Tried & Tested: Behavioural Therapy & Dog Training for Toileting Issues Part 1


Dear canine community, we have a confession to make. Being a good (and most importantly firm) pet parent is not a skill that came naturally to us and until just a few months ago, our own little ten-month-old treasure/terror was not a shining example of a well-trained dog. Sure we grew up with dogs, carrying out daily duties such as feeding and walking but nothing quite prepares you for your own dog, one that you are wholly responsible for 24:7 and who’s behaviour is a product of your creation. 

Whilst we’ve been able to gloss over a few of ‘Borstal’ Basil issues, we couldn’t ignore his toileting faux pas, which were taking place in our home most days. Granted his crate training hadn’t got off to the best start and we also kept moving and increasing his ‘spots’ around the house in an attempt to reduce the problem but in our defence we live in a three-storey house with the lounge on the middle floor so catching the signs in time to get him downstairs was a challenge.

To remedy the situation we sought advice from a multitude of sources - the internet (a hot bed of contradiction), fellow owners, the course leader at Kennel Club training to name but a few. The vet nurse seemed to offer the most logical advice to suit our home – placing puppy pads or newspaper sprayed with a toilet scent spray in his most frequent spot, which we were to gradually move closer to the back door. Epic fail! Basil’s ‘presents’ would still be waiting at the bottom of the stairs regardless and only making it on the paper by sheer fluke.


Several clumps of hair torn out, it was time to call in the dog training experts. Someone who can meet Basil, see our set-up, discuss our lifestyle, give us one-on-one attention and devise a bespoke plan to follow. Enter Jo Milgrew a behavioural therapist and dog trainer for Bark Busters, who we now consider Basil’s fairy godmother. Jo’s average canine cases tend to be more problematic than Mr Pissy Pants - serial biters, the overtly aggressive or dogs with severe separation anxiety issues but she agreed to help, highlighting that often one problem is born from several … and she’s right there’s more than one part to this feature.

For the first visit, we camped up in the kitchen armed with biscuits and tea for an afternoon of discussing dogs. The session kicked off with Jo conducting an interview to find out about Basil’s daily routine (sleep patterns, feeding, walking times and frequency), where he sleeps, where’s he allowed to go in the house, how and what we play with him, his grasp of commands, how he’s reprimanded, where he stays if we go out and most importantly the dreaded toilet situation. We talked her through our attempts to tackle the problem – puppy pads, grass potty trainers, newspapers and the garden.

Interview over, Jo gave us her verdict; we’d given poor Basil too many options! Now for those clever clogs, who had their pup’s behaviour licked early doors that may seem pretty obvious but for us this feedback was priceless, as there’s only so much poop scooping and wee-wiping a person can handle without cracking. She also explained that structure is key to being good dog-parents and here’s the harsh bit - Basil was the one who had us doing to the sit, down and stay not the other way round.

Jo then took us through a bespoke, step-by-step plan to help get what will now be referred to as toilet-gate under control, which we will share with you in tomorrow’s post. We signed up to Bark Buster’s Silver Class Service, which gives 12 months access to your trainer. Jo Milgrew is a Bark Buster’s behavioural therapist and dog trainer for the South Essex area. For more information and for details on her services visit Jo’s page on the Bark Buster’s website. To find your local Bark Buster’s representative, visit Barkbusters.co.uk.

Have you ever experienced training or behavioural issues with your dog? How did you tackle the problem? We’d love to hear your experiences. Simply click on ‘comment’ below to share.

Like or love this post? Share or comment below.

Event: Brighton's Doggy Pride
Tried & Tested: Behavioural Therapy & Dog Training...





Check out our dog-friendly travel and hols tips for @charleychau > https://t.co/pL8rKCHExv
Who's going to @fetchandfollow Canine Cupid Market for Dogs & Dog Lovers this weekend? @BasilBarkarama and I are fo… https://t.co/y72wot9W6L
Doggo news! You can now get @tangleteezer for dogs 🐶🐶🐶 head this way for all the deets > https://t.co/jRtUsm050Phttps://t.co/hH7hQkIOvx
Festive blog post - 4 ways to make life #betterwithpets and @Purina https://t.co/0ZH3gBrB4j Happy Christmas hounds,… https://t.co/NW3WkyuoW0
@TheDogvine Thanks for the share! Hope you liked the end result x