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Unread 02-20-2007, 01:01 PM   #1
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Default How to: Housebreak / Potty Train

If your dog is not peeing or pooing where your want him/her to, it could have any one or a combination of three causes:

1) Your dog simply cannot "hold it"
2) Your dog does not understand where it is ok to pee/poo
3) Your dog is not able to get to the place where it is ok to go

When is it likely that your dog can't "hold it"?
#1 is most often the case for puppies. Young puppies have about as much bladder and bowel control as a human baby in diapers. By the time they realize they have to go, they ARE so don't expect them to "ask to go out". As a rule of thumb, the puppy's age in months plus one is about the number of hours between the need to go potty. Also when they wake up in the morning they need to go. So putting them in a crate will not prevent them from having to "go". You may need to work for 8 hrs, but that does not mean that they can "hold it". And dogs are naturally clean and so normally will not eliminate near where they eat, sleep or play. But if forced to do so by long confinement, they will get used to the smell of their own pee and poo, which is long-term NOT a good thing. Once a dog has been desensitized to peeing /pooing where it sleeps, eats or plays, it becomes that much harder to housebreak them
#1 can also happen however when an adult dog has a medical problem such as a UTI. So if your adult dog "suddenly" starts peeing where he/she shouldn't and you are sure he/she knows better, a vet checkup is in order.

When does your dog not know where to go?
Solving problem #2, namely teaching a dog where to go, can be frustrating. In most cases, you want the dog go outside but not inside.

The most effective way to get the message across is with positive reinforcement. When the dog goes in the "right" place, praise, treat, make a fuss, cuddle, act like he won the lottery, ANYTHING to make clear that this was the "right" place to go. And if you are having problems with outside vs in, don't be too picky about exactly where your doggy did his/her business. Long-term you may want the grass to be the acceptable spot and not the flower bed or walkway, but for a start you may be better off taking what you can get. Problems seem to crop up most frequently by the way when using indoor pee-pads. This makes all of the indoors fair game as far as the dog is concerned.

Negative reinforcement when the dog goes inside is not a good idea, and most of the time will make a small problem far worse. For example, do NOT "rub the dog's nose in it". First off, your dog has no idea why you are doing this and will not connect the rubbing with the act of pooing. Second, feces is nowhere near as disgusting to dogs as it is to us (heck, some EAT it), so your dog will have no clue as to what message you are trying to get across. Another bad idea is "scolding the dog in the act". You think you are getting the message across "I am scolding you because you are peeing/pooing inside", but what your dog comprehends "Boy they don't like to see me pee or poo. Every time they see me, I get scolded. I better make sure they NEVER see me go again". The result? You take your dog outdoors to go potty, and he/she thinks "No way, not gonna fall for that, I'll just get scolded again. I better wait til we get back home and then I'll go behind the couch so they don't see me". If this is where you are with potty training you have your work cut out for you to relieve your dog's anxiety about being watched.

Another reason why a dog might pee or poo inside has nothing to do with housebreaking, but instead is caused by "separation anxiety". Particularly if it happens when you are gone for a long period of time, taking steps to solve those problems should solve the housetraining problems.

If your dog has peed or pooed inside, you will have to clean the spot with an enzymatic cleaner. Regular household cleaners or disinfectants will not remove the smell to a point where a dog nose will not detect it. And once a spot has been used and has the right "smell", it has become the "right" place to go. Look for a cleaner that has the word "enzymatic" or is a special pet odor cleaner.

How does a dog ask to go?
Even if your dog can hold it and knows where you want him or her to go, accidents still happen thanks to problem with issue #3. If your dog barks or whines to go out, you are lucky. Some are not very good at asking. They will go to the door if they need to go potty and wait for a furless leader to magically appear, day or night. If none comes to let them out, well, eventually you have the puddle or pile on the floor. About all you can do is watch carefully for the signs that your dog may be intentionally or unintentionally giving you. They could be that "special" way of sniffing. It could just be that he/she sits near the door. You can help by asking "Do you want to go POTTY?" and try to get your dog to bark before going out. Dogs can also be trained to ring bells to go out.
http://www.poochie-pets.net/Training.html
(Be careful with this one though, they quickly figure out that ringing a bell means a trip outside and possibly to play rather than to potty. )

Finally, be patient. Dogs do not suddenly "get it" and go from being dirty to housebroken. Progress can be slow, and there will be setbacks and accidents, even when you think they are housebroken.
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Last edited by skunkstripe; 08-23-2008 at 07:59 AM.. Reason: added poochie bells link

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Unread 02-27-2007, 04:03 PM   #2
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Well written - great post, definitely a topic that comes up regularly

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Unread 10-21-2007, 03:45 AM   #3
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Great post
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Unread 12-28-2007, 09:40 AM   #4
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Default Any help for two male dogs, who mark inside the house?

My two Bostons (yes, the same ones that fight each other) urinate pretty regularly in the house. They seem to be having a pi--ing contest with each other. Any thing that's leaned against a wall, or for instance, a Christmas tree, anything that's new that's dropped in the floor, they'll pee on it to mark it in a heartbeat. We let them out at least every two hours and walk them twice a day! Any advice?

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Unread 12-28-2007, 10:55 AM   #5
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I am trying to train my dog for the litter box. My breeder said it was best for her since she was already close to 6 months old when I got her. She uses the paper when it is on the floor, but not when it is in the box. What can I do?

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Unread 12-28-2007, 11:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocky Mountain Mama View Post
My two Bostons (yes, the same ones that fight each other) urinate pretty regularly in the house. They seem to be having a pi--ing contest with each other. Any thing that's leaned against a wall, or for instance, a Christmas tree, anything that's new that's dropped in the floor, they'll pee on it to mark it in a heartbeat. We let them out at least every two hours and walk them twice a day! Any advice?
They're not doiing this because they have to pee, they're marking their territiory. Male dogs can always muster up a little urine for marking; even if they've just been outside and peed a river.

The only way you're going to break this marking habit is to supervise them constantly. The instant one of them even begins to raise his leg, let him know in whatever way you normally do that this is not acceptable.

You'll also need to get a good enzyme cleaner and clean every area where they've marked in the past.

Good luck! This is a difficult habit to break and requires absolute consistency!
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Unread 01-06-2008, 12:05 AM   #7
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Applesmom:
I had thought about trying to make them little 'dog diapers' out of some towels. the ones I've found in stores and on internet seem to be for females in heat and old incontinent dogs. I wonder if I made them wear these 'diapers' if they'd be less likely to pee because of having to 'wear' it for a while. any thoughts?

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Unread 01-22-2008, 12:57 AM   #8
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Belly Bands- some people use them for male dogs- and panties for female dogs in heat / or if they don't trust them to mark as well.

If you fix your dog early on, this type of behavior is cut down if not eliminated- especially if you have two male dogs in one household. But even females mark- so you really have to supervise and stop the behavior.

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Unread 01-22-2008, 01:29 AM   #9
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Default Belly Bands for male marking dogs

Both male dogs were rescues, but are now neutered. I have seen the belly bands in catalogs, I don't want to be too graphic, but they are small dogs (both boston terriers) and one is heavier than the other, I am not sure a belly band will cover their penis and stay there. Do you know what I mean? the penis is sort of behind the hind legs and the belly band only goes up to the back legs. Theoretically you'd think it would have to wrap the hind legs to cover the penis. Maybe I've thought about this too long.

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Unread 03-22-2008, 01:55 PM   #10
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hi,
here is my story for you all.
Potty Training
To teach the dog where to relieve herself. at first you need clean up the smell where they potty/pee before,need do 100% clean up.
1.when find up he/she want potty or pee,bring they on news paper area at floor.make ready 6 news paper at floor. they will do smelling find the place. the best way try get one pee with news paper put at 6 news paper there.
2.never let they make single mistake
3.let they know where you want they to go and...
4.reward they for doing so. "goooood boy/girl."
5.remember each hour hurry the dog to the intended toilet area or dry area with news paper.(go pee! or Go poop). Praise and offer a couple of training treats when successful.
6.the potty training need about 3-4 month for successful.
7.If fail for potty training might facing many problem,they do pee and poop every where,the pee stink is hard to erase,you cannot bring they to friends house or restaurant.

my dog rocky need 2 month for seccessful ,and ricky have follow rocky did, he only less then 2 month.
that the best way for dry area potty training. News paper good and easy clean up.Just much more affordable!! Good for urban dog owner
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