Since I already covered cat urinating and cat litter box avoidance issues I thought it might be a good idea to give equal time to puppy house training and dog potty training.
It used to be that people talked about house breaking an animal but behavior modification is a better way to train an animal to live within a human household and the correct term for this is house training.
House training methods do not include corporal punishment.
You know the expression, Sh** happens? Well it does, accidents happen and rubbing a puppy’s nose in the waste works about as well as shoving a dirty diaper into a baby’s face does.
Don’t do it.
Other activities to avoid include shaking or hitting a dog. These actions will only terrify and confuse an animal.
If you dish out punishment for accidents, the only thing that happens is the dog gets more covert about it and learns not to eliminate in front of you.
I’ll get into more specifics later but I want to point out some important behavior clues and information.
How do you know when a dog needs to pee?
Most people miss the signals animals give them that tell them they need to relieve themselves.
Signs that a canine needs to eliminate include sniffing, circling, and squatting.
Dogs need to eliminate after eating, upon waking, after exiting a confined area (such as a crate), first thing in the morning, and after play, excitement, or exercise.
I once had a dog sent to boot camp because he allegedly had house training issues. The first thing the dog did when he came to camp was to go to the door and ask me to let him out to pee!
This case was a communication issue between owner and dog not a house training issue.
Do you recognize your dog’s requests?
Sometimes dogs will just go to the door and look at you or perhaps walk up to your chair and gaze up at you.
I once had a dog breeder friend ask me if I ever got answers from my dog because I always was asking my canine questions.
Funny thing is, I did.
My pal was not in tune enough with my dog’s subtle communication to identify it. This is a common problem for many pet owners and a big one for new pet parents.
Learning to recognize your dog’s signals is important but you can also train your dog to ask you in a more overt manner—such as ringing a bell, barking, or scratching at the door.
The problem is that, in many cases, the dog begins to use these signals to demand response from the pet parent.
House training techniques also vary depending on the age of your canine and the history of the animal’s environment.
Adopted animals (or those who have just moved) may need to be house trained anew or undergo a refresher course.
House training adult dogs usually is easier than puppies because they can hold their urges longer.
Worse case scenarios usually can be solved within eight weeks. There are some exceptions to this rule.
But let me just say you need to be wary about those programs that say you can solve this problem within a week or two. If you are lucky you can but that is not the norm.
Many pet store animals have learned to eliminate in their living quarters—which is abnormal. Most animals travel away from their environments to relieve themselves.
However, any animal that is expected to wait for an unreasonable amount of time may have an accident.
Puppies under the age of about six months are not physically capable of holding their bladders or bowels for long periods of time.
The general rule of thumb about how long a puppy can hold its bladder or bowels is the age in months plus one hour (maybe two).
Other important house training points are:
- You should train what you want. For instance, don’t train a puppy to eliminate on papers in the home if you want it to go potty outside.
- The longer the problem has existed, the longer it will take to extinguish and retrain.
Tomorrow we will look at crate training.