The Ups and Downs of House Training Your Pet
There are so many satisfying moments in the life of a pet owner, but few can truly compete with successful house training. When your pet learns to go to the bathroom (in places you designate and time you approve of), it is nothing short of a life-affirming victory. This is partially because learning this new skill isn’t always easy, and it’s hardly ever quick.
With that in mind, we welcome you to this endeavor and wish you (and all the flooring in your house) all the best!
Establishing a Routine
Dogs of all ages, genders, and temperaments need to be properly introduced to their routine. For a young puppy this means taking them outside on a leash about once an hour. Lead them to the same spot each time, use the same encouraging phrase like “here we go” or “do your business”, and offer loads of praise and maybe a healthy treat or two.
An adult or older dog may benefit from a similar structure at first (especially if you want them to repeatedly return to the same spot on the grass to minimize yellow circles everywhere), but they can typically stand 2-4 hours between bathroom breaks. Stay with them until they go (this can take anywhere between 5-15 minutes). You can all but guarantee that your dog will go while you’re on a walk, so if they aren’t using the grass in the backyard get them moving around.
Know Your Dog’s Potty Cues
Always provide a bathroom break after your pet wakes up or eats. Getting them into the habit of going outside directly after these events can reduce future accidents inside the home.
You can try to confine your pet in a crate or inside the laundry room until they “earn” more freedom by demonstrating control in the bathroom department. However, keep in mind that, while they’ll make every effort not to spoil their crate or environment, accidents happen. If they do go to the bathroom inside the house, house training your pet to only pee/poop outside may take longer.
The Fun in Troubleshooting
Scolding or punishing your dog will make things worse. In fact, if they make a mess indoors and you yell at them, they may learn that it’s only “okay” to pee/poop inside when you’re directly supervising them. They may end up fearing you or perceiving that their bathroom habits are dangerous. Simply clean up the mess with a urine neutralizing agent (so they won’t smell their scent and repeat going there). Re-set the expectations for the next day. You’ll both get there!
If you see the signs that your pet needs to go, interrupt them immediately and take them to the designated spot outside. Wait with them until they feel comfortable enough to go.
House Training Your Pet
It can take several months before your pet demonstrates mastery. Stay consistent, reward on time, and acknowledge that mistakes are going to be made. If your pet just doesn’t seem to be making any progress, please let us know.
Our team at Animal Medical Hospital is always here for you. Good luck!