Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Trouble Shooting: House Training

Whether you have a young puppy or an adult dog that uses the indoors as a bathroom it’s generally the same training techniques to solve this problem. Yet sometimes house training isn’t straight forward at all.
Please keep in mind that sudden onset of house soiling in a previously trained dog means a visit to the vet. It can also be a good idea to get an untrained dog/puppy checked out if house training isn’t progressing smoothly.
Now here are a few scenarios that I come across with my foster dogs and my clients.
#1 Fido is urinating or defecating in his kennel overnight.
This is a common occurrence in puppies in particular (especially those small breeds). There are a few reasons for this including adopting from a kennel environment where your dog learned to soil him/herself, inability to hold his/her bladder for long periods of time, etc.
Now what to do about it? Obviously we don’t want our dogs to learn to be dirty so here’s a few solutions that have worked over the years:
-          Remove bedding from the kennel (if your dog soils when there is not bedding then try another option and give him/her the bedding back).
-          Put your pup in a large kennel and create a separate bed and bathroom area (pee pads or house training pad can be used). I usually set up an Extra Large Kennel with a small kennel inside for sleeping area.
-          Set your alarm and give your pup bathroom breaks overnight. Start with every 4 hours. Make these business trips so to speak. No playing or long cuddle sessions. Just take him/her outside, give a cue to indicate it’s time to eliminate. Tell him/her they are good dog and then back to bed. Gradually increase the time between overnight bathroom breaks.

#2 Fido sneaks off to eliminate in the house unseen (even after being walked!)
This is another common problem. Sometimes when a dog is exercised it will stimulate his/her digestive system and they need to go to the bathroom. Dogs can be nervous (or over excited) to go to the bathroom while on a walk so take a short detour into the backyard where it is quiet after walking.
In the house you may need to settle up an exercise pen or blocked off section where you can supervise your dog. Barricade any spots where your dog routinely goes to the bathroom.
Set your dog up on a bathroom schedule where he/she goes out regularly and praise for going outside. Gradually increase the time in between bathroom breaks. If your dog isn’t timid then you can tell interrupt them if they start to go inside and head out (don’t be angry or intimidating as it can make the problem worse).
Another option would be to tether your dog to you. This can be difficult to live and you’ll need a long leash (over 6 feet). It will allow you to keep your eyes on Fido.
Looking for more house training help? Check out Way to Go by Patricia McConnell.

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