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Housetraining Tips

We have found over the years that regardless of all the advise you get about housebreaking there is one big issue overall. Do you work away from the house or at home? People get puppies all the time and then wonder what to do with them when they are gone for 9 hours a day. ACS approaches housebreaking from these two angles.

#1 You are able to stay home or come & go often.

Training is much easier on this type of schedule. It comes right down to being a good time manager. Scheduling meals, rest, play and knowing how to anticipate when your pup needs to go. Crating is the fastest and has the least amount of cleaning and damage with it.

  1. They need to go out every 2 hours, after each nap, immediately after a meal, one hour after a meal and after any play session.

  2. Start with treating and tons of praise when they go outside. It MUST be a great treat and when we say praise we mean throwing your voice way up, clapping your hands, jumping up and down, running around....make it so your dog thinks you are really elated over what he just did. Don't worry, it's only during training. You can apologize to the neighbors later. Make the pups tail or whole body wag if you can. Tie that excitement to a word you will use every time. Use tons of repetition so the training goes faster. Try not to use good boy. Later the dog will go on your command word.

  3. Confinement is very important with young pups. Do NOT let them have the run of the entire house. They should live in a crate or small room like the laundry room or the kitchen until they are trained.

  4. Pick up all but one piece of stool when they go outside and the next potty trip (on leash) take them to that spot and use your command word. All dogs are stimulated by any potty already there.

  5. A convenient way of controlling your pup is just clipping a leash to your belt and letting him go around the house with you. This is not the best but it creates fun confinement or control. One of the best ways of teaching a pup his place in his new environment is a drag line. We've seen this change peoples lives. There is about 10 things they learn around that. Call us and we can discuss this with you. The only thing is don't keep them tied to you for hours & hours. You do NOT want to set them up for separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is hard on everyone; humans, dogs, pet caretakers, vets, breeders, community events, neighbors, everyone. Allow your pup to be totally by itself for short periods of time and don't give in to the whining. You only go give him attention when he is quiet.

  6. Most dogs have a natural desire to not soil their den so keep it clean when they do go and they will get it in time unless there are some strong behavior issues that you need advice on.

  7. You will not hurt anything by using a low growl type voice, saying no, when he does potty in the wrong place. It's just the opposite of that happy voice outside. And remember with dogs it is NOT about the words. Until we teach them what words mean they don't know what you are saying. They are not a human. They don't speak English. All they are hearing is Lolllmmm Daadoom Ssimmthati Setthththth Peawppappapaaaa. There is no need to rub a dogs nose it it's potty..... they can smell it three rooms away. And please don't buy into the advice that if you don't catch them in the act then a correction does no good. We board thousands of dogs and let me tell you they know EXACTLY where they go and even after months later they will still go to a familiar spot even after extremely good clean up.

#2 Your work takes you away from home 8-10 hrs a day.

This is when housebreaking is much harder and usually takes longer and can also create behaviors that are tough to change. Just think about it. Every time your pup did something while left at home with no guidance you have just taught him that it is OK to do that. It would be the same as leaving a one year old child in a room by itself all day. So we come home to Buster and say; "Oh Buster, why did you have to do that?" They do it because that's what dogs do. ACS does not suggest the use of crates for a 9 hour period. This is just too much time in a crate.

  1. Confined to a flat floor, lay newspapers all over the floor. Leave a crate in the room for comfort and a den. Never punish your dog for pottying during a 9 hour period. Even an adult dog.

  2. On departure and arrival do not make a bunch of emotional sounds. Just act as if it is nothing for you to come and go. On arrival, quickly grab a piece of soiled paper and leash up the dog and go outside dropping the soiled paper on the grass. See if the pup will smell and potty. If it does use the advise on #1 for praise.

A question we get asked all the time is why does my dog chose NOT to go potty on our walk after we get home from work and then as soon as we get inside the house he urinates. When your dog has been left alone all day long he thinks he has just won the lottery when you get home. His first thoughts are about playing with you. His body is all shut down from sleeping all day. A short walk will get a little potty but inside he's going to want to run around and play. THAT'S when he needs to go. So after all the play inside and love and saying hello then take him out once again.

If you have any housebreaking questions just give us a call.....we can help.

If you are struggling with housebreaking for more than a few weeks then whatever techniques you are using just may not be correct for your pup.

Get ahead of any wrong behavior quickly as the longer your dog repeats a pattern of unwanted behavior the harder it is to change later. Please do call us when you run out of experimentations of your own. We can give you a lot of ideas and things to try. Always try to see stresses physical or emotional. ACS can help analyze it with you.

A dog does not know the difference between the floor and the grass. So if you place a potty pad on the floor you are telling him it is OK to go inside the house. This makes potty training really long and hard. Urination is not only a necessity for a dog but it is also communication. They talk to us by biting, peeing, pushing, barking, jumping, mouthing, growling, whining, crying or licking.

Feeding: For these pups starting out it is not a good idea to 'Free Feed'. Most all Vets will say this too. Think of the wild. Mamma's bring food to them. Free feeding causes several negative things but most of all it causes boredom with food.

Separation: Use a radio or TV when pups are left alone or even adult dogs. Remember to not use a sweet empathetic voice on departure or arrival. "Oh, poor baby, did you have to potty?"...... Your dog will associate that sweet voice with praise and think he did something good. Correction: Remember that it is unfair to correct a dog when he has not a clue what you are asking of him.


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