When to stop rewarding puppy for going potty outside?
(Erie, Pa, US)
I have a 3 month old Lab who is fairly well potty trained. He has accidents sometimes but knows to go to the door when he has to potty.
Well, we are rewarding him with treats when he potties outside but now I'm wondering when is the right time to stop giving him a treat every time he potties outside.
I'm nervous he will be mad at us and not understand why we stopped. Please help?
It sounds as though your puppy is doing very well with his potty training so far, so well done!
Puppies do learn more quickly when they're rewarded for the right behavior, so using treats as a reward for pottying in the desired spot is good. But of course you don't want to be doing this f-o-r-e-v-e-r. However, he's only 3 months old and personally I think it's find to keep giving him a treat when he does what you want him to for now.
A lot depends on the puppy himself, but sometime within the next few months you could start to phase out the 'every time' treats. He definitely won't be mad at you, although he may be a bit confused when he doesn't get a treat each time, he'll probably think you simply forgot at first.
I wouldn't advise stopping 'cold turkey' though as that might cause too much confusion, instead start to phase out the treats by not giving him one every now and then to begin with. Just randomly. Do give him lots of praise though so he still knows he's been a 'good boy'.
Over time you can reduce the number of times he gets a treat, so that it ends up with him only getting a tasty reward now and again - often enough that he won't forget he MIGHT get one though. That's the trick to keeping him motivated because every time he's hoping that THIS is the time! It's pretty standard practice when training and by the time he's an adult you can cut out the treats altogether if you want to.
Hope this helps, best of luck with your pup.
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