Article: House-training 101 SHOW, TEACH, REWARD!
Why Prevent Accidents?
House soiling quickly becomes a bad habit because dogs develop strong location and olfactory preferences for their improvised and convenient indoor toilet areas. When housetraining your dog, the first step is to prevent any more accidents. Accidents are a real disaster since they set a bad precedent and create bad habits which can be hard to break. It is your job to prevent mistakes at all cost.
How to prevent accidents
- Crate the dog whenever your eyes and mind are not on her, since some dogs will have accidents when their owner is present in body but not in mind.
- If you catch her starting to go, interrupt the behaviour at once. A sharp “Hey!” accompanied by clapping your hands will generally stop her. If this does not work, increase the firmness and volume of your demand until it does, then take her outside to do her business immediately. Timing is crucial in housetraining so you should always be ready with shoes, a leash, and treats by the door.
- Whenever your dog does her business outside, offer huge animated praise and a high-value treat. Always offer a treat in the training stage of housetraining as you are creating a positive association.
- Pay attention to your dog’s schedule and the body signals that communicate that she may need to go outside. Most dogs need to relieve themselves five times per day. The more time you spend with your dog, the faster her training process will be. You will get to know her signs better and eventually be able to predict when an accident may occur. If your schedule is such that you cannot ensure your dog is able to relieve herself five times a day, you should consider hiring a dog walker.
- Make sure that your dog is fully trained before removing her crate. Some dogs take longer to be reliably housetrained and if the dog’s crate is removed too soon, bad habits may be formed. Once the habit is formed your dog’s accidents may quickly get out of control. Your dog should be crated for 30 days after each accident before they gain full access to the house once more.
- Punishment will not work and will make your housetraining troubles worse. If your dog is punished for voiding indoors she may become a shy-eliminator. This means your dog is afraid to void while under human supervision and will go to another room or wait until you leave before voiding. This is a human-created behavioral issue, and the dog must be taught to void outside with a human present. If you didn’t see the accident happen, forget about it because the window for teaching is closed. In fact, you only have two seconds to deliver the reprimand or it’s useless and can be harmful. Just clean up the mess and don’t show frustration in front of the dog.
- Dogs never pee or poop out of spite or because they are mad at us for going to work. Dogs can have accidents when you leave the house because of stress caused by separation anxiety and isolation distress. If you suspect your dog’s soiling issue may be caused by anxiety, calmatives may help. Try the DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) spray, liquid Rescue-Remedy, or lavender botanical-spray for bed-linens.
- Never use regular household cleaners for cleaning pee or poop. Always use an enzyme cleaner as it is made to eliminate all odours, even to dog’s very sensitive noses. If you don’t have an enzyme cleaner such as Natures Miracle on hand, clean up the mess with soap and water, then sanitize with a mixture of vinegar and water.
- Have patience when housetraining your dog. She just doesn’t understand why pooping and peeing in the house is such a big deal.
- Use the umbilical cord technique by leashing her to your belt so she follows you everywhere. By doing this, your dog cannot make a mistake without drawing your attention. You will get used to this quickly and you eventually will just ignore her and go about your business.
· If using a fenced yard, are you watching to ensure she does her business? You have to witness it to be sure.
· Has a vet checked for UTI, kidney, or bladder problem? A medical condition cannot be fixed with prevention techniques listed above
· Have you tried a pee post or a litter? A post for pee in your yard may help male dogs resolve their soiling issue. A gravel or sand box area may help for females.
· Have you tried a belly-band or diaper? Belly-bands and diapers are great because dogs do not like to void when wearing these products. You can find these products at your local pet store or online.
· If your dog was previously house trained but started having issues, you may need to go back to crate training. Sometimes anxiety, stress, or a change in routine will start the cycle of housetraining issues and the crate is the best fix for this.