Today’s topic is potty training accidents after walks. So I’ve been getting quite a few messages from people that have been struggling with their dogs having potty training accidents after the dogs have gone for a walk. After relieving themselves during the walk, they’re coming inside the house and having an accident. So I want to shed a little bit of light on this.
If this is you, I think I have something that’s going to be useful. One of the ways that I always go about solving problems is I look at how people are reinforcing the behavior that they actually want their dog to have. Now it shouldn’t be surprising to any of us that the act of using the restroom is a self-reinforcing act.
And what that means is that there is an inbuilt mechanism that tells your brain to repeat the behavior because, well, using the restroom just feels good. So the fact that people are going out for walks is important, and the fact that they’re taking the dog for walks and using the restroom there is a good thing. So the first step that I’m going to take in addition to doing that is I want to make sure that I have some meaningful reward for the dog immediately available after they use the restroom on the walk.
What kind of rewards could that be? Well, you could use a food reward. You can use petting and praise, and you could also play fetch. Maybe even try playing tug. You can do any of those things. The thing to do with the reward is to know your dog and use the reward that your dog prefers. The something that’s most meaningful to your dog. That’s an excellent question to ask yourself about any time you’re trying to fix any behavior problem. You should know what does my dog love the most, and then you can use that to systematically reinforce behaviors.
The Thing Your Dog Loves the Most
So that’s the first tip is to use the thing your dog loves the most while on the walk to let them know that you appreciate it and to build that habit back even stronger. Okay, so now you’re back home, you went for a walk, you take the leash off the dog, and then you walk into another room and you let your dog go their separate way, and then that’s when they have the accident. For me, the answer is self-evident.
Supervised the Entire Time
If you’re coming back and taking the leash off, and giving the dog all that freedom, and they end up having an accident. And it’s happened more than once. Maybe it’s happened several days in a row. It’s time to bring your dog back into the house and do one of two things. One, don’t take the leash off the dog; bring the dog with you and put them on a place or in a down stay. They have to stay there with you supervised the entire time, and then maybe, I don’t know, 10-20 minutes into that take them back out outside and let them use a restroom.
Reinforce that alternatively and this might be the thing that I start with. I’d come back in from my walk, having the leash on the dog. I would take the dog to its crate, and I would put my dog in the crate for that same amount of time, the 10-20 minutes, and then not allow the dog the opportunity to use the restroom.
Either one of these strategies of putting the dog in a place and supervising them or crating them and managing them. If you do that consistently for, let’s say, the rest of the month, there’s a good chance that you have built up enough of the reinforcement for the correct behavior that now you can give the dog freedom again.
Really Deep Clean It
Now, one thing that you might do in addition to this is anywhere that the dog has used the restroom, don’t just clean that area. Really deep clean it. There’s a product that I use sometimes. It’s called Nature’s Miracle. It has some enzymatic action that breaks down dog waste. So that way, it gets rid of the odor and any residue that might be there that regular cleaning isn’t going to get.
So here are the three tips. One, reward your dog with the thing that they like the most when they use the restroom outside on the walk. Two, when you come back in from your walk, supervise your dog directly. Try not to take your eyes off of them or put them in a crate. Then take them back outside so you can reward them again. Do that for 14-21 days. Three, during that process, thoroughly clean the area with something that has some enzymatic action to break down any residue. So that way, they’re there are no signals telling your dog to use the restroom there again.
I hope that helps somebody out there. Remember, you can always find great videos that I’ve created for you on my YouTube Channel or find more tips like this in my blog articles right here at www.longoriahausdogtraining.com.