Housebreaking Your Dog

Using these guidelines, most puppies of six (6) weeks to eight (8) weeks can be house broken within four (4) weeks. Adult dogs can be housebroken using these same guidelines. However, it may take longer.

All dogs are naturally clean. Housebreaking depends upon the instinct of dogs to keep their bed clean. You can make use of this instinct by creating a sort of home “den” for them. Dogs are “den” animals. Their own private place gives them a sense of security. Confinement is NOT cruel unless abused.

Do this by constructing or obtaining a crate that will have a door or lid on it with adequate ventilation holes. The crate should be big enough for the puppy to turn around in and even lay at full length, but no longer. The lid, or door, is required to keep the puppy from climbing out. Airline crates work well. A puppy does not want to soil his den and then sleep in it!

If the crate is so large that he can relieve himself in one end and sleep in the other, he will do so. Bedding can be a dish towel or wash cloth. Remember that on the very first day it is important to start giving the puppy all his naps in the crate. (Puppies sleep 75% of the time!!) When the puppy awakens from his nap, you immediately lift him from his crate and carry him outside to a spot that you previously selected.

You must take him to this spot before and after play, always when he awakens from a nap, and always the first thing in the morning and last thing at night. You must never “just put him out.” Instead, you must take him to this spot, urge him to go, and PRAISE him when he does and be consistent. Praise may include giving a small food treat. Within a week, you’ll be well on your way to having him housebroken and going on command.

Points to Remember:

A dog can only understand scolding and praise if it occurs within a few seconds of the event you are trying to control. Catching a puppy “in the act” is the only time to scold or praise. After the event has occurred, it is too late to scold or praise, because the puppy will associate your feedback with whatever he is doing at the time, not ten minutes before. Rubbing his nose in his mistakes is a worthless technique and only confuses the dog.

• Feed the dog according to the following schedule. Do Not leave food out continuously!

• Feed using the above schedule, allowing the dog 15 minutes to eat. Take outside after each meal – rain, snow, or sunshine – to the same spot in the yard. Do Not bring the puppy back inside until a bowel movement has occurred. Determine how soon (after eating) the bowel action occurs. Usually this will be about the same time every time. For some pups this might take up to one hour. Now you have learned about how long to wait after feeding before going outside. Feed your puppy the same time every day. This will keep the puppy’s digestive system regular and will make it easier for you to predict when he needs to go out.

• For cleaning accidents, use an odor neutralizer, such as Elimin-odor. Most household cleaners contain ammonia, which is also found in urine – and therefore only confuses the puppy.

Good luck and please consult our clinic if you are having any difficulties in housebreaking your puppy.