House Training your dog
It is a rarity for a dog not to be able to be trained to do its business outside. Most dogs that aren’t house trained are the result of owners who don’t appear to understand the significance of being consistent.
Consistency is the most important concept for anyone who wants to train a puppy or an older dog to toilet in the right place. Just a few moments in the realm of consistence and a positive attitude can create momentous results.
All dogs are pack animals. They need a leader to follow – or they will assume that role themselves. In order to get your dog to understand the limitations within the house, you have to make sure rules are clearly established and that – more importantly, you yourself stick to the values and limitations that you set.
If you keep changing the goal posts often or you begin to make exceptions, you can’t expect a fast-learning puppy to know follow your rules.
House training is different for every dog. Some dogs are easier to house train than others – mastering it in a few days – as oppose to some dogs taking months.
It is best if you aim to get your puppy house trained within a few weeks from the day that you get your puppy. As you begin to implement the simple steps that we will outline, you will find that it gets easier and easier, and soon you will find that you have successfully house trained your dog.
We tend to put house training our puppies relatively high on the list of things that we need to do with our new puppies. You may soon grow tired of having to clean up after your puppy and you immediately make the statement that you are going to stop this behavior as soon as possible.
Many times, owners become frustrated with having to constantly clean up puppy mess and so their intention to house break the puppy can be the result of frustration and irritation.
In order to house train a puppy, a calm mind is needed. If, at any time you find that you are getting stressed at having to stand in the garden for an hour while your puppy does its business or you’re getting frustrated at being on your hands and knees cleaning the floor, take a step back and relax.
While it may seem trivial, a new puppy can quickly become a stressful experience and so relaxation is paramount – not only for yourself but also for your puppy. Dogs can easily detect what kind of attitude you are projecting, and will often act to match it. Just relax and follow the simple steps that we outline here.
As your puppy gets older, a combination of consistent training and a stronger bladder will mean that the process becomes so much easier so much faster.
You may know that the old methods of housebreaking were based around punishment and fear. You will be able to find many books that were written only half a century ago – by which the methods outlined in the books involved hitting dog with a newspaper or rubbing their noses in urine in order to punish them for going to the toilet in the house.
Needless to say, this method is unsuccessful at best and cruel at least. It’s impossible to create a stable dog that will understand and respect you as a leader when the relationship that you’ve established is on the basis fear, anxiety and aggression.
This is not to say that you can’t let your dog know that they have done something wrong. If you catch your dog in the act – going to the toilet in the house – a simple process of saying ‘No’ in a firm voice and instantly taking your dog outside will help them to get the message.
If you don’t catch your dog in the act and arrive into a room to find a puddle or poop, there’s no point punishing your dog or waiting until that moment in order to say your firm ‘No’.
Dog’s live in the moment and they will have forgotten about previous actions and will be getting on with something else. They won’t associate your correction with the behaviour of them toileting in the house. They won’t understand that you are trying to tell them not to do what they’ve previously done – they will only see your excitement and fuss over a puddle on the floor and they may try to impress you with another.
A firm correction if you catch your dog in the act and then a movement to outside can work wonders as it combines two techniques. It is the consistence in the method that allows great results.
This method lets you tell your dog that they are doing something not wanted but it also tells them what they should do. It’s no use telling your dog not to do something if you don’t give them another option.
If you are in the early days of housebreaking a dog, you may find that your dog does not yet have the required vaccinations from your vet to be allowed to go outside, even in the garden.
In order to prevent your dog for catching anything nasty from the birds, worms, or foxes that will have been in your garden, you will have to create a space in your house where you can train your dog to go to the toilet.
You may choose this place to be somewhere by the door to your garden as it will be a step in the direction of training your dog to go to the toilet in the right place. A strategically placed puppy pad can work wonders, and is also easy to clean up.
If you are crate training your puppy, it is important that you keep taking your puppy out at regular intervals in order to go to the puppy pad for the toilet. Dogs will have a natural instinct to go to the toilet away from the place where they sleep, eat and spend their time.
It’s important that you don’t allow your dog to regularly go to the toilet in their crate as it may break their natural instinct to toilet away from the house and away from their own area. This may cause problems in the future.
Keep constant when house training a puppy. If you find that you need to create a schedule between the whole family of who will take your puppy out to the garden or out to the puppy pad, it may be very beneficial to help everyone keep on top of the issue.
One of the most important factors in the housebreaking process is the process of praise.
Constantly praise your puppy when they go to the toilet in the right place. A high and energetic voice with stroking and rubbing behind the eats is always beneficial – however, often, noting works better than a nice food treat.
While you may have some treats for training you puppy to do things like ‘sit’ and ‘down’, we would recommend that you use a different type of treat that you can associate with your dog’s toileting praise.
You need to reinforce in as many ways as possible, that your dog has done something right. Dogs love praise and they will also love a tasty treat. Make sure that you give your dog the tastiest, meatiest treat that you can find (that is suitable for puppies) for when they toilet in the right place. Their desire to impress you and get a special treat will help you housetrain your dog.
As you begin to housetrain your dog, a basic schedule can be a necessity. You may notice that when you wake in the morning, you go to the toilet. This may be as a habit than an actual need. This goes the same for your puppy. When you see to your puppy in the morning, ensure that you take them out to go to the toilet.
If they have already gone to the toilet in the crate or in the house, still take them out in order to set and maintain a routine. Ensure then when you wake in the morning, go straight away to let your puppy out. Don’t bother with reading the newspaper, having breakfast and then letting your puppy out – head straight for your puppy and get that routine – even if your puppy is still asleep.
This is because, eventually when your puppy is slightly older they will have held the courtesy of not going to the toilet in the night and so you should honour this by letting them out as soon as possible. Your puppy will have waited for you before going to the toilet, and so you should show the respect back by tending to them straight away.
Also, your puppy is less likely to go to the toilet in the night or the early hours of the morning, if they know that you will soon be tending to them and giving them the opportunity to go to the toilet in an area away from there they sleep.
Once your dog has gone to the toilet in the garden (or on the puppy pad/newspaper in the early days), ensure that you praise them and bring them straight in. This is so that you can let them know that they have completed the task that you wanted them to do.
If you stay outside you may make your puppy feel that you haven’t yet got the action that you required. If you want to take your puppy outside to play, make it on a separate occasion and with a separate intention for playing and not toileting.
You may find that it’s best to take your puppy to toilet in one area of the garden so that they associate that with toileting and the rest of the garden can be for playing. If you can maintain this behavior of going to the toilet in one area, your puppy may keep this behavior for the rest of its life and may be so kind as to wait until the end of the walk to go to the toilet in their favorite place.
While you’re out or at work then you can let another family member or a willing neighbor help you handle those regular toilet breaks. Do ensure that everyone follows the same routine as routine is the key factor to help you have a successful experience with house training.
When house training your dog, keep a note of the feeding times and toilet times so that you can try to find yourself a pattern to follow. A simple checklist on the fridge can let the household know all of the relevant information. You will soon come to learn your dog’s natural elimination patterns.
Look out For The Signs
From around 8-12 weeks old, it is common for a puppy to eliminate every 2 hours and from around 12-16 weeks, every 3 hours. By ‘eliminate’ we mean urination or defecation.
When you take your puppy outside to toilet, look out for sings that they are soon ready to eliminate. These signs are as follows:
- A raised tail
- Moving fast in circles with the nose to the floor
- Movement away from the sleeping/play area
- Scratching to get to garden
Any of these signs can mean that you must get your puppy to the garden immediately.
While the advice offered here may be useful to you, it is only a general guide. Each dog is different and you will come to know your dogs habits and traits. You will also develop a method that works best for you.
- Be consistent
- Don’t punish – just a quick correction
- Lots of praise when doing the right thing
- Frequent trips to the garden
- Enjoy the process – it’s not as bad as it seems.