Potty Training: Canine Instincts
When your puppy was at the breeder's home with its mother and siblings, it learned a fundamental instinct that will be important for you to understand. Once you know what your puppy believes about his environment, you can help it use those instincts to your advantage when training your puppy.
Newborn puppies cannot potty on their own. They do not know how to work their bowels without prompting. From the moment of your puppy's birth, its mother worked tirelessly to keep it clean. She licked and cleaned your puppy anytime it moved, after it ate, and when it woke. The momma dog does not allow her space to fill with debris.
Furthermore, American Alsatian dog breeders have hundreds of towels and water proof whelping pads. When we have a litter of puppies, towels and whelping pads are washed constantly.
These clean habits right from the beginning of a puppy's life teach a puppy that its sleeping area should be kept clean. Then, as a puppy grows and becomes mobile, it learns that going as far away as possible from their sleeping/eating area means that its main living area is kept clean.
Breeders use this instinct to their advantage in order to help keep their puppies clean. They feed and water their puppies closer to the sleeping area and create a long narrow space, instead of a short fat area, so that puppies can walk as far away as possible from their sleeping/eating/drinking area, which they prefer to do. This promotes a very strong desire to travel a long distance away from where they sleep in order to use the potty.
Just like your breeder, you can use this instinct in your home by creating a sleeping space specifically for your puppy where the water and food bowl is nearby, then have a straight clear path to the door outside where you want your puppy to potty. Furthermore, when the puppy is confined to a small enough space, it will not want to go potty in that spot because it must sleep there. This causes a situation where the puppy MUST communicate to you in order to get what it wants... to keep its "den" clean. Then, you only need to recognize your puppy's communication efforts.
In the next section of this unit, we will look at the TOOLS you will need to create the perfect environment that uses your puppy's instincts and allows your puppy to begin to communicate to you.