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House Train Your Dog

Tips For Managing House Training

Two dogs asleep in a houseBringing a new puppy or rescue dog home is a thrill. After careful consideration, you finally found the perfect dog to match your family’s lifestyle and energy level. As exciting as this time is, your work isn’t done. You must now begin the process of house training your new family member.

Gotta Go?

A typical puppy needs to relieve himself six times a day. As a general rule, the length of time a puppy can "hold it" is equal to his age in months. For example, a four month old puppy can hold it for four hours.

Watch for cues to see if your dog needs to go. Signs include whining, pacing, sniffing, leaving the room or circling. If your dog exhibits any of these signs, immediately stop what you are doing and take him outside as quickly as possible.

Develop a Schedule

If you develop a feeding schedule, an elimination schedule will follow. What goes in on schedule comes out on schedule. Take your puppy out immediately after waking up, extended play sessions and once he finishes eating or drinking.

Consistency is Key

Everyone in the house has to approach house training in the same manner. Start by choosing a consistent spot in the yard.  The odor from previous visits to this location will encourage your dog to do his business in this spot.

Positive Reinforcement

Always accompany your dog outside and reward her with treats or play once she does her business.  Cheerful praise in a happy tone of voice is another reinforcement method, i.e "Good girl, you went potty outside." Dogs want to please; the trick is to make them know what you want from them.

Crate Training

Using a crate or confining your puppy to a small area of the house is a way to ensure they don't urinate throughout your house.

If you choose to use a crate make sure it is the proper size. It should be large enough for your dog to turnaround and stand up, but no larger. Dogs don't want to eliminate where they sleep, and a crate will encourage this. Be mindful how long you keep them confined, and use the age-to-hours calculation above to determine how long your puppy should be in its crate.

Accidents Happen

Accidents are part of the learning process.  A dog that has never had an accident in the house and been caught and corrected doesn't know this behavior is wrong. Accidents happen when you don't get your dog out when you should have; it's not entirely the dog's fault.

Caught in the Act

If your dog starts to have an accident inside, pick him up immediately and say "NO". This interruption will generally cause him to stop urinating. Once outside take your dog to his normal spot and give lots of praise when he finishes there.

Worth the Effort

House training requires a lot of patience. However, the effort you put into training your puppy or new dog will last for the rest of your dog's life.  Do you have any housetraining tricks? Let us know!

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