healthy, 3-4 per day, and her pee looks normal too. She doesn't strain to urinate or appear to have any discomfort.

    The problem is that as well as she goes outside, she seems to have no hesitation about going inside just as often. I am home all day, so I supervise her when she's loose in the house. I take her out often- whenever she is transitioning from any activity (relaxing to being more active, after a lively play session, after a meal, taking her out of her crate), and this ends up being maybe every 45 minutes if she's not sleeping. I try to supervise her very closely, keeping her in the room that I'm in and interacting with her. But it only takes a split second of me rinsing a dish or pouring a cup of coffee for her to pee. And it doesn't seem to matter how recently she's gone outside. She just doesn't hold it at all if she's not in her crate.

    This morning, for example, she was crated for about an hour while I took my daughter to camp. I let her out as soon as I got home and spent about 10 minutes outside with her. She just laid down on the grass and stared at me. I tried to initiate play, but she was not interested. Eventually we came back inside and within 2 minutes she was peeing on the floor. I was standing right there, so I said "stop!" and took her outside immediately. She peed outside and came to me for a treat. Then we went back in and 5 minutes later she was peeing on the floor again. We went outside and spent another 10 minutes hanging out, then came back in. Five minutes later she was pooping on the floor.

    I clean all accidents very well with enzyme cleaner, and it's all hardwood and linoleum inside where she has access to. Honestly, I'm really not sure why I'm failing so badly at this. Close supervision, frequent breaks, crating when I can't supervise closely, treats for pottying outside. What am I doing wrong. Help!
     
  2. Michael A Brooks

    Michael A Brooks Registered Users

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    I'm not sure what she knows from such behaviour. Maybe she thinks coming to you is what you want. You need to be a lot clearer. The moment she finishes urinating, mark with a click or the word yes, and give 2 or 3 treats one after other. I think your timing is incorrect.

    You need to regularly take her outside, stand next to her. She is on a house line. Don't do anything. Just wait. Once she has urinated use the process outlined above.
     
  3. AmyAW

    AmyAW Registered Users

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    You are right. My timing is off. I do mark her urinating with a "yes! good!" immediately, but I am usually standing several feet away and treat her when she comes to me.

    I don't have her on a lead very often unless we go out for a walk or are doing specific training. Using the lead more will probably help too. Thank you for your perspective!
     
  4. Michael A Brooks

    Michael A Brooks Registered Users

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    Okay. Here is the problem. Timing, and a lack of clarity about what yes actually means to the two participants.

    Yes can be used as an event or a bridge marker. When you say yes and good then you are rewarding the urination with praise. Yes is an event marker. But praise is a weak or non-existent reinforcer. So urinating outside is not really being reinforced.

    The puppy comes to you. You give a treat. You think the yes was a bridge.

    But the puppy may not think it is a bridge. The dog may reckon I already received praise. So the treat must be for coming.

    So make it simple for your dog. Suppose your finishes urinating. Immediately say yes and give a treat within half a second of saying Yes, which is easy to do since you are standing right next to your dog when she was urinating. The come part of your current regime is eliminated.

    Good luck.
     

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