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Building on Nature

Dogs, much like people, like routine or a predictable schedule. This is especially true for housebreaking a pup. Take the pup out to the same place at the same times with limited distractions. When to pup goes potty, praise and give them a treat followed by a bit of play time. Have a regular schedule for feeding, potty time, rest/crate time, and play. Dogs tend to have a built in clock by nature. If my husband and I generally watch a movie around 7:20pm, that is the dog's time to rest in their crate. After a few evenings of me coming to the family room at the same time, my husband telling the dog to "kennel" and giving them a treat, soon when I come into the room, the dog automatically kennels up without any directive. By the next week, the dog kennels up about that time even if I haven't yet entered the room. Of course as soon as the dog figures it is close to rest time and kennels up, she is praised and then given her chew treat. An older dog in the room would be told to go lay down (on his mat/bed). He would remain there until 8:05pm, when we would pause the movie to let him out into the yard while we made popcorn. In about 10 minutes we would let him in and resume the movie (after giving him a treat of course). Repeating the routine and rewarding the wanted behavior, in no time, the dog would get up from his mat at 8:05 and nudge my shoulder to let me know it was his time for going out break. Training your dog is so much easier if you stick to a routine on time or close to it. They thrive on it like it is their job. You can do this with many different activities such as walking out to the mail box or carrying out the trash. A couple of my dogs loved following me around the yard on Saturday mornings to water the flowers, then they would carry in the empty watering can for me and get a treat.

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