Train with Praise, Not Punishment

Most new puppy owners face a difficult decision when it comes to potty training their pups. Should praise or punishment be the technique of choice for reinforcing positive behavior?

According to a study at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, researchers confirmed that praise works for new puppies learning potty training, while aversive training does not. Veterinary behaviorists surveyed 140 dog owners about their different training methods and their effectiveness as part of the study.

Of those who rubbed their dogs’ noses in the house-soiled areas, not one person reported that the technique was beneficial. In fact, 89% stated that it had no effect, and 11% said it actually made matters worse. With these type of findings, any pet owner can see that praise is clearly the more successful route to go in.

Start to incorporate positive reinforcement into your house training program, and talk with your dog trainer or veterinarian about other reward-based techniques to successfully train your dog to do his business out of doors.

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Potty Training Tip: Accidents Happen

When potty training your pup, it’s important to remember that accidents happen.

Much like a small child, your puppy is going to have accidents because of sheer biology. Within 15 to 20 minutes of taking in food or water, their bodies tend to want to eliminate. Sometimes they just can’t make it in time or they are still learning how to tell you when they need to go. Whatever the reason, it’s still important to remember that any new puppy is going to have accidents. However, it’s the way you deal with the accidents that’s so important.

If your pup does have an incident, quietly clean it up in a matter-of-fact way. Yelling or punishing the puppy for making an accident may not be the best policy, as it may result in negative behavior. Being supportive and understanding isn’t the right option always either, as it may reinforce that having an accident is “okay.” Instead, ignore your dog as you do it and walk away with patience. It’s going to take a little time.

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