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House Training Your Dog

By: Lisa Klassen - Updated: 9 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
House Training House Train House Trained

House training your dog is a time consuming process but a necessary one for the happiness of your puppy and your family. It can be frustrating when your puppy doesn’t seem to be learning fast enough and you keep stepping in messes on the floor. Realise that the more time you can consistently spend on training at the beginning, the faster your puppy will learn. And try your best not to get angry, your puppy just doesn't know any better yet.

House Training Basics

Take your puppy outside as soon as you get up in the morning, half an hour after every meal and as frequently as possible throughout the day. A puppy under 6 months can only hold his bladder for a maximum of 4 hours, so letting him out every hour or 2 is ideal. Limit access to the house until your dog has been completely house trained, a process that usually takes 2 weeks to a month. Supervise him at all times and when that's not possible, place the puppy in a crate or room that has been toilet proofed. The reward system is an important part of showing your pet when he’s done something right so don’t be afraid to treat and praise liberally during the first few weeks of training, either.

Signs Your Puppy Needs to Wee

  • Whimpering or whining
  • Sniffing the floor
  • Going in circles, looking like he’s hunting for something
  • Panting for no reason
  • Restlessness
  • Leaving the room quickly

Timing is Everything

Dogs do not have the same grasp of time that people do. So when you scold your puppy for having an accident in the house and it’s after the fact, it doesn’t really register in the same way, even if you shove his nose in it. You need to catch the puppy right in the act of going or the lesson won’t sink in. When your puppy has an accident indoors, chastise him then take him to the spot you want him to use. Do this every time it happens. The same goes for praising your pet for good behaviour, it should be immediate or the point is lost. Odd as it may seem, the best results come from giving a treat while your pet is in the midst of eliminating.

Repetition is the Key

Sit down as a family and agree upon one phrase that you will all use to let your dog know when it’s time to go to the bathroom and one phrase to praise him for going in his designated spot. Make sure the whole family is using the same spot as well as the same words. Start saying his ‘potty time’ phrase when you are about to take him outside and then repeat frequently while he is going to the bathroom. Consistently use these EVERY time your puppy needs to wee, for repetition and constancy are the keys for canine learning. Even after your pet is toilet trained, your family can keep using the same command to let the dog know when on walks that you want him to go. Try and keep the times you take your dog outside for a bathroom break on a regular schedule as well.

Eliminate Odours

If your puppy goes to the bathroom somewhere he shouldn’t, you need to neutralise the area completely of odours. The only area that should smell like wee or poo is the spot you want your puppy to use, otherwise this sends mixed signals and it’s likely he will go in the same spot again. Never used vinegar or ammonia based cleaners to cleanse an area your dog has soiled as ammonia is present in urine and will give your dog the wrong idea. Black lights are a cheap and an excellent way to tell if there are any soiled areas in the house you don’t know about as the messes will light up.

Patience and consistency are the qualities that will guarantee you an effective house training of your puppy. If you don’t feel like your family has the time to commit to house breaking during the day, you can always hire a dog walker or ask a neighbour to give your puppy an afternoon walk to prevent messes in the house. And take heart, your puppy will soon learn what to do and where!

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