Dogs aren’t knowing where they should and shouldn’t relive themselves. House training success is fastest achieved when you get really good at controlling your dog’s environment and supervising them really well. You overall goal is to teach your dogs that your house is their house. See? Instinctively dogs don’t like to do their business where they live and sleep. But it can take a while for them to generalize an entire house as their primary residence.
Let me show you what I mean:
If this is your house, you first want your dog to understand this area is their living space before expecting them to generalize the whole living room, the kitchen, bathroom and so on until they have learned that the whole house is their house.
You do this by slowly giving your dog access to the rest of the house under heavy supervision over time along with taking them outside every often.
So, what are the best way to control your dog’s environment?
I’ve found that the best way is by actual attaching a leash to you. This way your dog can’t wander off into another room and you are in a better position to kind of take cues from your dog that they might want to go outside. Now, if you need help introducing a leash and a harness to your dog, don’t hesitate to take a peek at this article.
Baby gates or crate
Baby gates are a great way to control where your dog can and can’t go. You can also get a puppy playpen like this one and this will give your dog a fair amount of room when you want to break from heavy supervision from time to time.
No matter how you decide to control your dog’s environment, make sure you go out of your way to ensure that they have a great time in whatever environment you choose.
A crate is a nice way to your dog a cozy place to hang out when you can’t really supervise them. Now, since a crate is pretty small relative to a big room, your dog is less likely to do their business inside of a crate and they will be more likely to accept it as their primary living space.
Remember, dogs don’t like to do their business where they live and sleep. Understand though the crate is not a dog’s sitter, it’s just a way to keep your dog safe and out of trouble for short periods of time when you absolutely can’t supervise them.
How to let your dog voluntarily go in the crate?
But you want to introduce the crate delicately in order to make sure that your dog enjoys being inside. First, you should let the pup explore the crate by opening its door up, let him/her smell it, check it out without forcing them in the crate at all.
That’s really good! Give him a treat just to create a positive association while being in the presence of this crate. Then, you try and get him to go inside of the crate voluntarily because you don’t want to force him in it, right? You want him/her to want to go in there.
Start off in the crate’s door and then give the treat a little bit farther, until it’s at the deepest place of the crate. Remember to keep the crate’s door always open to let the pup know that he/she can come in and out.
You can also treat him/her from outside of the crate right here and really, you are just trying to achieve giving him comfortable with being in the crate a little bit longer.
Now, after a couple of minutes when your puppy is already getting used to the crate, close the door, but you’re still there with him/her. Don’t walk away and leave him alone. Instead, treat him from the outside. It’s a good idea to just kind of hang out with your dogs like this for a little while, especially those first few training sessions.
Pay attention to the crate, it should be big enough for a mature dog’s size to move around comfortably inside but with a puppy, I don’t want the crate space is too big for him, that’s why I usually use a divider panel in it.
This is a very temporarily step after your dog is starting to make the connection that this is where they hang out a lot, you can then enable to enlarge the crate.
To be clear, an oversized crate is absolutely fine after your dog has gone several days without having an accident in the crate.
Where to place the crate
In the beginning, place the crate near your bed so that your pup is less likely to have anxiety when you go to bed at night. It’s normal that you puppy might keep you awake sometimes in the middle of the night. And yeah, you will have to get in the habit of getting up and taking them outside, which is a part of having a puppy. It will get better though.
And later, you can move the crate into another room if you want to.
How long your dog should be in the crate
Now, good rule of thumb for how long your dog should be in the crate is roughly one hour per month of age. However, you really want to avoid having any dog stay in a crate for more than four or five hours at a time at any age with the exception of overnight.
This is why it’s important to have additional puppy proofed areas available like a puppy proof, laundry room or bathroom where you can tolerate potty accidents if they do occur in case you do need to leave your dog alone for a little while.
Before leaving your dog alone for many hours at a time, do your best to give them age-appropriate exercise. Now, since many of us have jobs that require us to be away from the house for more than 8 hours at a time, decide to come home at lunch and let them out and play for about 30 or 45 minutes if possible.
If this is impractical for you though you might need to enlist the help of a friend family member, dog walker or doggie daycare. So, how often should you let your dog outside to go on a potty break.
Well, in general, I recommend about once an hour, make sure you take them outside immediately upon arriving home or waking up. Be prepared to stay outside for 5 to 10 minutes, it’s okay if they don’t go each time but it’s important that you continually give them the opportunity to go. Now, in cases where they have been left alone for two or more hours, make sure to take them outside immediately upon arrive home or waking up.
Why are you waiting for your dog to relieve himself be boring? Just let him check out the environment because you don’t want to distract him.
Now, when he finishes going, that’s when reward him big. It’s as though going potty outside unlocks the most fun version of you to your dog. Now, you can reward them with a great treat or even a short play session. Creating positive associations in this way will make your dog actually want to go outside to do their business.
Now, if your dog does have accident inside, don’t punish him. This is about as effective as punishing an infant for going in their diaper. Your dog isn’t to blame to for this accident either you weren’t consistent enough or you didn’t control the environment well enough. Just do a better job next time.
So, what do you do if you actually catch your dog in the act of going inside. Well, if possible, pick them up and rush them outside. Otherwise, clean up the mess, doing your best to eliminate any odors and do a better job of following the steps I’ve outlined in this article so far.
Now, some of you might be wondering about submissive or excitement urination, that’s where your dog pees when they get a little bit nervous or extra excited. Typically, most dogs will outgrow this by the time they are 12 to 18 months of age. But, if you prioritize socializing your dog, they will probably get there sooner rather than later.
Should I use a puppy pad?
In general, I’d recommend against using puppy pads unless you have a unique situation like maybe you live in a high-rise apartment where it’s impractical to get your dog outside very often. That’s because dogs generally develop a preference to whatever texture they experience most often while relieving themselves. So, if you want your dog to go on grass full-time. Well, just introduce them to lots of grass and give lots of praise when they do their business in the right place.
Most people celebrate house-training success a little bit too prematurely so, how will you know when your dog is completely house trained. I’d say that once they go one to two months with absolutely no accidents and can go several hours between potty breaks, you’re probably out of the woods.
Regression is likely especially in the first year or if you move or your dog experiences another major change to their environment. If this happens, just take a step back and go back to basics. Whether you have a puppy or an adult dog, remain vigilant for six straight months without letting your guard down. Dogs are relinquished all of the time because of issues with house training and other problems behaviors.