Author: Wayne Kostencki
Dogs are instinctively clean animals. If they can avoid it, they would rather not soil themselves or their usual eating and sleeping areas. Dogs also naturally develop habits of where they would like to eliminate. For example, dogs that have a habit of eliminating in the back yard would prefer not eliminate on concrete or gravel. You can use these natural instincts for speedy and successful house training.
CAUTION: If a dog or especially a puppy is not allowed eliminate at certain times, he will most likely have an accident. Don’t wait for the dog to ask to go out. Assume that he has to and take him for his walk.
Like most things, housebreaking takes time and repetition. A puppy has to relieve himself six or more times a day, whereas an adult dog doesn’t have to eliminate so often. It is up to you as an owner to tell your dog where and when to eliminate.
A perfect dog with a perfect owner can be fully trained by six to nine weeks old, but remember that a large part of the training is your responsibility. When dogs are that young, you must watch them constantly and be able to recognize the signs of imminent elimination to help the puppy along. Your dog will understand the concept in less than a few weeks, but it may take several more weeks before your dog stops having accidents. Both you and your family are training your dog. Later, after he is trained, you must learn his new signals such as running back and forth between you and the door or whining to be let out.
HINT: Don’t forget the weather. Plan to get a dog when the weather is nice. You and the new dog will be making plenty of trips outside. Getting a dog in winter is fine, but remember to bundle up while you wait for the dog to finish his business.
Begin training as soon as you obtain your new dog. If your new dog is a puppy that was raised by its mother, it will already understand that some areas are okay for elimination and some areas are not. Its mother has already taught him this; you just need to transfer this learning to your preferred areas.
Keep your temper. Remain calm and patient. Your dog can sense your mood. Becoming angry and frustrated will cause the dog to be fearful and slower to learn.
CAUTION: If your veterinarian asks you to keep your puppy indoors until a certain age because of illness or other reasons, please follow his advice.
The use of a command word can help your dog become housebroken much faster. This is because the word you use will quickly be associated with the act of elimination and your dog will know immediately upon hearing the command word that he is outside to take care of business and not to just play. Just make sure that the word you use is something you won’t use for anything else. Most dogs eventually learn commands very well and will obey their owner without question. I would hate for your dog to immediately relieve himself in the house, in front of guests, upon hearing his special command word. The command word will also do two other things. In the cold or rain it will help the dog to get to the point and get both of you back into the warm, dry house more quickly. It will also help if the need ever arises for the dog to relieve himself in an unfamiliar place.
Repeat the command every time you go out with the dog with emphasis whenever he starts to eliminate. The shorter the command word, the more you can repeat it, and the more you imprint it on your dog’s memory. In the beginning, timing is crucial. The closer the command word is repeated to the actual elimination, the quicker the conditioning.
If after 10 minutes, he hasn’t gone, bring him in and watch him. Don’t bring him back out until his next scheduled time or until his behavior indicates that he needs to go.
For the first two weeks wait a few minutes after your dog eliminates to make sure he does not need to go again.
HINT: Make sure that during the walk your dog is literally ‘pooped out’ and not just tired, otherwise he may eliminate again once back in the house.
In the beginning, when you do clean up an accident, place the feces or dirty rag in the place you wish your dog to go in the future. When the dog smells this, it will stimulate his urge to relieve himself in that particular place.
Once the dog is housebroken you can begin varying the procedure. If the procedure becomes too ingrained in the dog then he will learn only to go in a certain place at a certain time and in a certain way. This will soon become troublesome if for any reason this procedure is not followed. Change it up, let other people take him out as some dogs become dependant on their owner and won’t go for anyone else.
Fear versus Respect
You will always get better results when your dog respects you as opposed to if he fears you. In the wild dogs do not fear the Alpha, they respect him. It should be the same way in the home.
While training, never just let your dog out the door. Until he is properly trained, he may romp and play and forget to do his business. Of course as soon as you let him back inside he will suddenly remember to eliminate. You also need to be there to repeat the command word and to praise him when the deed is done. Remember that praise is the most effective tool an owner can use.
I don’t recommend paper training unless it is going to be one of the ways you let you dog eliminate forever. If you choose to paper train and want to try the special puppy pads, you can try those medical blue pads that they sell at any medical supply store. They usually cost much less than the puppy pads.
When a puppy firsts comes home, don’t overwhelm him. Give him a small den with a sleeping box to confine him in until he is at ease. Use a towel or blanket and maybe a toy or two to make the den comfortable.
About the Author
Wayne Kostencki is a dog lover. He has owned or lived with dogs since he was a small child. During that time, Wayne has struggled to learn how to not just train his pets, but to be able to enjoy them as companions. Wayne has formulated common sense training techniques that anyone can use.
You can find more information on his website, www.averagemansguides.com