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The Keys to House Training Success

House training, or lack of, causes more dogs to be re-homed every year than any other behavioral issue. No one wants to live with an animal eliminating all over the house, no mater how much you love your pet! If your dog is healthy, and has seen a veterinarian, who has told you there is no medical reason, then there is nothing stopping you from having a house trained pet! If you ever think that your dog simply cannot learn something, remind yourself that dogs are taught to lead around blind people. There is little they can’t be taught, but it will require our time, patients and consistency.

Can my dog use pads indoors and also go out for walks?

It is my experience that this is confusing for dogs! It is best to pick one, and keep this message very clear. Either your dog is allowed to eliminate outside, or he uses pads inside, but not both as this is too much of a mixed message. Also if you have a second home your dog will need to be house trained for this home as well! Even if your dog has shown you he is completely house trained in your apartment, do not take this to mean he will be house trained in your country house. The first time you bring your dog to new places it is best to be sure he has eliminated before he goes inside, and it is a good idea to monitor him and his behavior in this new environment, in a similar fashion to when you first began house training.

5 Rules of House Training

1. Supervised or Confined: your dog is either in you direct supervision, in her crate, or in an appropriate potty spot (outside or pad).

2. Learn your dog’s Schedule: Take her to the right spot as often as necessary. Keep a log to learn your dog’s habits, and when you can predict her potty time bring her outside, or to her pad.

3. Reward her every time she gets right! When your dog eliminates in the right place, give her lots of praise, and three small treats in a row. Make this reward bigger than any other!

4. Don’t scold accidents you didn’t see: If you catch your dog eliminating in the wrong place, then quickly get her to the right place. We don’t ever want to scold accidents we didn’t catch because next time your dog may try to get rid of the evidence by eating her poop, or even worse becoming too afraid to eliminate in front of you!

5. Clean up all accidents well: Do your best to not clean up in front of your dog, she may try to imitate you, and this can also lead to coprophagia.

We consider habits to be changed once a dog has gone 30 straight days without having any accidents, so you should not consider your dog house trained until you have had at least 30 accident free days! I also encourage owners not to fade the food rewards for house training… ever! Certainly make them more sporadic so that your dog isn’t expecting a treat every single time he eliminates, but every once in a while he does get rewarded for getting it right. This will keep your house training in tact, as your dog will never know when the sporadic reward is coming, so he will try to keep up the behavior! Rainy, cold or snowy days are great days to add a reward.

If you are considering sending your dog to a house training boot camp, please be aware that this will not definitely solve your problems as your dog may learn not to go to the bathroom in the house where he is doing his boot camp, but not in yours! House training is the one thing that you have to be committed to with your dog, trainers and dog walkers can offer support and help, but as a dog owner it is really up to you at the end of the day to be sure your dog learns the proper potty habits. Take the time to do it right so that your dog never finds himself homeless over such a simple thing!

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