The most important things you will teach your dog is to be clean in the house and to go "potty" outside; rain or shine, night or day! By nature, dogs are clean animals. They will normally urinate and defecate away from the sleeping area and feeding area. You can increase your chances of successful housebreaking by purchasing or adopting your puppy/dog from a source that has provided separate sleeping, eating and potty areas. Puppies/dogs that have been raised in an unclean environment or cramped quarters (such as a small pet store display) may learn to be dirty. They will not find it offensive to mess in their sleeping area or anywhere in the house.
Start housetraining by making a schedule. And stick to it! Dogs are creatures of habit, so it is important to feed your puppy/dog at the same time each day. Puppies under 4 months of age should be fed 3 times a day. Puppies/dogs over 4 months of age can be fed twice a day.
The puppy/dog should be taken out on leash to the area where you want him to eliminate and give him command to "go peee" or "do your duty." (You will have to do this for at least two weeks.) When the dog performs, verbally praise him, as if he has just performed the feat of the century! Owners often complain when they first try this, because they are unsuccessful and the puppy/dog just stand there looking at them. Remember this takes patience. Walking around in a circle and repeating your command is helpful. If the puppy/dog refuses to eliminate within 5 minutes then take him back to the house and place him back into the crate or safe area for another 15 minutes, then try again. It only takes a couple of successful episodes for the puppy to catch on.
To successfully housebreak a dog you must supervise him at all times. When you cannot supervise him, he should be confined to a crate or enclosed area. Remember, a puppy that has been raised cleanly will not normally mess in the den area. Restrict his time outside of this area. The only safe time to allow him to move about freely is within the first half-hour after elimination.
Another principal to follow is the principle of "earning-rooms". Once a puppy is five or six months old, and has been consistently clean in the home, you can try leaving him unsupervised in one room of the house for various periods of time. After seven consecutive days without an accident, allow him access to one more room. If the puppy/dog shows any destructive behaviors or has accidents, then return to the previous stage and continue again from there.
- Take food and water away at least two hours before bedtime.
- Thoroughly clean any areas where the puppy has had an accident.
- Never EVER rub a puppy or dog's nose in any accidents. This is abusive!
- If your puppy/dog has an accident, consider it your fault for not watching closely enough.
- Be patient! Good bladder control doesn't kick in until approximately 15 weeks of age.
Article submitted by: © Terri Perrin (Biography & Additional Information)