Routine is the most important ingredient in
achieving a housebroken dog. Be sure meals
are given at the same time and also try to start
your day at the same time. First thing in the
morning, take your dog outside,
and it is likely the dog will, at least, pee. This is
a good place to start. Use this to start teaching
your pup where the potty spot is. Let your
pup do his business, and as soon as he finishes, give him a big "yes" and three very tasty
treats in a row. Once you have done this several times you can add the verbal command.
Remember, the command can be anything you like. Take your pup out for the first time in
the morning, say your potty word, and when your pup is finished say a big "YES!" And give
three treats in a row. Having a “go potty” word or phrase is needed to help your pup know
when and where not to “go”.
If your dog does not finish his business, be sure to watch carefully once back inside.
When your pup decides to go to the bathroom inside, scoop him up and say “outside”, go to
the potty spot. He will likely finish and then give lots of praise.
Watch your dog carefully between potty breaks. This is critical; most dogs will act
differently before they "go". Some dogs sniff the ground in a circle, some will actually look
at the door, and some will have a very subtle change of expression in their face. If you miss
an accident there is nothing you can do, you can’t reprimand a dog for something that
happened several hours ago because they won’t make the connection. However, if you can
catch him in the act, you may be able to communicate the right place to do his business.
Remember, if an accident starts, scoop him up with a loud reprimand and take him out. If
he finishes outside go ahead and reward him.
If your dog has developed a habit of soiling the house, you have a bit more work to
do. Many of these dogs won’t go outside and come in and pee. You need to have a crate
where the dog can be confined for short periods of time. Most dogs will not go in a small
space, however, if they are confined for more than an hour they will "go" and then you have
an even bigger problem. Then, if you take your dog out and you know that he has to go, but
nothing happens, place him back in his crate for about 5 minutes. Then take him back
outside. Say your potty word, if he goes, really reward him, if not, then put him back into
the crate and wait a couple of more minutes, then back outside to try again. Be sure to do
this when you know he needs to go for those times that you’re not sure, and be sure to keep
watching him . In my experience, 3 to 5 days of really watching closely, making sure your
dog does not have the opportunity to soil inside, and BIG rewards for going outside gets a
dog to ask to go out. Then your job is to make absolutely sure that request is not ignored.
A couple of rules here:
When you go out with your dog you need to be close to reward effectively, so use the
leash at first.
Once your dog knows the potty word and is housebroken, you can do it off leash. It is
also important that your dog can do it’s business on leash and off leash so that when you
travel you don’t end up with a dog on potty strike.
Don’t leave your puppy unattended until you know he won’t have an accident, a
common mistake is to leave access to other rooms, and when you are not watching the dog
may go there and relieve himself.
Be ready to run outside at first sign of the need to go, every dog has a different “tell”, so
watch your dog carefully, you will see a pattern.