Read these 15 Dog Housetraining Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Dog tips and hundreds of other topics.
An important part of housebreaking a puppy is to start having a routine for taking her outside to eliminate. Take your puppy outside to eliminate first thing in the morning, after meals, before bedtime, and in the middle of the night if necessary. Give her time to do her business and avoid all interaction until she does so. Then praise her for eliminating. You can expect some accidents in the beginning. Just address them right at the time that it takes place with a firm, "No!" and then show your puppy where to eliminate.
Litter training was once reserved only for cats, but in recent years been used to train canines for housebreaking as well. The equipment is very basic and consists of a sturdy plastic pan to house the litter, a bag of dog litter, and a scooper to clean out the mess. The concept to teach your dog is very similar to paper training, but clean up is often easier. You scoop, toss, and you're done. The pellets are a highly absorbent material, imbedded with a scent which is meant to attract dogs to eliminate there.
Litter training is ideal for small to medium sized dogs and for people who live in apartments or lack easy access to the outdoors.
If you're in the midst of housetraining your puppy, here's a few important points that will help the process go more smoothly.
1. Pick a routine to start, so that your puppy can know when to expect to go outside. After meals, in the morning, and before bedtime are ideal potty breaks.
2. If you can't be there to watch your puppy, use a crate to aid in housebreaking. Remember that your puppy has limited bladder control at a young age and still needs to be taken out frequently.
3. Pick a safe and secure designated area so that your puppy knows where to eliminate.
Is your housetrained canine suddenly peeing in the house? Unfortunately, sometimes even housetrained dogs will urinate to mark their territory. You'll know he's marking if it's a small spray of urine instead of the normal flow you would see if he were relieving himself. The first thing to do is to rule out any health problems like incontinence or a urinary tract infection. If your dog is indeed marking, it could be due to insecurity or separation anxiety. Consider if there have been any major changes in his environment that could cause stress. One way to help curb the problem is remove any urine odor where your dog has marked. Here's a homemade recipe to do just that:
• Add one part vinegar and one part water. Mix and apply to the messy area.
If your dog is peeing in the house, you need to take some steps to address the problem. Scold her immediately, while she has been caught peeing. You can tell her firmly, "No!" and then show her where to go eliminate right away. Don't make the mistake of losing your temper as you'll only confuse your dog. You should also never reprimand your dog even a minute after she's had an accident. She won't be able to associate what you are scolding her for with what she's done.
When housetraining your dog, use the same phrase or term every time he eliminates. For instance, every time you take your dog outside for a potty break, say, "Go Outside". Use this command or whatever phrase you choose each time you expect your dog to relieve himself. Your canine will soon learn when he is expected to go. Always allow sufficient time for your dog to eliminate.
Establish a specific area in your yard for your dog to eliminate each time to protect your lawn and simplify clean up. Each time you take your dog out, lead him to the designated area, instruct him to, "Go Potty," and refrain from any other interaction or playtime until he does his business.
• For easy clean up, you can use plastic sandwich bags, plastic grocery shopping bags, or a commercial waste pick-up bag. Using your hand inside the bag, pick up the waste, turn the bag inside out, and you have instant clean up.
You can housebreak your puppy by "paper training". If you choose this method, make sure that you remember a few key points:
• Pick a designated area to consistently use for your puppy's elimination.
• Teach your puppy to recognize a command word such as, "Potty" or "Papers" when you want her to relieve herself.
• Once your dog is in the designated area, ignore her until she does eliminate.
• Never use the designated area for play or near her eating or sleeping area.
The key to housetraining your new puppy is consistency. With a puppy, be prepared to make outdoor bathroom visits ten to fifteen minutes after every meal for the first couple of months.
A puppy's baldder is not big enough to sleep through the night without going to the bathroom. It can be very tempting to simply lay down some newspaper so the dog can go inside or use training pads initially. This is a good idea for initial training, but many dogs trained on 'pitty pads' as puppies don't transition to outdoors later. Rugs around the house appear to be simply new or different version of the pitty pad long after they are no longer a puppy.
Accidents should be dealt with immediately if caught in the act, but NEVER use the old newspaper across the nose punishment. A stern 'OUTSIDE' command or 'let's go potty' in an excited voice and tone, followed by a quick trip outside gets the point across with time. A puppy does not yet understand where to go to the bathroom. It is up to you to patiently show the puppy that bathroom breaks happen outside - not on the closest rug.
Dog's noses can identify scents 40 times greater than human can. And urine scents are triggers for any puppy or dog (even a human's urine scent left behind somewhere). Children still wearing diapers and sitting down somewhere will leave the urine trigger behind. Use an enzyme product such as "Nature's Miracle" in a spray bottle to immediately neutralize the odor. For massive clean ups, use a 1 to 3 mixture of white vinegar and water (1 part vinegar, 3 parts water).
Be aware that household cleaners that contain ammonia will provide urine triggers long after their use. Contact a professional rug cleaning firm and advise them of the known spots on your carpet to be assured they use professional chemicals to reach down into the carpet's matting and carpet backing.
As a last resort and if you have time, use the umbilical training method. Keep your older puppy on harness and lead, attached around your wrist so that wherever you do, the puppy needs to as well. This is best done on a long 3-day weekend, for puppies will attempt to hide from you when finding the need to urine or defecate. This is impossible if they are connected to your wrist and will make you more aware of their internal potty schedules as well!
Be consistent and you will find it is relatively easy to housetrain your new pup!
If your puppy is slow to learn potty training, the problem may be that he's not getting the message. It's important when potty training to be consistent and clear to your young dog so that he knows where he can and can't eliminate.
Establish a routine so that your puppy knows when he can expect to go potty. Try first thing in the morning, after meals, before bedtime, and the middle of the night, if necessary.
If you cannot be there to watch your puppy, place him in a crate. Always allow for frequent opportunities to go out to eliminate, as he is still young and has limited bladder control.
Also keep a firm watch on your puppy. If he does have an accident, let him know immediately that the behavior is not acceptable with a firm, "No!" Then promptly take him to the correct elimination area so that he knows where he can go potty.
To teach your canine to signal when he wants to go outside, you have to train him to associate a certain cue with being let outside to eliminate. For instance, you could attach a small bell to the door and ring it each time you let your pooch outside to go potty. Each time he hears the bell, he'll associate it with going out to eliminate. Eventually, you will want to encourage your canine to ring that bell himself. Reward your dog each time he rings the bell with a treat, immediately let him outside, and give him the command to eliminate. Your canine will be alerting you to potty breaks in no time.
Litter training, like any other form of housebreaking, requires, patience, consistency, and a great deal of diligence with your puppy. Make sure that your puppy learns that the litter box is where she should eliminate and create a consistent routine for her to have potty breaks there. Try taking her for a potty break first thing in the morning, after meals, before bedtime, and in the middle of the night, if necessary. If you cannot watch her, have an alternate plan, such as a crate to place her in. Always let her out frequently to allow her to relieve herself. Occasionally, you may get a dog who thinks the pellets are better for chewing on than using for elimination. In that case, you might consider paper training or another method of housebreaking.
If you live in a climate where it's much too hot to go outside to teach your puppy housetraining skills, you can still try a few things. One option is to train your puppy using the paper training method. Commercial potty pads are available for just this purpose to help keep your floors free of any mess. Teach him to go in a designated area each time and give a command word such as, "Potty".
Another consideration might be to set up a shaded area outside of your home where your dog may be able to go. This can be accomplished by something as simple as an open kennel run and a kennel roof.
If your puppy is starting to learn the rules of the house, there may be a few accidents along the way. The key is to teach your dog where to eliminate and give her sufficient opportunities to do so.
Watch your puppy as much as possible during the training period. If she does have an accident in the house, make sure you address her immediately. Tell her firmly, "No!" and then promptly take her to the appropriate elimination area. Do not wait even a minute after the incident to correct her. She won't understand why she is being scolded. Always use a firm, but gentle tone.
If you cannot be in the house, place your puppy in a crate. Remember that she is still a puppy and still does not yet have good bladder control to hold it for long periods.
Have a designated area where your puppy will go to eliminate so that she knows where to go. Always praise her for a job well done!
If you live in an apartment or an area where you don't have easy access to the outdoors, you can housebreak your small to medium sized canine with a litter box. Once used only for cats, commercial litter is now available for dogs as well. The concept is similar to paper training your dog, except with litter. The pellet-sized litter is scented specifically to attract your pooch to eliminate there. And the bonus is that you can scoop away the mess to make clean up much easier.
Occasionally, you might get a dog who thinks the pellets are for chewing and not an area for elimination. However, many dogs will learn to eliminate in the litter box if taught with consistency.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|