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Podcast: Are You Clicker Training, or Training with a Clicker?

Listen to Kathy's podcast (available at the bottom of the page) to find out more about Are You Clicker Training, or Training with a Clicker?

Kathy Sdao is a top trainer and ClickerExpo faculty member. She began teaching people how to clicker train their dogs in 1996. “At that time, most pet owners had never heard of clicker training and few class instructors took it seriously. Mine was the only advertisement in the local Yellow Pages that mentioned the word ‘clicker.’ I had to persuade students to even try this novel gadget. A decade later, clickers are now common in dog training classes. But, I suggest, clicker training still is not. I do believe 'clicker training' is an unfortunate term for what we do.” Why? Listen to Kathy’s podcast and find out. Read the original article here.

If you enjoy Kathy's podcast, then you might also like her acclaimed live lecture series. To learn more about her latest release, Improve Your "I-CUE": Learn the Science of Signals, and previous releases, head on over to the Clickertraining.com store.

To learn more about KPCT podcasts, and to listen to previous podcasts, follow the links below.

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potty training

Hi George,

Congratulations on your new pups. Housetraining one puppy can be challenging, so taking on three is quite a bit more challenging! Before I start with the housetraining protocol, you need to be certain that there isn't a medical issue at the root of the problem. All pups should be checked by a vet for a medical issue such as urinary tract infection or bladder infection or something else that could be causing housetraining difficulty.

After the pups have gotten medical clearance, you can begin the housetraining protocol. First, do you have a crate for each pup? I highly recommend that each pup has his own crate for several reasons. (1) Each pup needs to learn to be independent of his litter mates and sleeping separately will help foster this independence; (2) you need to know which pup has gone to the bathroom - if they're all in the crate together, it's impossible to know which one went to the bathroom in the crate; and (3) if one pup is already in the crate, it's pretty tough to put another in without the first one escaping. 

Crates are recommended because most pups don't like to go to the bathroom where they sleep. Make sure the crates are size-appropriate. You don't want a small pup in a large crate - there's plenty of room for the pup to sleep on one end of the crate and use the other end as his bathroom. 

Successful housetraining focuses on three main ideas:

 

  1. Watching the pups 100% of the time when they're out of the crate. (Never let them out of your sight.)
  2. Maintaining a predictable schedule: for feeding and for toileting. 
  3. Using crates when you can't give the pups 100% attention.
Feeding schedule: pups should eat their food within 15 minutes. Whatever is left over, pick it up until it's time for the next feeding. Don't put the food back down until it's time for them to eat again. Pups will need to go to the bathroom within 15 minutes of finishing their meal. Take them outside about 10 minutes after they finish eating and wait for them to go to the bathroom. 
Toileting schedule: Each pup should go out every 1 ? 1.5 hours (unless they're sleeping). Also take each pup out when he's just gotten up from a nap, 1st thing in the morning, as soon as you let him out of his crate, and immediately after a vigorous play session. Start to watch each pup to see what his body signals are that he's about to go. This may be different for each puppy. If the pups are hard to tell apart, put different color collars on them so you can immediately identify who you're looking at.
It's going to be important to take the pups out separately. While you're out with one, the other two are in their individual crates. Give the pup about 5 minutes to go to the bathroom. If they really have to go, they'll go quickly. Don't play with him when he's out for his potty break - simply hold the leash and stand quietly. If he doesn't go after 3 ? 5 minutes, take him inside and put him in his crate for 15 minutes. Then bring him out and let him try again. 
Because you have three pups, it's possible that there might be a pup in a crate quite often. This is ok - you want the pup to have every opportunity to go to the bathroom outside, and absolutely no chance at going inside. This is also good because you want to be certain that you're teaching these puppies how to be independent of one another. 
Whenever possible, play with each of them separately, walk them separately, definitely crate them separately, feed them in different rooms, spend alone time with each of them separately. You get the idea — you want these dogs to enjoy each other's company, but not be dependent on his siblings. 
With a lot of patience, a very predictable schedule, and keen attention to each pup's body language, you'll have each pup housetrained in a week or two! Good luck and don't forget to have the pups checked for medical issues that could be causing the housetraining trouble. 

Laurie Luck
For Clickertraining.com
Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner
See my profile and contact information at
http://karenpryoracademy.com/Luck_Laurie

potty training

Kathy,

    My wife and I just rescued 3 lab mixes approx. 11 week old.  They were very much abused.  They are able to hold it in at night but during the day they pee all the time.  We take them out almost every hour.   But they still go.  They were kept out side all the time, so I know that is half the problem.  Is there any way for us to break them of this habit.  It is so hard to get all 3 of them to do the same thing at the same time.  Please help!!!!!

 

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