House Training

A dog or puppy is either housebroken or not. If your dog is sneaking off to anotherroom and having an accident, you will have to take some of his freedom away until you can solve the problem. The longer you allow this type of behavior to exist, the harder it will be to modify. Unless you can catch him, it really does not do any good to drag him off to the site of his mishap and try and punish him. Keep him in sight if he is bold enough to try something in front of you, say "No," get his attention and take him outdoors quickly so he can finish eliminating in the appropriate area. Remember, it is your house. He has to earn his freedom through good behavior and this is your responsibility.


Start by establishing an elimination spot outdoors. In the morning, clip his leash to his collar and take the dog outdoors to his spot for elimination. State commands like "go potty" or "hurry up." After he does his duty, bring the dog inside for food and water. 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. Maintain a regular feeding, drinking, and elimination schedule.

 

One of the most commonly made errors in housebreaking is rushing too quickly ahead of your dog. Too much freedom too quickly can cause some confusion. If your dog experiences an accident or two, you will have to back up and slow down. Marking should not be confused with housebreaking problems because marking is deliberate. This behavior will arise in dogs who may be trying to vie for the role of the leader in the household; marking is a way of claiming territory. It is advised that if you should notice this behavior indoors or out, you strengthen all obedience commands immediately. This will remove all doubts as to who is in charge around the house.

 

Providing your dog or puppy with a crate that is way too large may allow him to relieve himself in one end and sleep in the other. Placing food or water in his crate will allow him to fill up his bladder and bowel and he will have no choice but to relieve himself in his crate. Make sure you take your dog or puppy outdoors to eliminate on a regular schedule and especially prior to being left for prolonged periods of time.

 

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 problem.

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.

 

Crate Training

 

Crate training is not putting your dog/puppy in a cage or jail, and you are not being cruel if you follow these tips. Dogs feel secure in small, enclosed spaces, like a den. Dog crates make excellent dens. It is a safe place for him to stay when you're away or when you cannot watch him.

Watch your own dog around home. Where do you find him napping in his deepest sleep? Under the table, desk, chair? Yes, somewhere out of the traffic pattern where he has a roof overhead and a little privacy. A crate offers security, a den with a roof, and a place to call his very own where he can go to get away from it all. There are basically just a few steps in "crate" training and they are as follows:

 

Choose a crate the same size as your puppy/dog. He should only have enough room to stand up, turn around and lie down. His crate is for sleeping or for a safe place to be when you cannot be with him. If you get a huge crate for a small dog, he may eliminate in one end and sleep in the other and you will have defeated the whole purpose of using the crate (dogs do not like to eliminate anywhere where they sleep or eat). If you have a puppy who will grow into a 60-70 lb. dog, you may have to buy two different crate sizes or purchase a crate with a divider you can move as he grows.

 

Use a single-word command for your dog to enter his crate, for example, "KENNEL"; throw in a treat or piece of kibble; when the dog/puppy enters, praise him and close the crate door. Increase the time he spends in the crate before you let him back out. Remember, your dog still needs time to play and eliminate. Maintain a regular schedule of trips outdoors so as not to confine him too long.

As a general guide, your puppy can stay in his crate comfortably for as many months as he is old plus one month (2 mth old pup + 1 mth = 3 hours in his crate).

 

Always take your puppy/dog outside to the same area in your backyard to eliminate on a leash so you can praise him when his job is finished. This will take the guesswork out of his visits to the backyard. And don't forget to play with him and exercise him. He needs this kind of stimulation for his mental and physical wellness.

Remember, your dog or puppy is a pack animal by nature and he will be looking to you for direction. Your job as a responsible pet owner is to give him that direction so you can enjoy each other as true companions should.

Copyright 1998 The Iams Company. All rights reserved worldwide.



 

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Housetraining Tips