||Housetraining Tips - Let's Get Going!
By Cherie Maitland, Trainer and Behavior Specialist with Our Furry Friends Training Centers and Canine College
It is important to start the housetraining process on day one. If you can follow these
basic simple tips, you and your dog will move quickly through this process. Simple
however does not always mean easy! Can also use these steps with starting with an
- Crate or a small indoors confinement system such as puppy pen (See Crate Training Article)
- Alarm clock
- Leash for taking them outdoors and for confining them inside with you
- Healthy, yummy treats
- Patience and consistency
- In the beginning, someone to take your puppy out to potty if you are working
- Enzymatic cleaner like Natures Miracle to remove stain and odor for indoor accidents
The main thing to keep in mind during the housetraining process is to not give your dog the opportunity to do the wrong
thing! If your dog finds the moment when your back is turned or you are on the phone, (ie you have slipped on Tip #1,) and
pottys in the wrong place, just the behavior of relieving himself is rewarding and that behavior becomes reinforced. This
behavior will eventually become a habit if they keep doing it.
Dogs eventually need to learn how to potty on-leash, off-leash, in different locales and on different surfaces. I have heard
many times in my training business that someone's dog will hold it and not potty away from home, or that they won't off-leash
or on-leash etc. This housetraining program assumes that as soon as you train you dog to go in their potty spot outdoors at
your house or indoors on paper or in a litter box, that you will expand their horizons after they get all their shots.
Please note that if you start training indoors on pads or in litter boxes, it can be more challenging for your dog to discern
these from other indoor areas. They are learning to go indoors. It is better right from the get-go, to train potty behaviors
outdoors. If this is too difficult based on your lifestyle, after your dog is trained indoors on these surfaces and you want to
progress to outdoors, you can take some of the material outdoors to train your dog to transfer their potty behaviors outdoors.
Slowly use less and less of the material outdoors until they are using the grass, concrete, wood, dirt etc as their preferred
surface. When you move your dog from the indoor training system of pads etc, again follow the tips below for this next phase
TIP 1: Observe your dog every second when they are away from their confinement set-up. If you need a break, put them in
their crate or pen.
TIP 2: Take them to their potty spot after your dog's waking, and within 10 minutes after naps, eating, drinking, playing etc
and before their bedtime and again before yours. If you notice them sniffing, circling, squatting or performing other signs that
you are learning means that they are about to potty, immediately whisk them to their spot.
TIP 3: When your puppy is young, you may need to take them out even more often - every hour or 2 in addition to TIP #2.
TIP 4: During the night when your puppy is young, you will need to set an alarm clock to take them to their potty spot. A
general guideline is that a puppy can hold it for 1 more hour than their age in months.
TIP 5: Reward every elimination outside or on their indoor potty spot, with praise and a treat. If you do not observe every
elimination at their potty spot, you are missing a big part of the housetraining process. Over time when the process is nearing
the end, you can send them outside, if it's safe of course, and observe them through the window or door.
TIP 6: If your dog starts to go potty in the wrong place, interrupt them with a loud NO or clap and immediately take them to
their potty spot. If the interruption is too mellow, they may not stop their elimination, if it is too severe, they may learn that
pottying in front of you is wrong.
TIP 7: If you discover an elimination after the fact, the old idea of rubbing their nose in it usually has no benefit, and can
teach your dog that you are scary and unpredictable in your behavior. To their way of thinking there is no connection
between their previous wrong behavior of minutes or hours ago and the punishment in this present moment.
TIP 8: If you want to teach your dog a command for going potty - as they are eliminating, use your simple word or short
phrase and then reward them. Do not say the command over and over in the beginning before they are eliminating - this will
not teach them the correct meaning of the command. Some people use the commands "Go Potty," "Hurry Up," or "Do It!"
TIP 9: In the beginning, regular eating schedules and picking up your dog's water in the early evening will help the
TIP 10: Keep with it!! Be patient with yourself and your dog - no one is perfect and you both will probably make mistakes.
PLEASE NOTE: If your dog enjoys going outside, make sure that you don't teach your dog that going potty means that you
bring your dog right back inside. From your dog's perspective that is a punishment. Play with him after or go for a short walk -
off your property only if shots are complete. Taking your dog out the same door every time can help them learn more quickly
to alert you by going to that door.
Please contact me for further information on this or on any other training and obedience issues. You can call me
at 209-304-5139 or 530-622-PUPS.
E-mail to: AsktheTrainer@DOG-B-GOOD.com or by mail at PO Box 97, Pine Grove, CA 95665.