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House Training

Over the years there have been many suggestions about how to housebreak your dog but recent studies have shown that positive reinforcement and management work best. There are several things to remember when house training your dog. Never punish him for accidents. If you catch your dog in the act make a loud distracting noise by clapping your hands, stomping your feet, or dropping something. When the dog stops pick him up and bring him outside to finish. Be sure to reward him for going outside.

If you do not catch him in the act be sure to clean the accident up out of view from the dog. Use odor neutralizing products such as Nature’s Miracle®. Other cleaning products will not remove the scent and the dog will still eliminate in that area because he can smell it even if you can not. When you first start housebreaking the dog he should be brought outside after waking up for the day or from a nap, eating, playing, training, or actively sniffing. Always take the dog out to the same area in the yard to relieve himself. When the puppy goes, calmly praise him immediately after he’s done. If you begin to praise him while he is eliminating he may get distracted and stop before he is completely finished. In general the dog should never be outside for more than fifteen minutes while training. This is so he does not become confused with the purpose of being outside. Take the dog out and wait five minutes. If he eliminates within the five minutes wait an additional ten to make sure he has done everything he needs to do. Then he can go inside and have 30 minutes of supervised free time inside the house before going out again. If he does not eliminate he should either be put back in his crate (if crate trained) or a small area. After 30 minutes the dog should be brought back outside. A good rule of thumb is that a puppy can only hold his urine for the number hours equal to the number of months old he is plus one. It may seem time consuming to let your dog out every 30 minutes but keep in mind that the puppy needs to have a minimum of 14 accident free days in the house before you can begin teaching him bladder control. Every accident sets the owner back 3 days. It is worth your time and effort to keep your dog accident free.

Once your dog has been accident free it is time to start training him to hold his bladder so he can develop an elimination schedule. When it is time to take your dog out keep him very close to you and make him hold it for a bit longer. If he starts to show signs of elimination such as sniffing distract him with a toy for a few minutes and then take him out. Also keep an elimination log. If you notice there are certain times of day when your dog never goes you can stop taking him out at those times. It is important to form a schedule for your dog that is maintained as much as possible day to day.

Once your puppy has been accident free there are a few measures you can take to extend the length of time he can hold his bladder throughout the night. First remove his food and water at least 2-3 hours prior to bed. It is also important to provide your dog with extensive exercise prior to bed so that he is truly tired making him less likely to eliminate. If you follow these instructions consistently your puppy should be able to hold his urine while he is asleep for 6 hours within one week and 9 hours by the time he is 6 months.

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