Progressive & Thought Provoking Discussions about Wild & Domestic Animal Behavior, Animal Careers, Animal Training, & More!

Pet Training & Behavior Topics

All content © by Diana L. Guerrero unless otherwise noted and may not be reprinted without prior written permission. All rights reserved. Click here for reprint permissions and fees.

Welcome to Diana Guerrero's Ark Animals Training & Therapy. This section is dedicated to pets, companion animals, and topics related to their care and training. Pet training, behavior modification, and animal therapy are important steps toward better behavior. This Ark Animals article discusses canine toilet training aka house training or puppy housebreaking. (Click here to read about cat marking and litterbox avoidance.) You should always seek professional help for pet problems.

Pet Behavior Problems: Housebreaking or Toilet Training

Housebreaking, house training, or toilet training a pet can be a nightmare. Most people encounter the difficulty with young animals, however housesoiling can arise as a problem with senior animals, or animals just back from surgery, or recently on or off medication.

Beware of taking the advice of well meaning friends or nonappropriate sources since anytime anyone gives you a flat answer to a problem it is often wrong--so your red flags should go up. Each animal and situation is unique and should be addressed as such. There are only so many ways to obtain behavior, but how and when you teach your animal can affect that animal for the rest of his or her lifetime with you.

If you want a well adjusted and responsive canine, training starts early. It should be done with proper lessons that teach your animal how to learn. Training should be gentle and fun, with firm, clear parameters, so the result of those efforts will yield a secure and responsive animal that lives according to the rules of your household...and chooses to behave and eliminate appropriately. Most house training problems can be attributed to a few underlying situations that trigger the problem.

Most successful programs to address house training challenges will give you a variety of techniques and suggestions to obtain success. One of my favorite additions, and an indispensable provision, to any house training program is the "toilet area." This is an area that an animal uses to relieve itself, and that is considered invaluable by most pet owners, since everyone hates to go on "poop patrol" for those little land mines. Inappropriate elimination can be triggered by a number of reasons. Understanding the triggers can help you identify the best approach and solution. Reasons for house training difficulties include:

  • Training by accident or the wrong type of training
  • Inappropriate confinement
  • Side effects (medication)
  • Medical (surgery or other complications)
  • Physical problems or limitations
  • Age (young or old)
  • Territorial marking (T 1)
  • Dominance issues (T 2)
  • New home triggers (T 3)
  • Emotional
  • Isolation
  • Diet changes or nutritional
  • Submissive behavior

You must have a quality diet, and the proper tools or products to assist you in house training. People still believe in the old vinegar and water and other wives tales. Quit asking the wrong people for help! Severe house training cases may take eight to twelve weeks to address, but if you get the right help, and use the right tools, you can usually eliminate this problem right away--pun intended!

If you are experiencing this behavior problem help is just a phone call away! Hire Animal Expert

About the columnist: Since 1978 Diana L. Guerrero has worked professionally with both wild and domestic animals. Guerrero has been affiliated with, and certified by, a variety of animal programs in the USA and Europe. Based in California, she writes, consults, and speaks. Information on her animal career programs, training courses, and her books {What Animals Can Teach Us about Spirituality (SkyLight Paths, 2003), Blessing of the Animals (Sterling, 2007), Help! My Pet is Driving Me Crazy (Guerrero Ink, 2007), Animal Disaster Preparedness for Pet Owners & Pet Professionals (Guerrero Ink, 2007)} can be found in this web site and in the shop. Questions for Guerrero should be submitted via the blog comments or membership forum.


Subscribe to Blog

Click Here for RSS Feed


Guerrero Ink: Freelance Animal Writer

Join Email List