There’s few things worse than coming home from the supermarket and stepping into your house to feel a wet spot soaking through your sock, while your pooch hides in the corner and looks embarrassed. You get the point.
You can easily fix this mishap by potty training your dog. You don’t need to pay for expensive dog training classes to potty-train your dog – you can easily do it yourself in under a month. One of the great things about training your dog is that once you teach him to go outside, you never have to do it again. So, the effort is definitely worth the reward.
It’s best to start potty training as early as possible. But even if you’re dog is older, this advice should still be effective. Keep in mind it may take a bit longer if they have formed a habit of going inside.
When starting out, expect your dog to have many accidents in the house before he or she is properly trained. If you have children, then you know how frustrating it can be to teach someone to get used to their bodily functions and time it accordingly. Also, your dog does not have the same ability to communicate as a child, so you need to understand their cues. However, dogs still learn how to control their bathroom behavior much faster than humans.
Supervision is key. You need to pay close attention to your dog throughout the whole period you are doing the potty training. If he starts to go inside your house, clap your hands really loudly to make him stop, then pick him up. Then rush outside and put him on the grass. After he has gone, give him a treat. If you follow this step religiously, your dog will never have an accident again.
But most of us can’t stay at the house all day, so don’t worry if your dog has an accident while you weren’t there. As long as you can catch it most of the time, your dog will start to understand what you are trying to do – that the grass is the place to go potty, not your antique Persian rug.
One mistake people often make is by hitting or shouting at their dog if they ‘go’ in the house. Unlike human children, dogs do not understand negative reinforcement. Pushing their nose in pee and hitting them will only make them afraid of you. Yes, your dog will "look guilty" and slink around when you yell at them, but they are only reacting to your angry tone of voice because they know that when you yell, you sometimes also hit them. They will not associate your actions with the fact they just peed on your Ming vase, even if you catch them in the act. Their bodily functions are natural as breathing to them, and they do not have a taboo associated with ‘going potty’ in the house, like humans do.
In short, positive reinforcement is the only effective training when it comes to dogs.
Again, expect your dog to have an accident. They have personalities like us and can’t be perfect. If you are looking for something more rigid, buy a robotic dog or a computer. Just as you can’t teach a child to read overnight, potty training your new dog can take many weeks or even months. Be patient and loving, and your dog will eventually reciprocate with obedience.
During the potty training period, help your pup avoid accidents by taking your new dog outside every couple of hours on a leash. Don’t let him play outside before or after he uses the bathroom – right now you want to teach him that outside equals bathroom time. When he is finished, give him a treat and head back inside. If he doesn’t go, just bring him inside and take him out again in another 30 minutes.
If you follow these rules, your dog will never go inside your house! Supervision and consistent bathroom breaks, combined with rewards and praise will teach him that going outside is the only way to do it.
You can take your potty training a step further by placing a bell near the door. Before you take him outside, ring the bell every time. If he rings the bell on his own, take him outside, but don’t let him play. Only walk him on the leash and let him use the bathroom. Soon enough, he will associate the bell with you taking him to use the bathroom, and he will work out how to ring it himself to alert you in the future. Then, accidents should rarely, if ever, occur.