by Dr. Rachel Francis
Recognize your dog’s signals, solve housetraining problems, and reward appropriate behaviour in 9 steps.
NUMBER ONE! PREVENT inappropriate elimination by CONFINING your dog. Allowing your untrained dog to wander all over the house without supervision is asking for an accident. The goal of confinement is to prevent accidents from happening. Keep your dog in a confined area (CRATES ARE BEST) or on a leash when you cannot observe her constantly.
#2. Observe your dog, when she sniffs the ground and circles around, calmy and quickly take her to the elimation area. Ideally don’t wait for these behaviors, take her outside regularly.
#3. Feed your dog a measured amount of food at the same time everyday. Do not leave food down between meal times.
#4. Puppies naturally have to eliminate after eating, drinking, playing, resting, or being confined. Prevent accidents by taking your puppy to the elimination area within 30 minutes of these activities, or as soon as she displays the behavior above.
#5. Use the same quiet phrase every time such as “go potty”.
#6. When your dog beings to eliminate, quietly offer praise.
#7. When your dog is done, praise enthusiastically and offer him a food reward immediately, not back at the house.
#8. Reward with praise every time, and gradually reduce the food rewards.
#9. Remember YOU are responsible for preventing accidents! DO NOT scold the dog for eliminating inappropriately, this may cause your dog to be afraid to eliminate in front of you. Quietly clean up and deodorize the soiled area. Puppies under 3 months need to go out FREQUENTLY when they are awake, sometimes every hour.
Myth Buster: Dogs DO NOT house soil because they are angry at being left alone, nor does “acting guilty” mean your dog is properly trained and deliberately house soiling for spite. These are dogs that are not properly trained or are having other behavior problems, and your veterinarian can help!