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House-Training Success Using Positive Reinforcement: How rainy weather works to your advantage

December 20, 2010

It’s day #3 of rainy weather here in Southern California. Personally, I’m loving it! My sidekick Poncho the dog, not so much. Although he is an adult, there are times when he will opt to go potty inside and not out in the yard. This usually happens when we’re not paying attention – our fault – or when the weather is bad and he’s not hanging around outside or going on walkies – again, our fault!

What does this mean for us humans? That we have to stay on top of it with management and making sure we’re offering him the opportunity to go outside! AND, following my own recommendations I provide in my FREE House-Training eBook, here’s the most important dog training tip, we have to make sure we reward him heavily for going potty outside whenever he does! I don’t care how old an animal is, you can never thank him or her enough for dragging their butts outside to go to the bathroom..rain or not.

So, with the latest weather conditions my husband and I have been on top of our game! And, because the rain has been non-stop, we’ve been able to do a lot of consistent repetition – which is ideal for instilling behaviors!

For the first couple of days we were having to carry Poncho out to the yard. Sometimes he would “fake it”, but I know my boy – so I’d play “NBA Player” and set a screen – blocking him from running back towards the house – even though the door was closed I still wanted him to sniff around where he usually goes. If he wasn’t successful in the backyard, we’d take him out front – we often have more success there since it’s one of the only things he does in the front yard. So there I would stand, in the rain, but I had an umbrella. At first I was following him around protecting him from the rain, but sometimes that would cease the process, so I stopped doing that – I can learn too 🙂

Regardless of where or when, after every potty event we would immediately head back in and reward with a treat – and/or toss of a toy! Well, after the third day into the process I’m proud enough to say that Poncho is motivated enough to head out on his own, after one cue – sure he looked back at me a few times with “that look” on his face. But I prompted him with my happy talk to stay put until he was finished. I didn’t have to go with him – I was outside but under the awning – and, it was in the backyard! And what was the pay-off? For him it was a single salt and vinegar potato chip from Trader Joe’s…for me, a clean floor 🙂

So remember folks, as both a certified professional dog trainer and dog mom, this is what I suggest when it comes to house-training:

  • Reward your animals for making the desired bathroom choice – no matter his or her age.
  • Manage your environment to set everyone up for success.
  • Download our Free House-Training eBook if you need some dog training tips!

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