Housebreaking a dog is more than just getting the dog to relieve himself in the right place and at the right time. It includes this, but it also involves his entire behavior in the house. He must learn things like what rooms he is allowed to enter and what places he is not allowed to lie on.
A new dog can wear out his welcome fast when the owner finds out he urinated on the carpet. (A more exhaustive list of dog behavior problems is available in DIY Dog Training.) Of course, if he is a young pup, he can’t help it. If he has go to, he goes. It’s natural. Therefore, the training process must begin as soon as possible.
The best age to get a pup is about eight weeks old. However, a dog usually can’t control the muscles to hold the urine until the proper time until he is about twelve weeks old. Therefore, it is important to take your dog outside often during the first days of ownership. Set a schedule and plan to get the dog outside after every meal. You can take him for a walk if you live in the city, or let him romp outside if you live in the country. Take him out every hour at first, and reinforce good actions positively.
Positive reinforcement is crucial. He will understand a pat, a dog biscuit, kind and encouraging words. This assures the pet that he is pleasing you and most dogs like to do that. So, opportunities to go, and much praise when he does will reinforce his acceptable behavior.
Are there places in your house you don’t want the dog to go? For example, a black shedding dog may not be welcome on the white couch! The pup not yet potty trained may not be welcomed in the carpeted floors. How do you get your new dog to understand these rules?
This kind of training, say the best books on dog training, requires consistency and patience. So, if the dog goes into the forbidden area, then instruct him with words and force him out of the room or off of the furniture. Do this every time he trespasses so that he knows this is never allowed. If you make exceptions, it will only confuse him.
If the dog trespasses when you are not watching, but never when you are watching, he may be displaying a stubborn (and tricky) streak. One family made it clear their dog was not welcome on the furniture. When they came home and felt the warm spot on the softest chair, they knew the dog was violating the rules. In such cases, perhaps you need to trick the dog into thinking you are gone when really you are watching. Then when you catch him trespassing, a rap with a folded paper and a scolding will demonstrate to him that he dare not ever cross the line.
Dogs are pleasers, so praise for right conduct goes a long way. Any reward you can think of will reinforce the good conduct, and withholding the reward will reinforce the cost of bad conduct. Be patient and don’t give up! In the long run, both you and your dog will be glad.
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