Housetraining Puppies and Dogs

Approached the right way - with prevention, not punishment - housetraining can be accomplished in a short time and be a painless procedure for you and the dog

Before we discuss the actual training process, the following are a few "DO NOT's"...

•DO NOT ever force a puppy's or dog's face into the urine or fecal material.
•DO NOT punish after the fact for soiling found in the house.
•DO NOT let your puppy out to eliminate without supervision.
•DO NOT hit or physically harm a puppy or dog to teach them.
•DO NOT give an untrained puppy or dog full run of the house.
•DO NOT free feed.
•DO NOT leave a puppy or dog in a crate for more than four hours unless it is for night sleeping.

By now you're thinking, "What DO I do to get the job done." Well, on to the process...

Use a crate and a long line for confinement and baby gates or something to block off limit areas. At the start, a young puppy should be let out every hour to establish a pattern. If you're not at home at least every four hours, then someone should be hired to let the puppy or dog out of its crate to eliminate. You must go out with the puppy or dog to make sure it eliminates and receives praise while going and immediately afterward to enforce the idea that this is the proper thing to do in the proper place. Another reason for going out with the dog, even after being housetrained, is that through elimination, you can tell if the dog is sick or well by the consistency of the stool and color of the urine. Puppies especially tend to eat things they shouldn't that can cause potty problems. The idea you want to convey to the puppy or dog is to eliminate the right way, in the right place, at the right time.

If reprimand is needed, it should be done instructively, meaning use a short, sharp verbal reprimand immediately followed by going to the appropriate place to eliminate. Pick a word to suggest elimination and stick with it throughout the dog's life. Watch the puppy or dog at all times to establish a pattern and avoid mistakes. The fewer mistakes, the faster they'll learn. If you can't watch the puppy at all times, use a leash to tether the puppy to your arm or leg or the leg of a piece of furniture that is not on a carpeted surface.

Puppies should be let out after sleeping, playing and eating. It's a good idea to take them to the same spot, on a leash, to establish a toilet area. Most puppies will go every time you take them to a spot they've gone before. Be sure to give the puppy time to find a spot to go and praise after each elimination. If you're going to play outside, make sure they go before playtime in order to establish that elimination is done before fun things.

All dogs don't bark when they need to go out. They all have their own way of letting you know and so it's up to you to determine what your dog is telling you. If all dogs barked to be let out, it would be a simple solution, but dogs are different - just as we are - and they can't be programmed.

The housetraining process described above is very general - there are no magic bullets when it comes to housetraining and no short cuts. An adequate number and duration of potty breaks and unfailing supervision are the keys to successful housetraining.