Housebreaking Your Dog

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04.16.2021

We are always being contacted by individuals that have behavioral or training issues with their dog.  I wanted to start by adding some of the most common I come across.

I am having a hard time with housebreaking my dog.  They did fine but are now having accidents.  Is there a trick to it?

1. Crate training.  By nature, dogs are very clean and they don’t like to eliminate where they sleep or eat. The first step to house training your puppy is to crate train the puppy.  If you choose to not use a crate, you’ll want to have a way to confine the puppy to an area such as a small room or a section of a room. Baby gates across the doorway can be a good tool.

2. Timing.  Remember, timing is everything when it comes to house training. The key to predicting when your puppy will need to eliminate is having very consistent feeding times. You should feed a consistent diet because changes in food can affect your puppy’s bowel habits. If you feed the same food at the same time each day, you can predict approximately when your puppy will have a bowel movement.

3. Scheduling. Trips outside should be frequent and the schedule for outside trips should be consistent.  It is commonly recommended that young puppies be taken outside to relieve themselves at least once an hour. If you have a work schedule that won’t facilitate you taking your puppy out this often, understand that young puppies don’t yet have control of their bladders and bowels and they may have accidents. They can’t help this. Be patient when accidents happen. Quietly clean up the accident with cleaning products that will remove the smell.

4. Reinforcing desired behaviors. Rewards are important. When you take your puppy outside, be sure to reward the puppy for eliminating (urinating or defecating) outdoors. A treat and lavish praise will increase the likelihood the puppy will continue to eliminate outside.

5. Providing exercise. Activity plays a critical role in housetraining. Activity (such as running, playing, or walking on a leash) will increase your puppy’s motility, meaning that exercise stimulates the bowels to move. A good walk in the morning or starting the day by playing with you in the yard will get your puppy off to a good start in the morning.

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