Tips for House Training Your Dog
Welcoming a new member of the family is always an exciting time. Whether it’s a new puppy or an older rescue dog, the happiness they bring into the home is simply wonderful. What’s not exactly wonderful is cleaning up accidents on your carpet. However, with patience, persistence, and consistency house training can help them learn their new role in the home. These tips work just as well with puppies as they do older dogs.
Create a Routine
Establishing a routine is the first thing you need to do to get on the right track. Consistency is key with house training so stick to your schedule as much as possible. It’s important to take your puppy outside frequently, first thing in morning and at least every two hours throughout the day, and especially after eating or drinking.
Next you’ll need to get them on a feeding schedule to help you know when they will need to go potty. Feeding them at the same time every day will help make elimination more consistent. Lastly, get in the habit of taking away their food and water dish 2-3 hours before bedtime to help them not have to go potty in the middle of the night.
Pick a Potty Spot
Designate one area of your yard to be their potty spot. Take them out on a leash to that same spot every time. As they go use a cue word, such as “go potty” or in my family we say, “do a good boy.” Then after a while you can use that cue word before they go inside to remind them to go outside. When my dog looks like he needs to go we’ll say, “Rigsby, do you need to go do a good boy?” and he’ll take off to the door if he needs to go. Make sure to give out lots of praise and treats when they go potty outside, the positive reinforcement is imperative.
Supervise and Confine
You need to supervise your dog at all times in the house. When you’re not able to watch them put them in a crate or kennel. If you don’t have a kennel, put them in an area small enough to where they can only lay down, but not turn in circles. If you’re thinking about crate training, make sure to research it to ensure the health and safety of your new pup. If they have been in a crate or kennel for a long period take them outside as soon as they are let out. It’s a good idea to tether them to a chair with a leash (4-6ft) when supervising them inside, but not actually interacting with them. As soon as they show signs of needing to eliminate, take them out to their potty spot immediately. Signs include spinning in circles, barking, scratching at the door, sniffing or squatting.
Always keep in mind that accidents do happen and will happen during the house training process. If you catch them in the process then stop them and take them outside to finish. If you find it already done, don’t scold them because it’s too late for correction. If they are afraid of getting in trouble when they eliminate they will start to hide to do it, or even eat it to hide the evidence. Both of these behaviors only undermine the house training process. If you have an older dog and they are having a lot of accidents after consistently training, then you may want to talk to your vet about possible underlying behavior or physical issues.
Consistency really is key when it comes to training your new dog to use the bathroom outside or in a specific area. Only following the routine sometimes will confuse your dog and cause more accidents, it basically sabotages all your efforts leaving both of your frustrated. Having a new family member can be a little bit of work at first, but it’s more than worth it!