House Training A Dog Of Any Age
People get very upset when a dog does his business in the home. This is such a big problem that around 25% of dogs that end up in animal shelters, are there because of housebreaking problems. Vets are asked to provide advice on a similar percentage of dogs that use their homes as toilets.
A lot of dog owners see their dogs as humans, and are appalled by them using the floor to do their business. They equate this with a member of the human family doing the same thing! But dogs and humans are very different of course, and if you shout at your dog for using your home instead of going outside, this can often have the opposite effect to what you want your dog to do.
Relieving themselves wherever they feel the urge is a natural thing for your dog to do. Your anger when he leaves a smelly mess on the carpet is natural as well, so you need to find a solution to this that works for both of you.
The Fundamentals Of Dog Housebreaking
The first thing here is to realize that house training a dog is possible at any age. It is also true that house training a puppy is easier, but with the right methods you can train your older dog too.
If you really want to know how to house train a dog, then you need to take three things into consideration. The first of these is patience. It can take a while to potty train your dog and there may be the occasional mishaps. The second thing is to be consistent with your training. And the last fundamental is to use positive reinforcement and not punishment.
If Your Dog Is Not House Trained Then Don’t Leave Them Alone
You need to be actively engaging with your dog every minute of the day. If you can’t do this all the time, then other family members need to step in to fill the gaps. Having your dog in the same room as you is not good enough.
If you are not actively engaging with your dog, then they will feel that they can relive themselves wherever they want. It doesn’t matter how many people are around your dog, if nobody is paying him attention then the worst can happen.
If this does happen with your dog then it is not his fault but yours. At this point you are probably thinking that nobody can pay attention to a dog every minute of the day. Well you are right of course, so what is the answer? Get your dog a crate.
There are some dog owners that believe that crates are bad. This is not true, as a crate is a very natural thing for your dog to want. It will be seen as a natural habitat as long as it is not used in connection with punishment.
You see dogs like to dwell in a den. This is natural behavior for them. A dog will try and find a warm and safe place to sleep that is small enough to be cosy for them. The provision of a crate meets this requirement, and your dog will take to it well as long as there is no punishment linked to it.
If you are unhappy about using a crate what is the alternative? Well the only thing that you can do is make sure that your dog is connected to you wherever you go. A practical way to do this is to put a leash on your dog, and then clip this to an item of your clothing. Most people will not want to do this, so getting a crate is the best solution.
Only Feed Your Dog At The Right Time
Many dog owners are tempted to leave bowls of food out for their dogs so that they can eat whenever they like. If you do this then they will eat the food all day, and consequently be ready to poop all day. This makes it very difficult for you to work out a toilet routine for your dog.
Leaving food out all day is not a good idea for dogs that have been house trained, let alone those that haven’t. Change this, and feed your dog twice daily. The first feed should be in the morning and the second in the evening.
It is usually safe to assume that your dog will want to relieve himself an hour after eating. Make sure that somebody is available to take him outside at these times to do his business. You want to be able to predict pooping times as accurately as you can, so that you can control the situation and get him to do this outside. This will speed up the house training process.
Reward Your Dog For Doing It Right
Dog potty training will be a lot more effective if you reward your dog when he behaves well. When you give verbal praise to your dog, use a loving tone in your voice and the same short phrases. Something like “good boy” should do the trick. Don’t keep changing this as your dog may get confused. He won’t understand much English.
What all dogs do understand is food. Have some of his favorite treats to hand and give him a reward when he goes to the bathroom in the right place. Give him the treat and praise with loving words straight after he has done his business.
Your dog will always do things that give him pleasure, and he will soon learn that going to the toilet in the right place will earn him a treat and praise. So be sure to reinforce this good behavior every time he goes in the right place. Once your dog is house trained, you can gradually reduce the treats that you give to him.
Don’t Punish Your Dog If He Makes A Mistake
People find this very difficult to do, but it is really important and you must persist with it. If you miss a signal that your do wants to go then it is your fault and not his. Your dog may have made his mistake some time ago, so he will not understand if you are angry with him.
Consistency is vital here, so tell all of your family members not to get angry with your dog if a mistake is made. If you frighten your dog or punish him in any way, then this can lead to all kinds of unpredictable behavior that you will want to avoid.
A dog crate can really help when it comes to house training your dog. Please read our review of the best dog crates.