The first step in housetraining is to decide whether your pup will be trained to only eliminate outdoors, or have the option of using a dog litter or pads. (If you plan on using a dog litter, click here for more information on the Purina secondnature® brand Dog Litter system.)
If your dog will be trained to eliminate only outdoors, start by establishing an elimination spot and a schedule. In the morning, clip his leash to his collar and take the dog outdoors to his spot for elimination. Speak a command like “go potty” or “hurry up.” After he does his duty, every time give lots of verbal praise and a treat. Then bring the dog inside for his breakfast. About 15 to 20 minutes after the meal, take the dog outside again for elimination. Take your dog to his “spot” at each elimination time and maintain a regular feeding, drinking, exercise, and outside visit schedule – at least four times a day. By scheduling when your puppy eats, drinks and exercises, you essentially train your puppy’s digestive system to be more predictable.
Keep your dog under constant supervision when inside. If you must take your eyes off him, confine in a crate (see Adopt-a-Pet.com’s How to Crate Train your Puppy or Dog article), or in a room with a hard-surfaced floor where accidents may be easily cleaned up, or outside in a secure area. In some cases its easiest to “tether” them to you, keeping them on a leash attached to you at all times. Close off carpeted rooms and rooms with rugs that can’t be taken up.
One of the most commonly made errors in housetraining is rushing. Too much freedom too quickly can cause confusion. Keep your dog or puppy on the schedule for at least a few weeks, more if they are under 6 months old. If your dog experiences an accident or two, you should back up and slow down your training efforts.
Also, it really does not do any good to show your dog to the site of his mishap and punish him, even with a verbal correction. If you catch him in the act, you can try to can interrupt him with a firm “no” and bring him outside to finish. But if you scare him, he may just learn not to go in front of you at all, which will make housetraining even harder. The fastest way to housetrain a dog is set a schedule, give praise, and repeat.
If you have tried all the above and are still experiencing what you believe to be “Territorial Marking,” consult your veterinarian. Your dog/puppy may have a bladder infection and it’s always best to be safe, not sorry. If your dog/puppy is not spayed or neutered, you may want to talk to your veterinarian about this procedure. It usually has a very positive effect on this type of behavior.
Even well-trained dogs sometimes have accidents. Clean the accident area with a pet odor neutralizer so your dog won“t be tempted to repeat his mistake. Here are some tips to help prevent accidents:
- Do not make sudden changes in his diet.
- Avoid giving your dog late night snacks.
- Make sure to spend enough time outdoors.
Having a hard time housetraining your dog or puppy? Check out the tips in Adopt-a-Pet.com’s Stop singing the Housebreaking Blues article next!