Management Isn't Training

Management is controlling the environment to prevent unwanted behavior.  If you have a dog that won’t always come when called, you might manage his behavior by putting a leash on him.  While management is an important first step in changing behavior, by itself, it’s not going to teach new  behaviors.  Putting a dog on leash for walks won’t teach the dog to come when called or stay with you when off leash.

Some trainers might suggest management as a tool for training dogs and this is where it can cause issues.  When potty training a puppy for instance, one suggestion might be to limit the puppies water intake to prevent potty accidents.  Now on the surface, this method will probably produce some results in decreasing potty accidents, but it doesn’t do anything to teach the pup where to potty.  Another management idea for potty training might be to have the puppy spend the majority of it’s time outside. Again, this won’t do anything to teach the puppy where to go potty, he’s simply going outside because that’s where he is already.

When potty training a puppy two things must happen.  One, we need to teach the pup the appropriate place to eliminate.  Two, we need to strengthen the pup’s ability to hold it until they’re in that appropriate place.  I first want to set the puppy up for success by making their world small. This means using baby gates, X-pens, and closing doors so that it’s easier for you to watch the puppy. Then i use a timer to remind myself to take the pup out every 30 minutes. We go out the same door to the same spot (potty spot) every time. If the pup doesn’t go when I take them out, then I set the timer for 15 mins knowing I can’t take my eyes off of them.

This is the first article in a series of Pawsitive Training Tipsy Tuesday articles focusing on giving you valuable tips for training your puppy.  Next week I’ll give you more potty training tips to set you up for success.

Happy Training,


Marty Strausbaugh