It happens all the time - you spend hours lugging the Christmas tree home, wrestling with lights and trying not to drop the heirloom holiday ornaments your great aunt left you - and the second you step back to admire your handiwork a certain pupster lifts a leg to add his own personal touch to your tree. You can't blame your pet, he probably thinks you got him a snazzy indoor potty for Christmas. But you can take measures to curb this behavior before the guests come over.
Dealing with a dog that pees on the Christmas tree requires the exact same type of management, redirection, and reinforcement that potty training a new puppy requires. Here is a protocol for managing and training the dog that marks on Christmas trees:
Prong collars are not my preferred method for training walking on a loose leash for the simple reason that the timing of the "pop" needs to be at JUST the right moment and to effectively use these, you need to know what you want from your dog. Without this, you will end up jerking your dog's leash meaninglessly. Your dog, under that circumstance, will make no changes to his behavior as you jerk for any and all reasons. You may end up with a dog that hates walks or shows aggression. Another option is the Easy Walk Harness or Sporn. The Easy Walk Harness takes the oomph out of the dog pulling with the shoulders, as it hooks in the front, making it impossible for the dog to pull, while the Sporn redistributes the weight to under the front legs.
Tammy Reinarz, CPDT-KA and a Professional Member of the APDT, has been training dogs of all breeds within the Central PA area since 2005.
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