House Training Your Dog

The key to house training your dog is to rely on your dog's natural instincts and tendencies.

House Training and Dog Nature

Dogs are instinctively clean animals. If they can avoid it, they would rather not soil themselves or their usual eating and sleeping areas. Dogs also naturally develop habits of where they would like to eliminate. For example, dogs that have a habit of eliminating on grass or dirt would rather not eliminate on concrete or gravel. You can use these natural tendencies for rapid and successful house training.

Setting Up For Successful House Training

Establish the Living Area
Give your dog a special bed; this can be anything from an open crate to a large cardboard box to a beach towel. In the beginning, she may eliminate in here but once she realizes that this is her special den, she will try to avoid soiling it.

Once your dog gets used to sleeping on her very own bed, you can move it around your house from room to room, where ever you go. Confine your dog to her bed when ever you are somewhere other than her den. If her bed is a crate, simply close the door. If her bed is a towel or blanket, place it next to a piece of furniture and leash your dog so she can't get out of her bed.

Since you should never leave your dog unattended while leashed, it's an even better idea to leash your dog to yourself! Tie one end of the leash around your waist or belt loop. Now your dog can accompany you around your home and you can monitor her behavior.

Establish the Toilet Area
Second, establish your dog's toilet area (this can be on a walk, in your yard, or a specific area of the yard). Every time your dog needs to eliminate be sure she has access to this place. Until she develops a strong habit of eliminating here, it is important that you accompany her every time. If she eliminates some where else, then she'll be establishing a habit of eliminating there.

To make things easier on both yourself and your dog, you should put your dog on a regular feeding schedule. What goes in on a regular schedule will come out on a regular schedule. If you know when your dog needs to empty out, then you'll know when to take her to her toilet area. Healthy adult dogs should be able to control their bladder and bowels for eight hours.

It's important that you do not confine your dog without access to her toilet area for too long. If she can't hold it, she will be forced to soil herself, her bed or her den. If this happens, it may become a habit and will take much longer to housetrain her.

House Training: Bringing It All Together

Once your dog consistently eliminates in her toilet area and stops soiling her den, then you can start extending her den to the rest of your house. Begin by giving her access to one room at a time, but only when you know without a doubt that her bladder and bowels are completely empty. Let her eat, sleep and play in this room but only when she can be supervised. When you cannot supervise her, either confine her to her bed in that room, or put her back in her den. Once she accepts this room as an extension of her den, then go on to the next room.

Speeding Up the Natural House Training Process

If you follow the instructions so far, your dog will be house trained in due time. One way to speed up the process is to praise and reward your dog each and every time she eliminates in her toilet area. It is equally as important not to reprimand your dog for accidents and mistakes. Reprimand usually confuses the dog and slows down the house training process.

House Training Problems

* If your dog continues to soil her den, either you have left her there too long or the den may be too large an area for her. Take her to her toilet area more frequently or establish her den in an even smaller area.

* If she soils her bed, then you probably confined her there too long and she couldn't help herself; or she doesn't understand yet that this is her bed. Urinary tract problems and medical conditions can also cause your dog to soil her bed while she is sleeping.

* Some dogs drink excessive amounts of water out of boredom or habit and therefore have to urinate too frequently. If this is your dog, limit her water, take her to her toilet area more frequently and give her activities to do so she isn't bored.

* If the den is not properly introduced, your dog may feel as if it is a prison and show signs of anxiety, barking, chewing, whining, etc. Make sure your dog enjoys being in her den.

* If your dog continues to have accidents, immediately take her to see a vet to eliminate an medical reasons for accidents, such as a bladder infection or intestinal parasites.

* A consistent diet of high quality premium brand dry food is recommended.  Avoid table scraps or changing brands unnecessarily.  If you must change brands, do is by mixing the old food with the new food, gradually increasing the proportion of new food over the next week.

Mistakes and Accidents During Training

If you ever find an accident in the house, just clean it up. Do not punish your dog (ie: spanking, rubbing her nose in it).  Punishment only tells the dog that you are angry. It doesn’t tell them what they did wrong or what they should have done.  All an accident means is that you have given her unsupervised access to your house too soon. Until she can be trusted, don't give her unsupervised free run of your house. If mistakes and accidents occur, it is best to go back to the crate training. You need to more accurately predict when your dog needs to eliminate and she needs more time to develop bladder and bowel control.


Crate Training Your Dog or Puppy

Crate training is one of the most efficient and effective ways to train a dog. The single most important aspect of dog and puppy training is that you reward and praise your dog or puppy each and every time she does the right thing. For example: praise her when she chews her own toys instead of the couch or eliminates outside instead of in the house. The more time you spend with your puppy or dog, the quicker and easier it will be to train her.

The key to house training is to establish a routine that increases the chances that your dog will eliminate in the right place in your presence, so that she can be praised and rewarded; and decreases the chances that your dog will eliminate in the wrong place so that she will not develop bad habits.

It is important that you make provisions for your dog when you are not home. Until your dog is housetrained, she should not be allowed free run of your house. Otherwise, she will develop a habit of leaving piles and puddles anywhere and everywhere. Confine her to a small area such as a kitchen, bathroom or utility room that has water/stain resistant floors. Confinement is NOT crate training.

What is Crate Training?

Crate training can be an efficient and effective way to house train a dog. Dogs do not like to soil their resting/sleeping quarters if given adequate opportunity to eliminate elsewhere. Temporarily confining your dog to a small area strongly inhibits the tendency to urinate and defecate. However, there is still a far more important aspect of crate training.

If your dog does not eliminate while she is confined, then she will need to eliminate when she is released, i.e., she eliminates when you are present to reward and praise her.

Be sure to understand the difference between temporarily confining your dog to a crate and long term confinement when you are not home. The major purpose of confinement when your are not home is to restrict mistakes to a small protected area. The purpose of crate training is quite the opposite. Short term confinement to a crate is intended to inhibit your dog from eliminating when confined, so that she will want to eliminate when released from confinement and taken to an appropriate area. Crate training also helps teach your dog to have bladder and bowel control. Instead of going whenever she feels like it, she learns to hold it and go at convenient scheduled times.

Crate training should not be abused, otherwise the problem will get drastically worse. The crate is not intended as a place to lock up the dog and forget her for extended periods of time. If your dog soils her crate because you left her there too long, the house training process will be set back several weeks, if not months.

Your dog should only be confined to a crate when you are at home. Except at night, give your dog an opportunity to relieve herself every hour. Each time you let her out, put her on leash and immediately take her outside. Once outside, give her about three to five minutes to produce. If she does not eliminate within the allotted time period, simply return her to her crate. If she does perform, then immediately reward her with praise, food treats, affection, play, an extended walk and permission to run around and play in your house for a couple of hours. For young pups, after 45 minutes to an hour, take her to her toilet area again. Never give your dog free run of your home unless you know without a doubt that her bowels and bladder are empty.

During this crate training procedure, keep a diary of when your dog eliminates. If you have her on a regular feeding schedule, she should soon adopt a corresponding elimination schedule. Once you know what time of day she usually needs to eliminate, you can begin taking her out only at those times instead of every hour. After she has eliminated, she can have free, but supervised, run of your house. About one hour before she needs to eliminate (as calculated by your diary) put her in her crate. This will prevent her from going earlier than you had planned. With your consistency and abundance of rewards and praise for eliminating outside, she will become more reliable about holding it until you take her out. Then the amount of time you confine her before her scheduled outing can be reduced, then eliminated.