Tuesday, October 7, 2014



House training a puppy or dog is not magic.  It is all about keeping a schedule, managing your dog's environment, and helping your dog learn by rewarding the correct thing.  Punishing house breaking mistakes will delay your dog's learning.

1.            Keep a schedule.  How often does your dog eliminate?  How soon after meals?  Set an alarm.

2.            Make sure your supervised puppy has lots of play and exploration time, but confine your dog to a crate or other small area when you cannot watch your dog or leave your home. (Watching your dog means, like a hawk, with the same attention you would give a two year old.  If you are not watching, the mistake is on you, so don’t blame the dog.)

3.            Dog’s give signals when they have to go.  Very few walk purposefully to the door, give one articulate ‘woof’ and glance back to be sure you understand.  They whine, pace, scratch circle, or go to the edges of a room, nudge you, nip you, etc.  Learn these signals.  Watch for them.

4.            Be realistic about how long your dog can go without peeing.  Just like us they eliminate more during waking hours.  Puppies and small dogs go often, very often.

5.            Take your dog to a designated potty spot ON LEASH.  Stand there about 7 minutes or until the dog eliminates.

If Dog Goes.  Reward with a treat.                               
***Take dog for a walk or play with dog!  Dragging the dog right inside punishes going outside. Additional outside play also gives the dog time to eliminate again.  Reward all outdoor eliminations.

If Dog does NOT go. Return dog to Crate.  
Set timer for 15 – 20 minutes, try again.     

6.  Do not EVER punish your dog for peeing or pooping in your home.  Never, ever, no exceptions, period.

a.            If you punish the dog while they are going you don’t teach them it is wrong to eliminate in the house.  You teach them it is dangerous to eliminate in front of humans.  Now you have a dog who won’t eliminate on walks.  They wait until they are inside and you leave the room, then it is ‘safe’ to go.  (I've had several of these as fosters over the years, including one right now.)

b.            If you punish your dog even 4 seconds after they are done going, they don't connect the accident to your behavior.  They may have just been scratching their ear, and they think that is why you are angry.  'I was scratching and listening to the birds outside and he went nuts!"  At this point the dog believes you are unstable and possibly dangerous. 

7.            Use Nature’s Miracle, it’s an enzymatic cleaner.  If you want to use vinegar, baking soda, or your mother’s magic recipe, go ahead.  Just use the Nature’s Miracle too.  Without enzymatic cleaner the ‘spot’ smells like the Men’s Room at the Atlanta Bus Station to your dog.  Enzymatic cleaner breaks down the chemical structure of the urine and feces.   Available at pet shops and supermarkets.

8.            If your dog keeps eliminating in the same ‘spot’ block access to that spot, unless it is the front or back door.  If your dog is eliminating near an exit, you need to take them out on a more regular basis.

9.            If this does not work, bring your dog to the veterinarian to check for medical reasons you and your dog are not successful.  If the dog checks out medically then find a qualified dog trainer to help you with house training your dog.