Puppy Potty Training: How Dogs Communicate Puppy Potty Training: How Dogs Communicate

If you are new to puppy potty training or have never owned a dog before, it might surprise you learn that puppies communicate with their owner during potty training. For example, during the puppy potty training process, your new pup will communicate that he needs to go out by barking, whining, nudging, grabbing items like a shoe, or pacing, to name a few. It doesn't take a puppy long to make an association between your behavior (i.e., putting on shoes), items you regularly use (i.e., puppy's leash), and actions you take with those items (i.e., taking the puppy for a walk.) The following article will walk you through some of the common ways puppies communicate during puppy potty training and beyond.

How Dogs Communicate With Their Owners During Puppy Potty Training
If you are potty training your puppy by leash walking him to designated areas, your puppy may soon start to play with or bark at his leash when he needs go to out. This is a great day! Your puppy has made an association between the leash and going outside. By grabbing, barking at, or hanging out near his leash, your puppy is telling you he has to go out. A positive reaction on your part is to take your puppy out.

How Owners Unknowingly Communicate With Puppies During Potty Training
During the potty training process, puppies react in certain ways to your actions. In the previous example, if you did not take the puppy outside when he was barking at his leash, then you are communicating that it is okay for the puppy to relieve himself indoors. You may not realize it, but that is how your puppy reads it.

Another association puppies make during potty training is that shoes equal outside. Many stay-at-home dog owners we spoke with said the moment the shoes were on, puppies wobbled from out of nowhere. If your puppy does this, he has associated putting on shoes, with going outside.

As a dog owner about to potty train your puppy, it's up to you to decipher your dog's way of communicating, and understand how your actions, whether you like it or not, send a specific message to your puppy. If you've put your shoes on to check the mail and you decide not to take your puppy out, is it really his fault if he has an accident while you're gone? He did, after all, tell you he had to go out and you didn't respond. (Remember, this is puppy potty training, so be super conscious of your actions and what messages you may be sending your puppy.) Be aware and start to understand what associations your puppy is making during training, and respond positively. By doing so, your puppy potty training program will be quick and easy.

Correcting and Avoiding Bad Behavior During Puppy Potty Training
If you watch the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan, on the National Geographic Channel, then you've probably heard him say over and over that bad behavior in puppies is usually unknowingly fostered by the owner. Here is an example. If your puppy nudges and nips and your response is to take the puppy outside, then you have trained your puppy that nipping equals going out - not a good thing for the nipped area of your body. To correct this behavior in your puppy, look for other associations for going out during potty training, like ringing a bell, or sitting at the door.

Another example of behavior to correct during puppy potty training is the puppy that jumps up on you, and visitors, when he has to go out. Often times, the owner will say the puppy's name followed by "down" or "off." The puppy probably continues to jump up, and the owner, in frustration, has no idea why the puppy won't listen. The answer is that the owner is sending the puppy a mixed message during potty training. By saying the puppy's name before "off" or "down," the owner is actually rewarding the bad behavior in the puppy.

To correct this during the puppy potty training process, only say your puppy's name when he is doing well. If he is jumping up, that is bad, but if you say his name, he thinks it's good. Always look at your behavior and actions during puppy potty training, and make sure you’re not sending your puppy the wrong signal, which will only lead to bad behavior in adulthood.

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