Professional Dog Trainer and Behaviourist

House Training

There are a great many reasons why a dog may prove difficult to housetrain successfully as well as many reasons why a dog has a sudden laps in housetraining and begins to soil and /or wet in the house. Providing the mother of the pup has encouraged the right type of behaviour and the environment during the first weeks of life and the breeder has allowed the pup to leave the nest to “relieve” itself, housetraining should be a relatively easy process.

Puppies are easy to housetrain. They have circuitry built in their brain which tells them not to urinate or defecate their den. Their den is your house. Puppies are like babies. They make mistakes until they are completely housetrained. This is normal and you should not be upset with your pup if this happens during the first several weeks of housetraining.

You can start by ensuring that your dog is taken to spot where you want it to perform immediately after feeding it, immediately after waking up and just as it starts playing. At these times your dog will be most likely to want to relieve itself and you can take advantage of this fact in order to help in your housetraining programme. If he has an accident in the house while you are there, you can only reprimand him if catch him in the act. It is then usually sufficient to scold him verbally. The parcel that the pup has deposited on the floor must now be removed and placed in the area where you want him to go.

Your dog need to know that you are going to teach him where to go and that you are not going to punish him for forgetting and doing it in the house. A dog does not have the ability to relate punishment after the act with the act. A dog that makes a mess, comes wiggling up to you, then gets his nose rubbed in the mess, cannot figure out why he was punished for wiggling up and greeting you. Punishing a dog for making a mess in the house will create stress and cause more messes as away of relieving that stress.

If it is a puddle, you can place a couple of sheets of newspaper down to absorb it and place these on your chosen area. The next time you take him to relieve himself, take him to the spot and let him sniff. As soon as he performs, make a great fuss of him, have a quick game with his favorite toy before taking him back into the house. The wrong way to go about housetraining is to smack the dog after it has had an accident.

The chances are that if you do this, the dog’s attention will simply be focused on getting back into the house. You must accompany the pup in order to educate it. At first the visits outsides will be made at random intervals, dictated mainly by the sleep/eating/drinking patterns of the pup. Slowly, however, habits will form so that the pup’s body clock will be regulated to perform natural functions at specific times, these times being dictated by set feed times, exercise times, and the sleeping and waking hours of its owner.

If your dog wakes you during the night then simply go and take it out and wait until it relieve itself. Do not praise it or give any attention otherwise your dog may use this tactic to get you to get up and go out and ply all night long! As soon as you get back into the house put your dog back into the sleeping area and then go back to bed yourself.

While you are retraining your dog you will have to remove all traces of smell on the floor by treating it with biological washing powder in a solution of hot water, applied on a daily basis. This is so that when you allow your dog its freedom during the night; all trace of smell has disappeared, preventing the habit from re-forming. For the dog that relieves itself on the carpet or doormat as soon as it returns from exercise, the solution is very simple. After giving your dog ample time and opportunity to relieve itself while exercising (and that means energetic running exercise and not simply slow walk around the block), return home. If it did not relieve itself during the exercise session restrict it to its bed by making it physically impossible for it gets off its bed. This can be accomplished by fastening the dog on to a lead and fastening the lead to the dog’s bed, thus denying it access to the areas where it is likely to foul.

Wait for about twenty minutes or so and then take the dog back out. You should find that your dog will quickly relieve itself- you should praise it well. When you return home you can allow your dog its freedom until the next exercise session is due. If the dog did not relieve itself, then repeat the above. If this is repeated each and every time the dog is taken out you will completely break the habit by making it impossible for the dog to relieve itself anywhere but in the correct place.

A most important step is to teach him signal for letting you know that he has to go outside. Each time you take him out during the day, stop at the door, wait until he sits, say “Good Boy!” then open the door and go out with him. After a while, he will learn that going to the door and sitting is the signal for letting you know that he needs to go outside. Some dog will improve on this by going to the door and letting out with a little “woof” or by scratching the door.

In addition to all of the above, the following will all help speed up your programme.

  • Don’t use ammonia based cleaning agents to clean up afterwards as the smell often encourages the dog use these areas again.
  • Don’t scold your dog physically or try and rub its nose in the mess. This will have the effect of making your dog hide when he wants to go to the toilet thus making the job of housetraining much more difficult for you to accomplish.
  • Only scold your dog verbally if you catch him in the act of going to he toilet.
  • Always inform your vet if you notice any sudden change in your dog’s behaviour.
  • Be patient and try not to clear up any mess with your dog in attendance as this may have the effect of him learning to mess on the floor in order to gain attention.