Burning questions


Well-Known Member
Hi. I am a proud owner of a 4 month old Shih Tzu named Kleo. This is my first time training a dog. We have come a long way in the month that I have had her! She can already sit, lay down, shake, wave, roll over, and our newest trick is the 'Bang' trick which took some practice, but she is starting to get it. I have found most of the answers to my questions here on this wonderful website, but there are some that I still don't exactly have answers for. So, I thought I would just post them in one thread instead of creating a new thread for each question. Here is what I need your advise on:

1. Kleo does all of the above tricks for me, but not for my husband or kids. Is this normal and how do I involve the family with training her?

2. Kleo does not perform the requested trick (with the exception of sit) on my first command. I usually have to repeat the command at least twice before she will do it for me, sometimes I have to repeat myself many times. Is this common for puppies, and I am just expecting too much from her?

3. How do I know if she is ready to learn a new trick? Should I wait until she has the previous trick down perfect before starting on a new one.

4. Any suggestions on how to get her to stop eating poopies? I usually just clap my hands and tell her no in a firm voice, and it stops her at the moment, but it doesn't seem to stop her from trying to do it again the next time we go out. I don't understand why she likes it so much!

5. I have been training Kleo with dog treats. I could really use some good ideas on what kinds of treats to use, that will not fill her up with empty calories.

6. Is it too late to introduce a clicker, or should I stick with what we have done already so I don't confuse her. I can see how effective the clickers are and now I wish I would have used one from the get go.

Well, that's all I can think of for today. Thanks for reading this and I look forward to your suggestions. Have a great day everyone!:dogbiggrin:


New Member
I'm glad you have found it so helpful here, as many of us feel the same way. I sure don't know where my training would be without the DTA.. I'll just give my voice on the issues/questions. Others may have better suggestions, but this is just how I look at them.

1. I think it is fairly common for a dog or puppy to listen best or do tricks only for their main pack leader. Which of course is you. Try having the others work with the dog with tricks, and make sure they have a treat to give. Maybe have them give a command with you standing there so the dog feels like it still should be behaving properly. (just a few suggestions..)

2. Often when someone teaches a trick, they will use the verbal command a lot. Ex: Teaching a dog to sit. The person teaching says "sit" WAYYYYY before the dog does it, and usually repeats it many many times while training prior to ever getting the correct outcome. So now once the dog knows the command they know that they just are going to sit while they are hearing sit.. sit.. sit.. Kinda know what I mean? So try giving one command, and waiting for the proper result. If you have to repeat don't do it right away or else the dog might begin to think they are supposed to Sit on the 8th time you say it..

3. I don't wait to teach a new trick until my pup has one down.. I just never teach multiple tricks in the same training session.

4. No suggestions here.. One of our dogs does this and we can't get her to stop. I saw some spray or some kind of item sold in a doctor fosters and smith book to get them to stop. It is supposed to make it taste terrible to them, but who knows..

5. I used "treats" in the beginning, but I have since started just using kibble. I feed my dog 1 3/4 cups twice a day, and so in the morning I fill the bowl and then just take out as much as I need to train and then put back in what I don't use. There are multiple recipes on the forum, none of which I have gotten around to trying, but I would imagine they are all pretty good to at least try. I've always just kept my dog to only eating her food, so the use of her food for treats works good for us.

6. It's never too late to introduce a clicker. Try it out and see if you like using one.. I am fairly confident you will like it, and your results will be even faster then your already quick learning dog =)

Hope this helps, I'm sure you'll get some more input that is far better, but at least you've got a start now.


Well-Known Member
Thank you so much! Those are great suggestions! Especially #2. I feel better knowing that it's a common problem and not just happening to me. I will try and be more patient and wait longer before asking her again. It's also good to know that I can introduce a new trick at any time and teach her a couple of new tricks at a time, as long as I don't do them both in the same session. I think it's fun to mix it up a bit, but I was affraid I would confuse her. Also, I'm going to run out and buy a clicker (I'm hoping help incourage her to do her tricks on the first command) and I'm also going to try just kibble for her treats. I don't know why I didn't think of that!

Thanks again! You were verry helpful. I will let you know how it goes.


New Member
Eating poop: I have put black pepper on my grass before to keep my BC pup from eating poop and it works, of course picking up daily works also ;)
Good luck. Let us know how it goes. Hope to see you in some of the challanges!


Experienced Member
Congratulations with your new puppy! It is so good that you are starting training early, she is going to learn things so fast!

1. I do think it is pretty normal for a dog to perform better for one person then everyone else. Usually it is either because the other people are doing things a little bit differently (not consistent, different hand signals/words, maybe they're too harsh or impatient, or not as good timing with the rewards) or the dog learns it can get away with more things from somebody else (especially from kids who can't be as authoritative). I would just try arming your hubby and kids with better rewards (real chicken, hotdogs, etc) and sitting down with them while they start training. They can also be in charge of feeding her and having her do some tricks before getting fed.

2. I don't like to teach a dog a verbal command until I can bet $100 that my dog will do the action. So until I have a hand signal for down, I don't say the words "down"! I do this because otherwise the dog keeps hearing down, down, down, while they're not even sure of what the action is yet. They tend to tune out our words since we talk so much and maybe even learn that the command is down, down, down, instead of just down. So I would go back and teach her hand signals first, and then if she doesn't respond to your verbal commands do not repeat them over and over. You can turn your back on her, even walk away, so her not responding means that she loses the reward and your attention.

3. The more tricks you can teach the better! You want her to love learning and things do not need to perfect in order to increase her education! It may be helpful to have a couple minutes breaks between tricks though.

4. Eating poop is pretty natural for dogs to do. There is still a lot of nutrients in it that they want a second helping of. You can try playing around with what type of food you are feeding her and see if that helps. Otherwise they are products such as Forbid and some homemade recipes that have about a 50% chance of solving this problem. But there is unfortunatly no easy fix, many people just keep their yard spotless!

5. As for treats you can use whatever you want, there's some recipes on this forum. I just like soft treats that I can break up into really tiny pieces.

6. It is never to late to start using a clicker!


Experienced Member
im having trouble with koda, she now has a taste for cat poo, i dont know why but it started when we were at home on our front yard i noticed she started to eat something i growlled and she did drop it, but the problem is now shes smelling it out and shes eating it down the road or at the park, we dont actually have cats but our neighbours do and you know what cats are like, but is this normal shes not eating dog poo just cat poo?????
how can i get her to stop i am teaching her the LEAVE IT, she knows this command but when it comes to poop she forgets everything just to run away because she knows im coming to take it off her

please help its gross and her breath stinks after it


Well-Known Member
Cat poo?? Eww. No good. I hope someone can help you! I myself have never heard of that.

Thank you so much fickla for taking the time to post back! Good idea about not using the verbal command until she has the hand signal down. I will take a step back for a week or so and train with just the hand signals, then try to re introduce the verbal commands.

I actualy have one more question. Kleo was wee wee pad trained already when I brought her home from the breeder, and that has worked out fine for her and she uses it about 90% of the time (we still have the occasional accident). However, I would love for her to potty outside only. Is it going to be difficult for her to learn this and how would you suggest I go about it. She does go potty outside also with no troubles, but she has not yet learned a signal for me to let her outside to go. Should I just get rid of the indoor pads completely and see what happens? I was going to try and start crate training her, but I don't exactly get the concept, and when I confine her she cries immediatly, so I bagged that idea. I've never housebroken a pup before so if anyone can lead me in the right direction I would so appreciate it!!

Thanks again for your time!


Honored Member
Staff member
Storm, I'm sending you a PM regarding the poo-fetish issue you're dealing with. :)

Autumn, you can still crate train her successfully without any crying. How did you approach crate-training? Of course, crate-training is not the only way to housebreak your dog. There are many other methods. :)


New Member
For poo eating I tried many things - adolphs tenderizer on their food (makes the poo smellier and supposedly less tasty), pineapple juice - a tablespoon a day on their food... tobasco on the pooh itself (if I am going to go out and sprinkle, why not scoop?)...

My dog only ate his own poo and one of the pugs (not the others) and only at home - nowhere else...

AFTER I made sure he did not have any nutritional reason to be seeking to eat... I took a serious step and in the end - and it cured it completely once and for all - I used a remote collar. It took three, properly applied signals (it took me half of a 12 week course to get to the moment of application*). He no longer looks at poop. No way, no how, not ever, not anywhere.

*I want you to know I took training and learned how to PROPERLY use this device for behavior modification.


Well-Known Member
Cowgirl, I actually decided to just gate off my hallway to replicate a crate. It has a door at one end and a baby gate on the other end that looks into our livingroom. The space is about 6 feet long (I can make it a smaller space if need be). I put in a water dish, her bed, and a few toys. I set her in and sat on the other side of the gate and just watched her for a few minutes. She basically checked everything out and then just sat by the gate staring at me. I took her out, waited a few minutes, put her back in. I did this a few times, left her there a few minutes longer each time, and everything seemed to be going well. The problem started when I decided to walk away from her. INSTANT CRYING so I took her out right away. I kept trying over the course of a couple of days, but I can't stand to listen to her cry. It's not barking or a little whining, it is full on crying. Breaks my heart!! Trust me, if you could hear it, it would break your heart too. Now when I just put her in she cries even if I'm right next to her.

I guess I don't understand how this works. I have read about it, but I just don't get it. I'm supposed to leave her in there because then she won't go potty near her bed and will learn to hold it. But for how long? and how many times a day? Like I said, this is new territory to me, so I need step by step detailed instructions. If anyone can point me to a good article or book on crate training I would get going on this right away if I thought it would get her to go potty outside only.

On a positive note, all of your ideas have helped us alot this week. I have gone back to just hand signals, and she is responding very quickly!! I was amazed! It seemed so easy for her! So, I am going to continue on this way for the rest of the week, then I will start re introducing the verbal commands. Also, I tried Fickla's idea to let the kids give her the 'good' treats to get her to do tricks for them, and boy did that work! Also, I think she is doing better with them since we are only using hand signals. So thanks for those tips!


Experienced Member
thanks for the reply, i do have her on the lead most times but im trying to train her without her lead, but when you have the dogs away and the cats go into there yard to poop thats when it gets hard, we have a neighbours cats who jumps into our yard and craps, it was just doing it on our front yard, but the other day i was riding past without the dogs (they stayed at work) and saw the cat pooping in our backyard, (damn it), but we are starting to train her to not get it, SLOWLY haha


Experienced Member
I actually hate potty pads if your goal is for your dog to ONLY go outside. The pads teach your dogs that it is ok to go inside sometimes, as well as they never fully learn to hold thier bladder since there is always a pad available with no wait for someone to let them out. So yes, I would get rid of them completely IF you have the time to start really teaching her.

It will be a tiny bit harder for her to learn to go outside only once the pads are gone so you are going to have to pretend she is a brand new puppy and take her out a ton more often. Basically everytime she wakes up, eats, drinks, plays really hard, etc she will need to go outside. I would take her outside on leash to a specific spot in your yard and praise her like crazy when she goes. She can also get play time when she is done going potty, but must do her business first! (Otherwise she will be so distracted she will forget to go and will then pee on your floor). I like to use a 2 min -10 min rule with puppies. So I give them 2mn (or however patient you are it can be longer) to go outside, if they don't go I bring them inside their crate for 10 minutes. I then keep cycling through until they learn they have to go potty right away or the fun ends. The crate is not a punishment, but they don't get full run of the house until thier bladder is empty! (maybe just tether her to you inside until you learns to like her crate a bit better though.) If she does potty in her crate/hallway, you need to make it a smaller space, just big enough to turn around and stand up without hitting her head, because she's probably sleeping at one end and peeing on the other end.

And some dogs never learn to tell you when they have to go, it's just not very natural. But they do learn to hold it until they get to go outside. She is a little young though so she might still develop a signal as she gets older, but otherwise don't worry about it- just watch her for signs of sniffing, circling, etc. and then take her out!

As for the crate (or hallway thing you're doing) you have just trained her that her crying equals freedom! It is normal for her not to want to be away from you, however if you don't teach her separation now it will only get worse and maybe become separation anxiety as she gets older. So the first step is to start giving her amazing toys and treats that she ONLY gets when she is in her "crate." Then as hard as it may be, you need to ignore her completely when she starts to whine. This will take longer as she already has been rewarded for crying, but she has to eventually stop crying. As soon as she is quiet for maybe 2-3 minutes, you can let her out! but i would probably ignore her right away when you let her out too as you don't want to make a huge deal out of her leaving her crate. Gradually leave her for longer and longer periods of time. If it gets really bad, you can try to distract her crying by using a shake can (pop can with pennies) to get her to be quiet and just stand by the crate feeding her treats when she is quiet. But just ignore all crying completely, i know that it's hard!

The crate is just a management tool though. So when you can't watch your dog, put her in the crate or tether her to you. Otherwise she will develop bad puppy habits! So she doesn't need to be in there all the time, just when you are teaching her the crate is a good thing, and to give you some peace!


Well-Known Member
Oh, i see! For potty training purposes, I use the crate for when I when we come back inside and she hasn't gone potty yet! After she goes, then I can let her roam for a while. That makes perfect sense. I don't know why I couldn't grasp that concept. Anyways, yes I have the time (and the determination) to teach her this and we are going to start today. I am going to follow your instructions completely and I will let you know how it goes. I can not thank you enough for taking time to help me out!

I kind of figured I was teaching her a bad habit by letting her out of her crate when she cried. I have four boys myself, and I remember when they were babies and I was trying to get them to sleep in their crib, our doctor told me that when they cried to go in and comfort them, but don't pick them up. Otherwise they will never be able to learn to sleep alone. That thought crossed my mind as I was taking Kleo out of her crate. I'm going to have to be much stronger today!


Experienced Member
Glad I could help! And yes, the crate helps in potty training because it's a nice safe place that she can chill out in when you can't keep a good eye on her or if you think she has to go but is too distracted to actually pee outside.

You're right, puppies are just like babies :)


Experienced Member
im soo glad we have wooden floors, its easier to clean than carpet if they have a mishap, ive never used training pads before, we just watch the dogs carefully, koda was much easier than storm to train, she kinda was insticntly toilet trained from 5weeks (when we got her) but storm took like 6months to fully house train (he wouldnt notice till it was too late) but he'd rather be outside, he was always that kind of dog too, he didnt like being inside the day we bought him home, he came from a farm so we werent too suprised that he liked the outdoors

but good luck with toilet training it can be a pain