Guide To Housebreaking
by Diane Bauman (2019)
The methods used to train dogs have improved greatly over the years as we have learned more about how our “furry little friends” think. “Paper Training” and “Rubbing His Nose In It” are antiquated way to housebreak a dog, which we now know can produce confused, insecure dogs that often fear, rather than respect their owners. There is now a much more efficient, safer, kinder way to housebreak dogs. It is referred to as “Crate Training.”
Unless you live on the sixth floor of an apartment building NEVER paper train your dog. If you do, you are making the job of housebreaking much more difficult by encouraging the dog to think you want him to soil in the house. Dogs think in black and white. Help them understand right from the beginning that outside is the only acceptable place to relieve themselves.
Establish ONE toilet place outside. Take the puppy to this location after eating, drinking, awakening, excitement or active play. Stand with the puppy and give a command to use the bathroom. ( “Go -Potty,” “Hurry UP” or “Do Your Business” are some favorites.) When the dog “assumes the position” praise him verbally. If your puppy would rather play outside and shows no interest in using the bathroom, take him out on a leash. Stand still and allow the puppy to circle in the appropriate area. Always use the same door to lead to the outdoor potty area. The puppy will eventually stand by this door when asking to go out. All dogs should learn to use the bathroom on a leash in case you need to travel long distances with them.
Feed at the same times every day. Feed the same food every day. This will help keep the puppy regular and allow you to anticipate when he will need to use the bathroom.
The water container should be removed at night and when the puppy is left alone.
Step 5: Should an accident occur in the house:
A) Never let the pup see you clean it up. His mother cleaned up after him and that was acceptable. Don't let him think you are there to do the same.
B) Never “Rub His Nose In It” (unless you want to teach him to eat it!) There is no need to scold, or spank a dog to Housebreak.
If you catch the pup making a mess in the house, interrupt his behavior by picking him up in the middle of his action and take him outside. Praise the pup when you set him down.
If your dog is in the habit of soiling in one particular place in the house, start feeding the pup in this location. Instinctively, dogs will not soil where they eat or sleep.
The older a dog gets without being housebroken, the harder it is to housebreak it. Start housebreaking as soon as you bring a puppy home or acquire an adult dog.
Puppies purchased in pet stores or kept in dirty cages at an early age, are more difficult to housebreak. They have been forced to live in filth where they eat and sleep and as a result, their instinct to be clean is diminished.
USING CONFINEMENT TO HOUSEBREAK
At night or when ever you are unable to carefully watch a dog/pup you are trying to housebreak, the pup should be confined to a crate that they cannot get out of. The crate needs to be large enough for the dog to stand up, turn around and lie down. Since their instinct tells them not to soil where they sleep, the puppy learns to control his elimination. If the puppy cries or acts distressed (after having been in the crate for a while) you must let him out and take him immediately to the outside bathroom. At night, place the crate near your bed so you can hear the puppy if he wakes up and asks to go out. If you ignore a pup trying to communicate with you from a crate, you will force him to be dirty.
IS IT CRUEL TO CAGE A DOG?
Absolutely NOT! Dogs are den animals. In the wild they would live in a small cave or den. A plastic airline crate provides the dog the same secure, safe place that a cave would offer. Dogs usually seek small, confining places such as corners, under tables, desks etc. for security. Since the dog instinctively will not soil where he sleeps and eats, crate training makes use of the dogs instinct to housebreak him in a positive way. Think of a crate as a small puppy crib or playpen.
Crating a dog for more than 4 hours at a time is not a good situation. While puppies do sleep a good many hours a day, they frequently wake up and need to eliminate. Depending on the age of the puppy, you might need to employ someone to let your dog out of the crate every few hours when he is young. Some small breed dogs have very small bladders and can need to relieve themselves every 45 minutes when under 4 months of age. Housebreaking takes effort and time and will not happen if your are away at work and your puppy is left alone at home.
WHERE TO GET A CRATE
Crates can be purchased from airlines as they are used to ship dogs. They are also available in Pet stores and on line. It's not uncommon to find used crates for a few dollars for sale at flea markets, garage sales and at on line market places.
OTHER USES FOR CRATES
After you have used a crate to housebreak a dog, it is still valuable. It protects your house from biting teeth and keeps puppies from eating poisonous products and from being electrocuted by chewing on electric cords. A crate provides and safe and convenient seatbelt for your dog in the car. Many dogs that get car sick are better in the security of a crate in the car.
If your dog get sick or undergoes surgery, your vet will instruct you to keep him quiet. With the use of a crate, this is a simple task.
When traveling, a crate in a motel room assures that your dog will do no damage or stress if you are absent. A crated dog cannot accidentally escape out of a room or car.
If you are having a lot of company and don't want the dog underfoot or near young children, a crate is a safe place to put a dog. Locking him in a room where he can scratch at the door or tying him outside where he might cry or be exposed to the elements is not a good idea.