dog training, dog behavior, dog health

Housebreaking Your New Dog

Most dogs can be housebroken in just a few days.  The trick is to understand how a canine digestive system works - and in being able to communicate your wishes to the animal without confusing him or frightening him by shouting or hitting.

Dogs have a short, straight digestive system.  They do not have the long bowel loops of the human intestinal tract.  What goes in your dog's mouth comes out the other end rather quickly.  Knowing  this fact simplifies your housetraining task.  Animals also will not soil their immediate area unless they simply cannot avoid it.

Just like a child, a small pup doesn't have a lot of control so some accidents in the early weeks are to be expected.  This lack of control works to the benefit of the pet owner in teaching the basics of "go outdoors".  The method you use will depend on your schedule.  If you are able to be with your pet through the day, housebreaking is relatively simple.

Do not put food and water out where your pooch can eat/drink constantly.  Every 2 hrs or so, give your pet water to drink.  As soon as he stops drinking physically take him outside.  Carry him to the door and make the same statement each time, such as "let's go out" or "want to go out?".  It won't take long for your pet to identify the phrase to meant "go to the door".  If you prefer him to use a certain area of your yard for his "business", take him to that area and put him down.  Talk to him, play with him and stay with him until he urinates.  The moment he does it, tell him how good he is using your best "good dog" voice and immediately take him back indoors.

Twice a day, put food out for him and again as soon as he finishes eating, taking him out and staying with him.  Dogs often require some exercise before defecating so this is a good time for play.  The moment he starts to do what he's there for, praise him as a great dog and let him know how happy you are with him.  When he is done, take him inside immediately - again with expressions of your approval.

If you are a parent, you will understand the praise aspect of housetraining.  This is no different than telling your child how great he was to poop in the potty.
It sounds just as dumb but it works. 

It also is a good idea to put newspaper or a training pad at the door you use to take the pup out.  When he has accidents (and he will) clean the area immediately and use an odor neutralizer to remove all traces as animals will return to spots they "marked" previously.  As the pup grows, so does his ability to control his bodily functions but smaller breeds may never develop the ability to remain indoors all day without accidents.  Trained to go to the door, such breeds will successfully use doggie pads in the absence of their owner.

To train a full grown animal, you might need to place him on a leash and then take him to the designated area.  That insures that you will be able to return him to the house immediately and help him understand what he is supposed to do.  An adult dog will quickly understand the "out" phrase.  Another useful sound to use is a sharp "uh uh" when you see him making a mistake in the house. 

At night, you will want to confine the new family member - either in a kennel or by enclosing him in a smaller area of your home.  First task each morning is to take the animal out.  Housebreaking your dog is more a challenge of learning to understand each other than a training exercise.  Once he understands how happy you are when he does his business outside, the only accidents will be because he was left in too long.  The owner's challenge is to know how to communicate so that his dog understands what is expected of him.