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Housebreaking Your Dog

It’s no secret housebreaking a puppy is no easy task.  In some respects it’s harder to potty train a dog than an actual child, but there are some tricks to make it a little bit easier on you.


Teach your Pooch to Potty Like a Rock Star – HOUSE-TRAINING BASICS For dogs of all ages!


You’ve just brought home a new puppy (or adult dog) and it’s now time to begin the house-training process. There are a couple of ways you can help guide your new pup in the right direction. The techniques aren’t complicated by all means, it just takes some good observational skills, patience, and consistency to help you all reach your goals.

Key points to help you achieve success with house-training:

  • Understand the needs and species-specific habits of your dog. Scent, surface texture, other dogs eliminating or marking, and “needing to go” are triggers that will stimulate your dog to relieve him or herself. We all have our preferences, and our dogs are no different.
  • Understand when your dog is more likely to have to go potty, and how he or she communicates they need to. After eating or drinking (about thirty minutes), and upon waking up from sleeping or prolonged periods of rest are the most common times. Being able to read your dogs body language and vocal cues are important, especially during those atypical moments.
  • Determine what your own needs are. Will you be asking your dog to eliminate in very specific locations such as training pads and the yard, or just “outside” in general? Does your dog have free access to an entire yard or will they only be given access when taken out for walks? Will you need someone else to take them out because of your schedule?
  • Set your dog up for success through management of their environment. If you’re uncertain, or know for sure your dog hasn’t eliminated, keeping them confined with the use of a crate, or on leash tethered to you allows for you to keep a watchful eye, while preventing them from wandering off on their own.
  • Be consistent! A concentrated, diligent effort on your part provides steady learning while achieving your overall goals more rapidly. If your dog is rewarded for eliminating in the desired place, he or she will begin to associate the trend of going outside (or where you are training them to go) with being the better choice, and therefore more likely to choose that one, versus one that doesn’t provide any extra bonuses.
  • Help your dog generalize this much needed behavior. Whether it be your own home, visiting friends houses, or other public places with restrictions, you will need to take the time to teach your dog where the appropriate location is. Just like when you go to a new place, you have to ask where the restroom is. Just because a dog knows where to go in one location, doesn’t always mean they will know where to go in a new location. All dogs, no matter the age and training history, need to be shown where the “bathroom” is whenever they arrive at a new location.
  • Reward your dog generously for when he or she makes the desired choice. Petting, praise, “happy talk”, and yummy food treats will encourage your dog to repeat this sought after behavior. The more you reward your dog for eliminating where you want them to go, the more likely they are to choose that location again.

Never punish your dog if he or she happens to eliminate in a forbidden area. Punishment only focuses on behaviors you don’t want, and does nothing to teach your dog where you want him or her to go. Plus, as a side-effect, it can train your dog to be fearful of going to the bathroom in front of you.

Joan Hunter Mayer is a Dog Trainer & Behavior Consultant at “The Inquisitive Canine, LLC”


About The Author:  Joan is a certified professional dog trainer, human-canine relationship coach, and founder of The Inquisitive Canine, LLC. She and her sidekick Poncho the Dog run and manage their family business, providing dog training and behavior consulting services to other inquisitive canines and their families.