Out, darn spot!
Potty training isn’t a difficult process, but it does take patience, time, and attention. With these key pointers, you will be setting your dog up for success, not teaching him to make mistakes, as so many people inadvertently do. You must be supervising this dog at all times- inside and out. Avoid allowing accidents to happen, use a crate, and reward, reward, reward! You can purchase cleaners that eliminate the enzymes that create odor. If you don’t clean up your dog’s mess appropriately, he (especially an adult male) will be much more likely to soil in that spot again. NEVER rub your dog’s face in his accidents, it doesn’t teach the dog anything and he’ll think you’re crazy and unpredictable!
Pick a spot, any spot
Most people will come across, at one point or another, a dog that seems to be looking for the “perfect spot” to go potty. Start him out right away with one designated area of your yard that he should use as a toilet, and you won’t run into this problem. When you are housebreaking your dog, GO OUTSIDE WITH HIM! Supervision- inside and out- is the key to success and it is crucial that you are outside with him to observe and praise him. Whatever spot you choose, you must be consistent, and soon the dog will learn that you want him to go potty when you go there. Go out to your spot and stand very still and quiet in one spot. Eventually he’ll get bored and go. This might take a while. If he doesn’t go potty now, do not reward him by taking him in to play, take him back inside and put him in his crate for 10 minutes, then come out again with him.
Know your puppy’s schedule
Puppies are pretty simple creatures, as are adult dogs. They eat, they poop and/or pee. They sleep and wake up, they poop and/or pee. They get rowdy, play, and run around- you guessed it, they poop and/or pee. The only difference between an adult and puppy dog in regards to timing is that the puppy does its business almost immediately after these exercises. Take your dog out after he’s been crated for any length of time, and make sure you give him a chance to go potty after he eats (within an hour or two for older dogs, about 20-30 minutes after for puppies.) Start feeding him on a schedule, so he will begin to eliminate on a schedule as well. Take them out any time they get excited, such as when you come home from work or you have visitors. A good point to remember is that anytime ANYONE comes home, or goes outside, take the puppy out. As a general rule of thumb, do not crate a puppy longer in hours than its age in months until about 6 months, then work your way up to 8. This means that a 4 month old puppy should not be crated for more than 4 hours. And one hour LESS than months in age is even better to help prevent accidents!
Accidents do happen
But that doesn’t mean you can’t prevent them most of the time. Through supervision, you can seriously cut down on your dog’s opportunity to have an accident. Even if the dog is tied to you, he may still squat and go, because he doesn’t know better yet! When you see your dog doing this, IMMEDIATELY- I mean MID-STREAM- say “OUTSIDE!” and take him out. Don’t let him finish what he’s doing if he hasn’t. Run like the wind to your designated potty spot and let him go there. If he doesn’t go there and you think he hasn’t finished, bring him in and crate him for a while, then take him back out to see if he goes. Make a huge fuss over going outside, so he realizes “oh, when I went in the house she wasn’t this happy!” Your reward needs to be better than HIS reward, which is relief through elimination- it feels good to him to go!
Crating your dog
If you can’t supervise your dog, you are not going to be successful in housetraining. This is where your crate comes in handy. It will thoroughly speed up the potty training process. ANY time you cannot supervise your dog, he should be in his crate or attached to you with a leash- even in the house. You can’t let him out of your sight! Your crate will be your best friend through this, but don’t overdo it or he may begin soiling his crate.
The best way to teach your dog anything is to associate the action with a command. Take your puppy out to potty and as soon as you see him squat and go, praise “GOOD DOG! Good potty!” Don’t distract him from the deed but make sure he hears you! After he’s done, make such a big fuss your neighbors will think you’ve fallen off the turnip truck. Immediately give him a yummy treat that he doesn’t get at ANY other time, and play with him a bit. Don’t immediately go back inside or you will be teaching him that he can stay out longer if he DOESN’T potty right away. Reward him immediately, and he will learn the association. Pretty soon you can add “Go potty” as a command while he’s sniffing around looking for a place, and he will know what you are telling him to do!
Â© 2005 Crystal Collins