Canine Behavior/my minpin


tex my minpin
tex my minpin  
I have a seven month old minpin and I'm having  a few issues... My first issue is we can leave home and he will literally destroy the house. He breaks things chews up everything even though he has toys   he tears out the garbage and tears up our floor. We have tried scolding him and lightly spatting him and nothing seems to work. We feed him like he should be and he is healthy but I am running out of options.. my second issue is house training him we take him outside regularly and when he uses the bathroom we give him a treat but most of the time he just walks around and smells but never goes until we get inside we have walked him for thirty minutes at times and he still won't learn... What am I doing  wrong? My third issue is he has chewed off a piece of wood before while we were gone and when we come in he was eating it what can I do? Thanks in advance and I'm sorry it is so much to answer

You need to work with a competent trainer.  Scolding and "spatting" (whatever that means) is harmful and will make your dog more anxious and that often leads to more destructive behavior.  He needs to be assessed for separation anxiety (did he destroy flooring near a door that leads outside?)  Try searching the Pet Professional Guild listings or Karen Pryor Academy listings for a positive trainer who has experience with destructive behaviors.  If he does have SA, or is headed in that direction, you may want to read Patricia McConnell's "I'll Be Home Soon"
Alternatively, he may just be bored, and terriers love to shred things - perhaps he'd be safer crated, if this isn't due to SA.  Here's how to make him LOVE his crate:
Also, there's a great DVD by Susan Garrett called "Crate Games"

I suspect you may have scolded or startled him for having accidents in the house, too, which may be why he won't go outdoors (he may have learned that urinating in front of you is dangerous!).  This is often humans' first response to a dog that doesn't seem to get it, and it can really make house training hard.

Try this system for a few weeks:


1.   Keep your eye on the dog. Any time the pup is out of his crate, you need to be watching, and not from a distance!  Use a waist leash or tether the dog to your belt.  If Spot looks like he’s looking for a “spot”, say “Outside?” and gently, but quickly, take him out to the “approved area”.  Learn your dog’s signals – does he sniff?  Does he circle?  Some pups are subtle and don’t ask in obvious ways – act preemptively and take him out.  Use the same words all the time for the same functions.  They can learn to do pee or poop on command!  Your neighbors will be jealous in January when you aren’t standing outside for a half hour waiting for your pup to poop!

2.   No scolding for accidents - ever.  Mistakes are nothing more than lack of human supervision. (See rule #1 )  If you scold, an unintended consequence might be that your puppy learns that it’s dangerous to pee in front of the human.  That’s how dogs learn to “hide” their “accidents.”
Accidents are the human’s fault for not watching the dog!

3.   Crate the puppy, or tether the pup to your waist, when you can’t watch directly.  Most dogs are reluctant to soil the “den”.  Be sure that the crate is only large enough for puppy to stand, turn, and lie down.  Any bigger and he can “get away” from the mess, so he might soil one end and sleep in the other.  Buy a small crate, or partition off a larger one.  Make the crate a happy place to be!  Use treats to get him to go in willingly.  How to crate train your puppy: or  

4.   Reward for quick results outdoors.  Have a few treats in your pockets all the time.  Tell puppy “hurry up” or “go pee”.  When puppy piddles in the right spot, wait till he’s done (or he might think he’s being rewarded for shutting off the stream), then quickly say, “Good pee” and offer a treat. If he doesn’t go, crate him and try again every fifteen minutes until he does.  Reward!!! Soon, you will have your pup pee’ing when you cue him to “Go pee”.

5.   Important: Don’t just put the pup outside to do his business, he won’t be learning anything! Stay with him.  Reward him for a good performance and teach those cues!  
Once he gets it, start rewarding every other time, or every third time.  Start using praise intermittently, instead of food for every single performance.

6.   Don’t clean accidents in front of Fido – Dogs are interested in what you are interested in – don’t accidentally train your dog to be interested in poop!  He may start snacking…

7.   Use an enzymatic cleaner to remove all trace of odor from indoor accidents (Trail, Petastic, Simple Solution, or Nature’s Miracle).  Dogs return to the aroma – you need to get rid of it.

8.   Times to take Fido out:  Very soon after he wakes, eats, drinks, or plays.

9.    How long can he really hold it? One hour longer than his age (in months) if he is awake.  Small breeds have small bladders and may need more frequent trips outside.  Pups that can sometimes hold it all night may still have to go if they awaken, and may not be able to hold it for the same length of time during the day.  If he does go out in the middle of the night, put him quietly back in his crate when you come in, with no treat, no fuss, and no play!  He will learn that nighttime is sleep time, even if there’s a brief potty break.  If you are a 9-5’er, consider hiring a dog walker until puppy is house trained.

Canine Behavior

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Anne Springer, B.S., Dip., CAPCT


I am happy to answer questions about: dog behavior and training, therapy dogs, training disabled dogs, training recently rescued dogs, and managing off leash play groups.


Professionally involved in teaching private and group lessons, and doing behavior consultations. American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, Therapy Dogs, Inc. Tester/Observer. Special interest in pet/elder issues, and in therapy dogs.

Truly Dog Friendly Association of Pet Dog Trainers International Positive Dog Training Association Therapy Dogs, Inc.

Gloucester Times Cape Ann Beacon Ipswich Chronicle Beverly Citizen Salem News

Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, Cum Laude. Diploma in Dog Obedience Instruction, Graduate of NY School of Dog Grooming, Certified Advanced Pet Care Technician - American Boarding Kennels Assn., Certified Pet First Aid & CPR, American Red Cross

Awards and Honors
2002 Caregiver Award from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, for Pawsitive Connections Program (pet/elder issues)

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