WTD Housebreaking Program Introduction

 🌞 Good Morning everyone 🌞

Its a beautiful Sunday morning here in GA!

If you have bumped into the Wild Things website or Facebook page recently and had some questions about the Wild Things Housebreaking Program, then this blog post is for you. 

Today I would like to introduce myself and tell you more about the housebreaking program, and what inspired me to build it.

Introduction to the Trainer:

Hi, Im Erika Cobb, the Professional Dog Trainer behind Wild Things, who comes out to your home to meet you and help you with training. My passion is working with dogs who may not do well in group classes, whether they are hyper or they just take more time and attention. When I started working as a professional trainer about 8 years ago in Jacksonville, I (like so many of my peers) wanted to make an impact. As I took cases and worked with dog owners I noticed a trend. I got more calls about housebreaking than any other topic. As I talked to the customers, and asked questions, I decided that I wanted to take another look at this messier and somewhat less explored part of dog training. Potty training is the very first thing that every dog owner thinks about when they get a new dog, yet it seemed that there were no programs  (or at least not many programs) to provide advice and support specifically for housebreaking cases. So, I started one. 

Over the first year, I started to see common patterns and problems emerging. 

1) many owners needed help with dogs between the ages of 1 and 4 

2) many dog owners had talked to trainers previously about housebreaking, google searched information, paid for e-books, etc. They often said "I did apply the methods, but they DIDNT work for me." 

3) more often than not the dogs did well with housebreaking at first, but backtracked because they had developed habits that went unresolved.

4) many owners worked from 9 to 5, which meant that there was a gap in training at least 5 days a week.

5) many owners felt embarrassed to talk about housebreaking issues, especially after their dog turned 1 year old. 

6) there are not many trainers who go into the home and take a look at the environment, lifestyle, and schedules of the family to specifically address housebreaking at its core.

The list goes on… but it really hit home that dog owners NEED SUPPORT for housebreaking when it goes wrong, just as they need it for behavior modification or obedience.

If you found yourself reading that "patterns and problems list" and feeling a sense of relief that someone has addressed your struggle, then YOU are the reason that I built the program. Dont be embarrassed, I assure you, you are not alone. Studies show that 21 to 25 percent of dog owners in the United States (thats somewhere between 400,000 and 700,000 people) are having housebreaking issues right now. 

Those people have exactly the same problem that you do, their dogs need extra help to make the associations that must be made for housebreaking to be successful. 

"Potty training failure is one of the top 4 reasons that dogs get abandoned. 400,000 to 700,000 dogs go to shelters due to housebreaking accidents each year. This is a sad and frustrating fact for us here at WTD because we know that with problem solving, patience, and support… These 400,000 to 700,000 dogs could have stayed in their first homes."

Right now, there is a 14 year old husky downstairs in my living room. He is here because his owner went unsupported for 12 years, and gave up completely on housebreaking by year 3. I know that his previous owner loved him, but in all honesty, I wish I could have met and helped blaze and his owner…much earlier in his life. It took about 7 weeks and some problem solving (because he was older, intact, and had not lived inside a house for a long time), but he did become successful and stay successful for the last 2 years.

What if you and I could work together now and do for your dog, what I did for Blaze…

And improve the quality of life for both YOU and your dog…in the next 6 weeks?

Would you take that leap of faith and recommit to housebreaking? 

Q: Why are you starting a housebreaking program and why have you created it as a stand alone program?
A: We have created the housebreaking program because we see a growing need and want to help meet that need. The housebreaking advice that is out there…is good advice BUT I think that we can (and should) add to it and improve it. 

Over the last 25 to 30 years obedience training and behavior modification have made great leaps and bounds forward, improved, and saved many lives because trainers challenged old methods and advice, modified it to meet the changing world, and sought out better/healthier ways to train dogs (and their humans). 

Ive built the WTD housebreaking program as a standalone service because I think that the best way to help dog owners who are experiencing difficulty with housebreaking is to go into the home (because that is where the dog spends most of his time), and take a specific look at the individual lifestyles, varying daily routines and schedules, habits, etc. This could make a big difference in whether or not dogs stay in their original home. The only thing that dog owners are more concerned about than obedience and behavior… is urine and feces destroying their floors, carpets, and furniture. 

What if all we need to do to help dog owners is to go into the home, take a look at their specific living situation, habits, and schedules, and then help them make a detailed plan that they can follow to make housebreaking successful? 

An important side note:

If you are having trouble with housebreaking it is not because your dog is intentionally being stubborn or because he is not capable of being trained.

Going potty WHEN-ever, and WHERE-ever they are is a natural INSTINCT. What we are really trying to do when we housebreak a dog or puppy, is to change this INSTINCT. An Instinct is an action or behavior that is done naturally, without thinking about it. In this case your dogs brain is wired to instinctually "squat and go." So, we are changing this INSTINCT by helping him make several associations about when and where he is supposed to go potty, and when and where he is not supposed to go potty, etc. While some dogs make these associations quickly and easily, others  may need more direction and more time, which is both normal and natural. Your dog was born with this instinct, then for 8 weeks or more this instinct continued to be completely normal and natural for him. There is no forcing an instinct to change, and there is no rushing it, but we can help your dog by making it easier for him to learn by taking a look at his (and your) enviroment, schedule, living situation, and current habits, to see what we can do to encourage healthy associations. 

Q: Why do you offer two daily walks or home visits with the housebreaking program? 

A: WTD offers 2 walks or home visits because it can go a long way toward helping a puppy or dog to stay clean and dry (not eliminate in the house or kennel), if we offer them more scheduled opportunities to go potty outside during the day, especially if you work from 9 to 5, every weekday. If your puppy doesnt get opportunities to go potty outside for several hours each day, it will be harder to help him make associations about holding it, and only going potty outside. Unfortunately, most puppies and dogs who are starting house training cannot and will not hold it for more than 2 to 4 hours at a time, so why not help them learn by offering them the opportunity to go outside to potty. This ensures that there are not lapses in training.

Q: Why is the WTD housebreaking program 6 weeks long, and will it really take 6 weeks?

A: The WTD Housebreaking program is 6 weeks long because it can take 1 to 4 weeks to get through the inital stages where we problem solve, set your puppy or dog up for success, and work on getting your puppy to start staying clean and dry. Then, in the following weeks we continue to keep him on the plan that is working for him so that he doesnt go right back to eliminating in the house or kennel. 

The goal of the WTD housebreaking program is to provide training advice and SUPPORT during potty training… because sometimes housebreaking is more difficult than we thought it would be. 

Wild Things Training & Gear, LLC

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