Shy Papillon

Posted by Melissa
Jun 3, 2009
Hello! We recently brought home a 1 y.o. (and 4 month) papillon, Buddy. I have a couple of issues I need to address with him.

He was part of a breeding program with several other dogs. They were able to freely go in and out of the house via a doggie door to go potty. We don't have that option at our house. Buddy was the most social of the bunch. The others were kind of shy. Now that we have him home we are unsure how to housebreak him. He sticks very closely when we go outside but if there is any loud noise (and there almost always is a lawn mower or car driving by or birds and squirrels) he heads straight back to the house and wants to go back inside. I can coax him back into the yard but never long enough for him to go potty, and he doesn't associate the word with going anyway. I am cleaning up a LOT of messes. I am sure there are some I have missed and I am afraid my house is going to smell like dog pee if I don't do something soon! Also I am wondering how to go about training him for basic commands like SIT and STAY do you take a different approach when "teaching old dogs new tricks?"
Posted by KOPsarah
Jun 9, 2009
Hi melissa, thanks for your post and congratulations on your recent adoption!

Many dogs from breeding facilities are not used to the same life as most domestic dogs and basically have about the same understanding of how the human household works as a young puppy. Because of these you can teach the everything as if they were a puppy because they are basically starting from scratch. This includes toilet training and commands. Follow the guidelines in your secrets to dog training manual to get started. Your dog has also probably not been exposed to many of the noises and situations that other dogs have as puppies and because of this everything is going to be strange and scary. Start small with trips into the yard, try feeding the dog on the outside step while you are near by. Praise him for being calm and concentrating on his meal. Play with him on the doorstep with his favorite toys and treats and praise him all the time he is being calm rather than nervous. If he rushes back inside stay on the step and ignore this nervous behavior. He should eventually come back to the step because there is nothing else interesting to do and when he does praise him and treat him. As he gets more confident over time more further from the house remembering to always ignore nervous behavior but praise calm brave behavior well.

Because it will take a while before he is happy going out doors you may consider using puppy pads inside to toilet train him as you would with a puppy. Alternatively try and make a little safe area for him to toilet outside near a doorway so he feels he can rush back inside if he needs to. Try and make it a private area and put a little house there or something he can hide in if hes not feeling brave. The three most important things for toilet training are having a safe specified area to toilet, being taken to the toilet spot very regularly, and finally being praised for toileting in the right area. Putting a word to the toileting action is outline in your secrets manual and can come a little later once he is going reliably in the right place.

I hope you find this useful and please don't hesitate to ask any further questions or for clarification on any point. Let me know how you get on.