Your Pet Question
Our 16-month-old female Shih Tzu, Taffy, still soils our home. She does a little dance to tell us she needs to go outside, but once there, she spends time just sniffing around and rarely does her business. Later, we find little ‘presents’ around the house. What can we do?
Ted Heissner, Oromocto
The Expert Says:
Often dogs will learn to ask to go outside as a means of getting attention. In this case, Taffy will need to be supervised 100% of the time while indoors until you can correct this behaviour. Tie her to your belt, or crate her when you are unable to watch her. To get her to ‘go’ outside, stand like a tree, don’t move and only say ‘go potty’ once. No eye contact and no speaking except for the cue to ‘go’. At first, being a ‘statue’ will feel like forever, but be patient, it WILL happen! If she fails to go within two minutes, return inside and crate or tie her. If she DOES ‘go’ outside, wait for her to finish completely, and then reward her immediately with praise and play. Watch for signals like panting, attention-getting or pacing to know she wants to go outside. Otherwise, take her out every hour- especially upon waking, eating/drinking and cessation of play. Eventually, she will be ‘dancing’ to go outside AND ‘going’ outside!”
Ellie Ross of Kitchener, Ontario, is a professional animal behaviour consultant, owner of Wag and Train Inc., and the expert/host of CTVswo’s “Pup Talk”.