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Housebreaking Dogs and Puppies - A Step by Step Guide to Potty Training Your Dog or Puppy
If you're reading this I think it's safe to assume that you either currently own, or are about to buy, a dog or puppy and don't want to come home to nasty "surprises" on your living room floor. That's why I'm writing this step by step guide to potty training your adult dog or puppy.
Before I get into the details of how to do this I want to take a second to say that this is not a difficult thing to do. It's a pretty straight forward process and anybody can get great results! It DOES however require both consistancy and diligence on your part to make sure that your dog or puppy is really and truly housebroken.
It also helps to have a basic understanding of the way your dog thinks. They rely on instincts to tell them what to do, it's important that you understand this and not allow yourself to start attributing human feelings and motivations to them. They are pack animals. If you really want to understand your dog and effectively train him I suggest taking the time to really study pack behavior and animal instinct.
However, if you don't have the interest or time to dedicate to studying the things that drives your dog's behavior here's a quick run down of what you need to do to teach your dog to "go" outside.
1. Always watch your puppy for signs that he needs to eliminate. Things like sniffing around the floor are a sure sign that your puppy is looking for a good spot to go. As you go along you'll start to recognize the signs that your dog needs to go potty.
2. IMMEDIATELY take him outside as soon as you see that he needs to potty. Also designate a specific place in the yard for him to do his business, take him there and repeat a specific command like "Do it here." until he eliminates.
3. As soon as he eliminates give him lots of praise. This is positive enforcement and is extremely important to this whole process. We want the dog to know that when he does what we want him to do something pleasent happens.
4. We also want our dog to know that EVERY TIME he does something we don't want him to do, something unpleasent happens. This is why it's critically important to correct the dog when he has an "accident" in the house. If you have to go to work or leave for whatever reason and aren't able to supervise your dog you need to keep him in a crate inside or an enclosed dog run outside. Don't just leave your dog unsupervised outside while you're gone as this can lead to other problems.
When you give your dog a "correction" it has to be motivational or you might as well not bother. By motivational I mean something that gets his attention and makes him understand that he just did something wrong.
For this I highly recommend a pinch collar or an electronic shock collar for adult dogs. For a puppy it's enough to grab them by the scruff of the neck and give a vigorous shake and pinch.
It's critical that you administer the correction immediately after the dog does whatever you don't want him to do, in this case pottying in the house. Dogs have a very short term memory, if you don't correct him immediately he won't understand what he did wrong or why you're correcting him.
If you aren't physically close enough to perform the correction immediately you can buy yourself some time by yelling "NO NO NO NO NO" while you run to him. By doing this the dog will associate what he just did with the correction you give him once you get there. This will only buy you around 10-15 seconds, so you need to be quick.
NEVER under any circumstances physically strike your dog. It's abuse and can only damage your relationship with him. After all, you want a companion that you can love and who loves you, nobody loves somebody that beats them.
5. Set up a specific schedule for feeding and watering your dog and stick to it. Take him outside immediately afterwards and go to the designated spot. Keep repeating your "elimination command" until he goes and then praise him.
6. Accidents are going to happen. You might as well get used to that idea now. That's why I suggest investing in enzymatic cleaning agent. Your local pet store should have a selection of these available, pick one out and use it on the spots where your dog eliminates in the house.
I don't suggest using any of the home made cleansers you'll find all over the internet. The reason is they almost all make use of either water or amonia or fragrances. Water will only spread the stain out, amonia is created by the breakdown of the urine and can confuse the dog into thinking it's ok to go there agtain. Fragrances just cover up the problem for us, remember your dog's sence of smell is many times better than ours and he'll still smell the spot thru the fragrance and think it's ok to go there.
Enzymatic cleaners use enzymes to actually break down the stain on a molecular level. The enzymes actually "eat up" the stain and leave nothing behind for the dog to smell.
If the dog eliminates in the crate or dog run while you're away don't give a correction, he won't know why you're doing it anyway. Just take him outside and follow the advice in numbers 2 and 3 above. Then clean up the crate with soap and water and use your enzymatic cleaning agent to get rid of what's left over.
That about covers it. Just remember that you can do this, it just takes dedication and diligence on your part. Sure it's a bit of work, but the benefits far outweigh the trouble you'll have to go thru. You won't have to worry about your floors or furniture being ruined, your dog will know exactly what you expect of him and you'll both be happier as a result.
Now you can spend more time bonding and actually having fun with your dog!
Thanks for reading this article, I hope you found it usefull.
Tony is the owner and editor of http://www.Dog-Training-Resources-Online.com
He's trained numerous dogs over the years for both himself and others. Please be sure to visit his website for great dog training tips and a free 7day course on training your own dog.
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