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Dog Training/dog wont stay outside alone

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Question
I have had my dogs since he was 6 weeks old. I fenced the backyard so he could go outside and play and just spend time out side, However I cannot get him to stay out alone. Ever I there something i should be doing so he will go out by himself. Nothing has ever happened that would have made him afraid to do this...He loves being outside but I have to be with him..Should I just try a little time at first to try to get him used to it...

Answer
Hi Becky,

Without more information, I am guessing that your dog, since you obtained him at 6 weeks of age is very bonded to you. The best time to take a puppy away from its litter and bring it into your home is 8 weeks of age. It needs this time to bond to other dogs and learn important social skills from its mother and littermates. Puppies that leave the litter earlier than 8 weeks tend to bond more to people and less with other dogs. I am guessing that your dog simply does not like being away from you.

It is also a misunderstanding on the part of many people that dogs like to play by themselves. While it is important for a dog to learn to self-entertain, most dogs prefer the company of other dogs or people to being alone. They do not care for toys as much as they like the play and interaction that comes with toys. Some dogs are more content to just lie around in the yard and watch the world go by than others.

It is important to understand that although the backyard is a nice place for the dog to hang out safely, your dog should not be left unattended or alone for long periods of time. When I had a fenced in backyard my dogs were never left unattended. I was either outside with them putzing around in the garden or doing yardwork, or I was watching them from inside. Time in the backyard should never be used as a substitute for a walk. Dogs need a minimum of a once daily walk off the property, not just for physical exercise, but for mental stimulation. The walk is a good time to bond with your dog and just share time together.

What I would suggest for you, again without knowing more, is do as you say, try having your dog outside for short periods of time. Create a positive association for him by giving him a tasty bone or stuffed Kong to chew on while he's outside - something that he doesn't get inside. Make sure you do not pair his going outside with anything unpleasant, such as your totally leaving the property. He has already associated his going outside with your leaving.

I would also suggest putting him outside and leaving the backyard unpredictably to go inside, first for very short periods of time and then gradually increasing the time -- but don't continually increase the time so it gets longer and longer. Stay out of sight a few seconds, then closer to a minute, then less than a minute, then two minutes, then 30 seconds, then back to one minute and so on as you gradually increase the time away in an irregular fashion. Also, don't make a big deal about leaving or when you come back into the yard.

Try to find some playmates for your puppy and invite them to play with him in your backyard.

Also, start training him if you haven't already using positive reinforcement/clicker training so that he will be mentally engaged and more satisfied.

I hope these tips help you!

Good luck!

Cindy  

Dog Training

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Cindy Ludwig, M.A., R.N., KPA-CTP, CPDT-KA

Expertise

My specialty is clicker training. I'm a Karen Pryor Academy graduate and Certified Training Partner (certified clicker trainer). Karen Pryor was a marine mammal trainer and one of the early proponents of force-free animal training who helped popularize clicker training in the early 90's. I also do behavior modification with dogs that have fear, anxiety and aggression. I work with service dogs and was a certified therapy dog evaluator with two other organizations before starting my own therapy dog program, the first of its kind requiring all dog candidates to be trained with force-free methods and all evaluators to demonstrate a commitment to force-free methods. I made weekly visits with my own therapy dog to a nursing center in Dubuque, Iowa for four and a half years. I have an undergraduate degree in science and am a registered nurse with a previous specialty and certification in critical care, so I can answer questions pertaining to biology, behavior and pharmacology but because I am not a licensed veterinarian I cannot legally or ethically answer questions requesting a diagnosis. I have done graduate work in animal learning and wolf ethology, and have also completed coursework in dog biology, behavior and pet nutrition at regionally accredited U.S. universities. I continue my study of applied behavior analysis with top experts in the field. For more information and to schedule a consultation or enroll in classes, see my Canine Connection website: www.click-r-train.com.

Experience

Prior to becoming a full time professional dog trainer in May 2009 and opening my business, Canine Connection LLC I worked part time as a professional dog trainer and behavior consultant and also volunteered at humane societies in several states over a period from 1992-2009. My previous full time occupation was in the medical profession. I have completed various continuing education programs including but not limited to the Purdue University Veterinary School Principles and Techniques of Behavior Modification course; Clicker Expo; undergraduate courses in dog biology, behavior, and pet nutrition; and graduate coursework in wolf ethology. I was a Field Representative for Paws with a Cause for 3 years and train service dogs. My Golden Retriever that accompanies me in my work as a Field Representative is a "career changed" dog from the Paws breeding program that I have clicker trained as a demonstration service dog. This same dog I trained to earn the first Dog Scout title in the State of Iowa. She and I were also members of the Badger Kennel Club Drill Team and performed with the group annually at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin. My dog, Ginger and I provided weekly pet therapy visits to a local nursing center for the past three and a half years. I continue my education by participating in seminars and class offerings provided by such notable experts as Dr. Sophia Yin, Dr. Ray Coppinger, Michele Pouliot and others. My services include in-home private training and behavior modification, group classes and pet sitting. More information is available on my website: http://www.dubuquedogtraining.com.

Organizations
Founder and owner, Canine Connection LLC; Founder, Canine Connection Positively Trained Certified Therapy Dogs; Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT); 2010 APDT Education Committee; Truly Dog-Friendly Trainer Coalition; Doggone Safe; American Kennel Club

Publications
Top Tips from Top Trainers: 1001 Practical Tips & Techniques for Successful Dog Care and Training (March 2010); The Golden View; Family Connections; WQAD.com; Animal info Publications; HubPages; Finding Fuzzybutt Four Blog; Petopia Newsletter, Galena, Illinois; Suite 101; Livestrong.com; eHow.com; Dubuque 365 Ink Magazine; Dubuque Telegraph Herald; Columbia Business Times; Columbia Senior Times; Columbia Missourian; Columbia Daily Tribune; Graphic Education Corporation; Belson-Hanwright; Critical Care Nurse; Journal of Emergency Nursing; Home Healthcare Nurse; Nursing; Journal of Emergency Medical Services; Shape; Houston Community College Egalitarian; Findlay College Obelisk

Education/Credentials
B.S., Science; M.A., Higher & Adult Education with graduate work in animal learning, canine biology and behavior, pet nutrition; Graduate, Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior; Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner; Diploma, professional nursing; licensed registered nurse (R.N.); Paramedic completion program; previously licensed paramedic in Texas and Missouri

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