I get asked about this issue so much and, of course, unless I move in with you, I cannot house train your dog. BUT … you can and it isn’t difficult but it takes commitment and CONSISTENCY!
- Confinement unless your eyes are on him/her. This is key. If you are not watching your puppy every second, you will surely miss the signs and the puppy will potty inside – which obviously is the wrong place – and the habit has begun.
Confinement means that until your dog is housebroken, he is never allowed to walk freely around the house. If you properly crate train your puppy, early, the crate will be a good place to be and he/she will not mind it. (For help with crate training please contact me.) Unless you are sitting with your dog, playing with him, walking him, feeding him, grooming him, teaching him something, or otherwise interacting with him, he must be confined … OR
- An additional option is called “umbilical cord” training. You can get a Halti leash that has a separate portion for going around your waist, or just tether the dog to you with his or her own leash and take her with you as you go about your business around the house. I love this method and it can be done in conjunction with the confinement method. This way, you can have your pup with you and still get your business taken care of. If your puppy is tethered to you, it is easy to keep an eye on him for any signs of needing to go potty.
- Regular or constant access to the RIGHT place to go. This means you TAKE your dog outside on a regular basis – on leash – every few hours – or else he lets himself outside through a doggy door at will, into a small potty yard. Or you can provide him with an indoor bathroom – potty patch or a litter box. Remember, a doggy door does NOT teach your dog that outside is where they potty! It only teaches them that it is access to outdoors, so don’t get lazy! ha
Your dog must have somewhere to go potty on a regular, reliable basis. Think about it, if you don’t provide a place to do and your puppy (or dog) needs to relieve itself, it is going to have no choice but to find a suitable place in his own. If you give your dog no opportunities, ever, to potty on your floor, and you keep taking him out, and out, and out, that’s the habit he will develop. I promise!
If, on the other hand, you give your dog too much freedom in the house too early, or not enough access to the right place to go, then they will surely develop the habit of pottying inside.
***Outside schedule notes: 1) about an hour after a meal; immediately after play and/or rigorous exercise; after a nap and definitely at the same time every morning. Dinner should be fed early in the evening and then, about an hour later, head outside. Taking your puppy to the same spot, on leash, every time is a great idea! This enables you to control where the potty happens and then you have a smaller area to “poop scoop” J. When you aren’t able to monitor your dog and watch for “I need to go” signs and if you absolutely do not want to use a crate (or you are away from home without your crate), close in a small area) that can be easily cleaned.
I prefer potty patches (fake grass) over potty pads, hands down. Potty pads are cloth, which can confuse a young puppy when it is being taught not to go on, well, cloth or carpet, or rugs, etc.
CONSISTENCY is the most important aspect of house training. When your dog has an accident you can make a lot of noise about it and be dramatic and take the poop outside but you must not punish your dog for accidents and certainly never, ever rub a dog’s nose in it. This only teaches a dog that pottying is bad and they will simply learn to go and hide to do it. Recently, I was working with a little dog whose owner had done the “rub the nose in it and yell” method and the first time I got the dog to potty outside, she actually pottied and immediately ran away from it before I could even treat and praise her. This made me sad and honestly angry. It creates an additional hurdle to overcome.
If you see your puppy start to go in the house, grab them up and race outside, being very dramatic. Once the job is finished, lots and lots of praise – have a PUPPY PARTY! When praising, please remember to physically touch your puppy (or dog) because physical touch raises the value of the praise exponentially. You don’t have to treat every single time, but a nice treat with the praise, more often at first, will certainly raise your puppy’s motivation to go outside to potty.
Potty time and play time are not to be confused. Potty time is over in no more than 15 minutes. If your furry canine companion doesn’t go within that time, try again in about a half hour.
After your dog has mastered going to potty outside, you can start using the cue “go potty” rather than “good potty” just as soon as your dog starts to tinkle or poo and thus begin the process of pottying on command. J
**IF YOU HAVE A REAL PROBLEM GETTING A DOG NOT TO URINATE IN A CONTROLLED MANNER, PLEASE GET A VET CHECK! Sometimes, infections, hormonal imbalances, and other physical conditions can cause a dog to have difficulty controlling it’s bladder.