House-Training Your Dog
Training a puppy or an adult dog to eliminate in a specified area is really quite easy, but it does require a lot of time and patience.
The process of house-training is the same whether you have a puppy or an adult dog. However, young puppies don't have the muscle control of an older dog and need to eliminate every one to three hours until they are four to six months old.
Useful Tips for House-Training
- Keep a consistent feeding schedule and remove left-over food between meals.
- Take your dog outside on a consistent schedule:
- Adult dogs should be taken outside early in the morning, before going to bed, and before being confined or left alone for periods of time. Fully house-trained adult dogs usually go out at least four times a day.
- Puppies should be taken out more frequently: In addition to first thing in the morning and before bedtime, they should go out after meals, play, and waking from naps.
- Pace back and forth in the area rather than standing still. The movement will help stimulate the need to eliminate.
- If you see signs that he or she needs to eliminate, such as pacing, whining, circling, sniffing, or leaving the room, take your dog outside as quickly as possible to prevent an accident.
- Reward your pet with praise, treats, play, or a walk whenever they eliminate in the appropriate area.
- If you catch your dog in the act of eliminating inside the house, interrupt the behavior with a verbal cue like "not here" or clap loudly enough to startle but not scare. Immediately, quickly, and gently lead or carry your dog outside. Allow your dog to finish eliminating outside and then reward him or her.
- Do not punish or even acknowledge an accident. Your dog cannot connect punishment with something that happened even minutes ago. Punishment may make a fearful dog and worsen the house-training problems. Puppies will make mistakes, and it may be that you did not recognize the signs or take them out enough.
We do not recommend paper-training unless there is a specific reason to do so, such as you live in a high-rise and your pet can't make it outside in time, you have an untrained dog and you have mobility problems, or you have a dog who refuses to eliminate outside (an uncommon problem). Paper-training often leads to confusion when you attempt to switch to outdoors, since your dog has learned that it is acceptable to eliminate indoors.
If you still have questions or are having problems with your dog, please call our Free Behavior Hotline at
(312) 644-8338, ext. 343. We are here to help you work through problems with your dog.