Housebreaking Your Dog

We created Pet Organics training aids because we’re pet owners too, and we know both the fun and frustration when it comes to training your pet. Our products were designed to help with some of the more difficult aspects of training your pet: housetraining, scratching and chewing on furniture, and digging in the yard to name a few. But we also know that sometimes pets don’t respond to any one thing.

With that in mind, we would like to provide a few basic tips and tricks for those new to training their pets, or for those who might just need to try a new tactic. First up? The scourge of all puppies, the problem that can keep you up at night and leave you scooping up some unpleasantness off your living room carpet: housebreaking your pup.

The Basics

Before we get into some of the training tactics, let’s cover some of the things you should know about your puppy.

  • They’re tiny. Okay, you may have noticed that yourself, but it’s important to remember: the smaller the dog, the smaller the bladder. Housetraining isn’t just about teaching your puppies where to go, it’s also about remembering how long they can hold it. The rule of thumb is that puppies can hold their liquid in for about an hour for their age in months, but this can vary depending on your pup. At the start, puppies should be taken out about once every hour; you can usually add an hour for each successful week of going outside.
  • They don’t understand good and bad. It’s easy to forget sometimes that your pet is not just a little person. But, when housebreaking, it’s important to remember that dogs don’t understand what you mean when you say something is bad. Punishing your dog for going to the bathroom inside is just going to make the dog think she shouldn’t go where you can see her; dogs are generally incapable of making the same logical leap you’re making when scolding your pet.
  • Dogs live in the now. It can be tempting, after the fourth time your dog pees on your carpet in a day, to bring him back to that spot and tell him what he did was wrong. But, apart from the fact that animals don’t understand good and bad, they also won’t know what you’re trying to teach them. Once your dog has done his or her business, the teaching moment is gone.

The Strategies

Knowing the basics when it comes to your pet is important, because it can tell you the limits of what you can do. Punishing a dog will backfire, and trying to get your pet to hold it longer than is physically possible just won’t work. But that’s just the beginning of the training process. Here are a few ways to speed up the housetraining process.

  • Keep up a routine. Consistency is key when it comes to training your pup. If a pup can rely on certain times during the day (after eating, after waking, etc.) he will feel more comfortable holding it in between those times.
  • Keep to a feeding schedule. This goes into keeping a routine, but it’s important to reiterate. Your dog’s digestive system is usually predictable. They usually will have to go outside immediately after sleeping and 5-30 minutes after eating. Keeping a regular feeding schedule will help ensure a more regular bathroom schedule.
  • Reward your dog. While punishing your dog for going inside the house will not work, rewarding her every time she goes outside usually helps greatly. Going outside becomes something associated with rewards and is an incentive for the dog to continue doing so.
  • Remove the water bowl before bed. An hour to two hours before bed, remove the water bowl, so as to prevent your dog’s bladder being over-full during sleep. Also, make sure to let your dog out before bedtime to increase the likelihood of sleeping longer through the night without incident.
  • Clean the area. When your dog goes inside, and he will, make sure to thoroughly clean the area that has been soiled. Dogs are attracted to the scent of urine and are more likely to go back to the same spot again, if they can smell it.
  • No-Go! Training Spray. You know this had to come up! Take advantage of your dog’s sense of smell. Spray this in problem areas inside the house, and watch your dog. If she starts to sniff around the spot, or you catch her in the middle of the act, take her outside immediately, and praise her for going outside. The scent will soon be tied to going outside and being rewarded for doing so. (If the deed is already done then you’re too late).
  • Confine them to a small space. If you need to leave your dog along for an extended period of time, or if your dog is going all over the house, confine your dog to the small area where they sleep, be it a crate or a back hall area, taking them out for potty breaks. Dogs are less likely to go where they sleep, and will hold it for the outside breaks. If your dog continues to soil the area, or displays any anxiety at being confined for too long, either desist from this method of training, or expand the area a little to give your dog a little more breathing room.
  • Go before the walk, not after. It’s a tempting thing to take a dog for a walk to let him do his business, and then turning around when done. But a dog may end up associating going outside with the end of the walk, and try to hold it to prolong the walk. Have your dog go beforehand and then praise it and reward it with a walk. The walk should be the reward, not the means to an end.
  • Be patient. This can sometimes be the hardest to remember. Your dog will make mistakes, but scolding or losing your patience will not help either of you. Just remember, your dog is only a few months old, still brand new to the world, and you’re the one he relies on. With these training techniques and a whole host of patience, you can

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