"Mr T. says it takes less than two weeks to
properly housebreak your dog. He's right, and here's how... oh, and he
also says to 'treat your mother right'" I bet Mr. T has a good "firm" dog
April 1st... fool's day. I
pity the fool!: Housebreaking
I'd like to make this real simple...
housebreaking is quite easy and you don't have to buy the 100 page
"Housebreaking for Dummies" book. With consistency, vigilance, and
routine, you can housebreak any dog, even those pet store dogs that lived,
slept, ate, No. 1, and No. 2 all in the same few feet. Let's start by
asking a few questions:
1. What kind of food do you feed
your dog? If you feed your dog a cheaper food such as any
grocery store brand (i.e. Pedigree, Iams, Purina, Kibbles and Bits) they typical
contain more fillers and inexpensive protein ingredients like Corn, Wheat, Soy,
as well as common allergens like beet pulp, not to mention, in some cases being
preserved with harmful chemical preservatives. AS a result of a higher
proportion filler ingredients, your dog will likely have to poo more frequently
and in larger amounts. This makes housebreaking a little more
Canned food? Canned food has a larger
percentage water. The problem with that? The more water that goes
in, the more that must go out.
Don't take my word for it... check out third
Treats? Treats should never comprise
more than 10 percent of a dog's daily intake of calories. Treats are
richer than "regular" food (just like in people food). They eat too many,
they are going to get fat and poo more.
2. How much water does your dog
drink? Water, in many cases, has to be regulated if your dog is a
water glutton. Does your dog pee every 30 mins, and is it always clear,
and nearly colorless? Your dog drinks too much! Start setting down
only small amounts, at fixed times throughout the day. Make sure the dog
can't get into cat water, toilets or in the winter, eating lots of snow/ice.
Regulate what is consumed and when.
Now for the direct tips....
1. Crate training. The point of
crate training is to make your dog learn to hold it. Dogs don't want to
stand in their own filth. Sometimes, if your dog came from a pet store, it
has a certain "tolerance" to it. A properly sized kennel allows for your
dog to stand up, turn around, and stretch out in, but no larger. If it is
too big, it will pee in one corner and sleep in the other. Put your dog in
the crate when you are not home, and during the night. Anytime you cannot
watch your dog, such as getting the kids off to school or cooking dinner or
taking a shower, kennel your dog.
If the dog has been in the kennel any longer
than 15 minutes, take the dog outside immediately after. Never leave water
or food in the crate. Only leave a toy or two in the kennel and a blanket.
No treat bones or rawhides since they have to go somewhere after being digested!
If your dog frequently pees on the blanket, remove it and all toys. A lot
of dogs will pee on the blanket and push it aside, then lie elsewhere.
2. Take your dog outside. NO PEE
PADS/PAPERS!! Teaching your dog to pee on pads or papers gets them to do
just that. Sure you can phase out of it eventually, but you also instil
them with a sense that they can pee on any raised surface, such as a doormat or
rug. Take your dog outside... yes, even when it is raining or cold.
When taking your dog out, make him sit every
time at the door before you open it. This will teach him to sit near the
door if he wants to go out. Praise him, open the door, you walk through
first and then he follows. Try taking him on-leash to the same area each
time. When you get to the spot, tell him to "hurry up," "go pee," or
whatever you want to say along those lines. RIGHT when he is done, no
sooner, really praise him by clapping your hands and tell him good pee in a
cheery voice. Be peppy! If you think he has to poo, give him more
time, but he should only have to go 2-4 times a day. If he is pooing more
than that, change his diet and stop feeding him extras.
3. Feeding. Pups up to 6 months
can be fed 2 or 3 times a day. In any case, only leave the food down for
15 minutes, and if it is not gone, pick it up and don't put it down again until
the next feeding time. By doing this, you are controlling what your dog is
eating, which should be the same thing each day, at a set time, thus you control
when poos. It takes about a week for a dog's body to adjust his "schedule"
to a new feeding routine. Remember, better quality foods mean less poo!
4. Supervision. Pay attention to
your dog! If you can't watch him, put him in his crate or put a bell on
him. If you can't see your puppy, he is chewing something up or soiling
your new rug. The point of supervising is so that you can catch your dog
in the act. If you do, loudly clap your hands, and say "no". Then
grab the dog and take him outside and encourage him to finish. If he does,
praise him, though if he appears to have emptied himself inside, then just bring
him back in. Never rub his nose in it, or excessively scold him.
A simple, but effective correction will do. Just be consistent and give
him trouble every time you catch him in the act (if it has been more than 10
seconds, you can do nothing... the deed is done.) Likewise, really praise
him every time you see him go outside.
5. Timing. Feed your dog at the
same times everyday. No water 3 hours before bed time, and make sure you
always take your dog out right before bed. Even young pups can often go
7-8 hours at night after the first few nights in a new home. If you have
to, regulate the water and only put it down at set times.
6. Body language. All dogs are
different in the way they tell you they are about to go. Some dogs will
start sniffing; Others will pace around. Some will sit by the door; others
will paw at you or bark. Some dogs will do nothing and just squat and pee.
If that happens, scold the puppy, and take it outside. It needs to know it
is wrong to pee inside. Likewise, it needs to understand that going
outside is the desired behaviour, so praise your dog!
If your dog just woke up, just got done
playing or walking, or your dog just finished eating/drinking, it has to pee.
And it has to pee NOW! Don't finish up your show, your snack or your game.
Get your dog outside.
That's about it... Seriously, follow these
steps CONSISTENTLY for two weeks, and your dog should be pretty much
housebroken. It is possible the occasional (once a week) accident will
happen for another month or so. Keep in mind, especially if you have a
female, that multiple (more than 3) pees in one 5 minute outing could be
indicative of a Urinary Tract Infection, and may require veterinarian
assistance. Good luck!
"I didn't want to be no fool, so I ate my Mr. T cereal every
morning. Thank goodness it was fortified with B vitamins and Iron.
We all know that Iron helps us grow!" And I got some really cool stickers!