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Here are the basics to housebreaking your dog

Here are the basics to housebreaking your dog:

1. Experts suggest incorporating a kennel crate in a dog’s training. A crate usually resembles a cage, with a locking door and see-through metal bars, and should be big enough for the dog to move around in. This satisfies a dog’s instinctive need for a den-like enclosure which he has inherited from his den-dwelling ancestors and relatives.

A crate is an effective housebreaking tool because it takes advantage of the dog’s natural reluctance to soil its sleeping place.

No, it’s not cruel, mean, or inhumane and many adult dogs end up going into the crate on their own, when they need some time alone or to relieve doggy tensions. They think of the crate as their nest or home. If possible, it’s desirable to have the crate in an area where your dog can see any activity going on in the home and not confined to a room where they feel isolated from the family.

The purpose of a crate is to provide confinement for reasons of security, safety, housetraining, travel, or illness. Your pet will feel secure, once accustomed to his crate, and will generally end up thinking of the crate as a room of his very own – a “security blanket”.

Confinement means that until your dog is housebroken, he is never allowed to walk freely around the house.

In stricter terms that means unless you are sitting with your dog, playing with him, feeding him, grooming him, teaching him something, walking him, or interacting with him, he needs to be confined because if he is loose and you take your eyes off him for just a few moments, he can go to the bathroom on your floor, and the bad habit has started.


2. Always leave the house through the same door.


3. Try to take your dog out at around the same times each day. A routine will eventually be established, and your dog will soon know to hold it in until you take him out. Most dogs have to go potty after eating, after sleeping, and after playing.


4. Do not give him the run of your house. The most important thing he needs in the first few weeks during housetraining is structure and that’s where the crate comes in. Freedom comes later as he develops the responsibility to handle it.

Look for clues that tell you he needs to go. Your dog may suddenly put his nose down and sniff the ground intently. He may begin to circle an area. He may stare at the door or stare at you with an intense look on his face. Signs like these tell you to drop what you’re doing and take him out of the house.

(If you actually catch your dog in the act of eliminating inside the house, interrupt him by saying “NO” in a stern deep voice. In this situation animals respond better to deeper voices rather than high voices and take him outside to the proper place. Do not attempt to correct or reprimand a dog after the crime has been committed, because he will not understand. It is ineffective, and confusing to the dog.)

Even after your dog is housetrained there will be an occasional accident in the house. If there is one don’t hit, don’t yell, and don’t rub his nose in it. You want him to be your friend!

The best thing to do is ignore the accident and quietly clean up the mess without making a fuss when your dog isn’t watching. Do not say a single word to the dog.

Be sure to completely clean up any potty accidents in the house. The smell of urine in the carpet or floor will encourage him to go there again, so you must remove the smell entirely. Running a damp towel over the mess is not sufficient clean up.

Apply an odor eliminator/neutralizer, such as Nature’s Miracle Stain & Odor Remover or Un-Duz-It. Never use an ammonia-based product, as their odor resembles urine. Your dog’s veterinarian can also recommend efficient products for odor and stain removal.

Any leftover subtle scent can cause a dog to go in the same place, because a dog’s sense of smell is 100-200 times greater than a human nose!


5. When outside choose the spot were you want him to do his business – preferably a small lawn area. He should be taken out on nice long leash because you’ll then be able to control your dog better, and it will prevent him from fooling around when there’s business to be done. Until he’s housetrained take him to the same designated spot each time.

Try to take him out at frequent intervals such as two-to-three hour intervals to the same area designated as the bathroom. Allow him to explore and get used to the area. Let him sniff around because the smell of the urine from his previous efforts will encourage him to go again. Ever notice that they sniff for a good spot? Well, guess what smell they are hoping to find!

Issue a simple command in a deep voice such as “Hurry Up!”, or “Go Potty!”, “Do Your Business” or whatever trigger words are suitable for you.
Eventually, he will learn the phrase just as he would any command, and he’ll be able to do it when you use the magic words.

Use one of these phrases repeatedly as you try to get him to go, then praise him enthusiastically when he actually does it.


6. This is not walk time or play time, so stand in approximately the same spot and wait for your dog to eliminate. When he does, praise him enthusiastically. Don’t immediately rush back into the house with him because he will learn to hold it and not eliminate so that he can get more time outdoors. Instead give him a few minutes of playtime, a walk, or just time to sniff around and be a dog.


7. After he has successfully made potty, don’t fully clean up the spot, but leave a trace of urine or feces to provide a scent that will remind him what he is supposed to do there. After your dog is completely housetrained then you can clean up old feces.


8. When you’re praising your dog after he eliminates outside, use a high-pitched, happy voice, clap and incorporate his name, and make a huge deal out of it. Say “Good Jack!”, “What a Good Boy!”, “I know you’re trying to be SOOO good!” Remember to smile.

Show your appreciation for him doing what he should do. Talk to him – he is listening!

Learn to use simple words for accidents and for praise.

Use words such as “Good Boy” or “Good Jack” for good deeds, and praise with joy and enthusiasm in your voice. It’s OK to act very excited and happy.

Conversely, use words for accidents such as “Nah Nah!”, or “No!” and use a deeper gruff voice, but don’t go overboard. Gently scold when he makes potty in the wrong spot.

More on housebreaking

Housebreaking dogs

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