Golden Labrador and Chocolate Labrador pup lying together peacefullyI went to another toilet training issue today. It is interesting just how important are the first eight to twelve weeks in a puppy’s development – including toilet training.

Archie is a 5-month old Chocolate Labrador who lives with Lizzie, a 6-month old dark Yellow Labrador. Archie lived with all his siblings until he was ten weeks old and the puppies were left to themselves for much of the time. Now Archie toilets indoors.

I have very recent personal experience of this sort of thing. My Cocker Spaniel, Pickle, until around twelve weeks old lived in gun-dog kennels. The puppies’ toileting was done on the concrete floor of the indoor run where also their dry food was thrown. Consequently, having never been in a house with garden or yard, the pattern for toileting outside hadn’t been set. Toilet training Pickle was hard work. On the other hand, at just nine weeks old my new Yellow Labrador puppy, Zara, is nearly houstrained already. She came from a clean family home environment where each puppy was given individual time and attention.

Archie sometimes comes straight in from outside only to toilet on the kitchen floor. This can be infuriating. His owners thought when they found mess in the house that scolding him would make him learn. But it never does. Archie also may eat  his poo (not nice, I know – but very common). In this particular case I suspect it’s fearing that for some unfathomable reason his owners are angry when they find mess indoors, so he is trying to get rid of the evidence. He even sometimes hides it in his bed. Archie is only five months old and a big puppy. I suggest he now should neither be scolded nor even praised any more. It’s another case of a natural function being made into too much of an issue. How can we be sure he is not confused – praised one time and punished the next – and that he may not have connected it’s to do with where the job is done!

Whatever Archie’s reasons for doing toileting indoors, it’s not naughtiness. There are various possible reasons, but none will simply be because the dog is  naughty.

To ignore all toileting, especially indoors, is going to be hard for the owners, but they can see that their present approach hasn’t worked so they need to do something different. The only appropriate time to react is if they actually catch him in the act, and then it’s not to scold – it’s to take his collar and rush him outside immediately.

Putting in place calm leadership for young dogs is the basic requirement – and plenty of trips outside.

I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog.