Potcake Training Tips

This page is a growing amalgamation of Potcake tips and tricks. Contributions have been made by real life Potcake adoptive parents. If you've newly adopted a Potcake, or if you're having some challenges with your new family member - this is a great place to come to and find advice and ideas. 

If you would like to contribute please drop us an email with any material you think relevant.


Identifying fear

Tina from 'Sit Happens' introduces the issue she needed to deal with for her puppy Marco:

Sit Happens (Dog training an behaviour)

Potcake afraid of bathtub

Beginning to overcome the puppies fear:

  • Using other animals to demonstrate
  • Encouraging the right behaviour
  • Making the bathtub a place of fun
  • Not forcing him

First steps in overcoming fear of bathtub

Introducing categories of behaviour signalling:

  • Green Lights (Happy, fun and awesome) - Elbows down, butt in the air
  • Amber Lights (Tolerating something)
  • Red Lights (Unhappy & Stressed) 

Introducing behaviour signalling

Amber (Yellow) light signals

  • Watch your dogs and chronicle what they signal
  • 'The Shake Off' - A neurological reset
    • What happened in the previous 30 mins? 
    • They would have just found something stressful

Amber light signal - The Shake Off

Whale Eye - A warning

  • Dog turns to one direction and looks in another direction
  • Dog leans back from something happening
  • Close mouth and hold breath looking in direction of stimulus
When you see this, don't force them to do anything, but you can encourage and reassure them.

Examples of whaleye

Fear and Fear Aggression

  • Aggression almost always starts with fear
  • How we handle this fear determines if the dog will be successful in handling their fear
  • Great resource to help.....A Guide to Living With & Training a Fearful Dog by Debbie Jacobs, CPDT-Ka, CAP2

Examples of whaleye


Puppies need to sleep! Don't underestimate how much they need!

Getting enough sleep?

The average puppy needs between 18 & 22 hours of sleep a day!

Things to look out for as symptoms of lack of sleep
  • Biting everything and anything?
  • Mischievous (in all directions)
  • Hyperactivity

Signs of lack of sleep

Should puppy play or sleep?

Read the body language to determine what kind of state the puppy is in.
  • Rested play - Puppy happy and playful - they're well rested
  • Twilight play - Falling into slumber - they need to go to the toilet and then for a rest
Give them the option when they wake up to play or to go to the toilet

Puppy needs to sleep or play?

Difference between resting and sleeping

  • Where is your crate/bed?
    • Quiet enough to sleep?
    • Close enough to feel safe?
    • Toys to comfort but not over excite
    • No food or drink

Creating a sleeping environment

Potty Training

Urinary Tract Infection

    • Frequent urination of small amounts a gazillion times a day
    • Maybe fussy, whining when circling and looking for spot to pee
    • Treatment - contact your Veterinarian whom will do urine culture and prescribe the proper antibiotic
    • Trim hair and keep area clean
    • Take puppy outside with you so you can observe
    • No food or drink

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

Resource Guarding

What Resource Guarding is......and isn't

    • Dogs will guard things that have value
    • Natural and normal response in dogs
    • Resource guarding is not your dog attempting to dominate you
    • Your dog is fearful that giving up what they have, they will lose it forever

Resource Guarding - What It is and Isn't

Setting the Stage

    • If your dog is severe, please go to a professional
    • Make sure everyone is safe - people, dogs and other dogs
    • Manage your dogs and remove the high anxiety
    • Start and maintain a calm environment

Resource Guarding - Setting the Stage


    • Make feeding time a calm, relaxing, bonding experience
    • Make sure safety protocols are followed

Resource Guarding - Calm

Prepping and Planning
    • Wait on calm (default polite behavior)
    • Wait for the calm / default polite behavior instead of cueing it
    • Look for food dispensing toys

Resource Guarding - Preppping and Planning

Bowl Work With Dexter

    • Start working with an empty bowl
    • Helps to work on the pups self control

Resource Guarding - Bowl Work with Dexter

Resource Guarding - Part 5

  • Keep the dog calm and start teaching your dog that your approach to the bowl means good things happen

Resource Guarding - Part 5 - Someone Approaches & Good Things Happen

Resource Guarding Toys

    • Start with low value toys first
    • Do not work with the dog when it is upset

Resource Guarding - Toys