Training: Housebreaking Basics

Before you add a dog to the family, keep in mind that even ones advertised as “housebroken” may have some issues adjusting to a new home and routine. Patience and understanding are very important! Here are some general tips to help make your housebreaking go a little more smoothly.

· Keep a regular feeding schedule. Dogs like routine. If you feed them at the same times every day, they’ll need to eliminate at the same times every day. Dogs’ digestive systems are remarkably short… your pup may be ready to poop as quickly as 15 minutes after a meal!

· Take your dog out into the yard within half an hour of eating. If he eliminates, praise him! And I don’t just mean “good boy,” I mean make it like a party. Jump up and down, clap your hands, CELEBRATE!

· If you have a specific section of the yard that you would like to be the dog’s bathroom, bring your dog outside on a leash and keep him in that area until he’s done his business. Walk him around a ten foot area… movement promotes movement, if you know what I mean.

· I’ve read that adult dogs can hold their bladders for up to twenty hours at a time. That doesn’t mean you should wait twenty hours before letting them go out! That’s really for emergency use only.

· With puppies, the general rule is that they will be able to hold their bladders as many hours as their age in months plus one. So a three month old puppy should be okay for four hours. Things may be different with YOUR puppy.

· If your dog leads you to the door or just won’t leave you alone, that may be a sign that he needs a bathroom break! Ignore the signs and you may end up with a puddle. Every dog will develop their own signs; my fur-sister Becca will find my mother and breathe heavily if she needs to go out. My brother’s dog Lily will actually go bonk the door with her head.

Your housebreaking will go much more smoothly if you keep this philosophy in mind: ignore accidents and praise success! Who doesn’t respond better to rewards than punishments? Good luck!