I’ve written a few posts on housebreaking, – check out the posts under Housebreaking Wednesdays – but I’m going to go over some things again today.
Housebreaking is very important – its one of the main reasons dogs are rehomed – that and other behavior issues. If you can seperate the idea that housebreaking is an evil plot on the dog’s part to make you miserable and ruin his happy home, you are one step closer to getting it accomplished. Dogs don’t poop or pee in the house because they are out to get you. Sometimes it seems like it! But generally dogs do what they do because its working for them at some level.
Okay – housebreaking. Deep breath. We’re going to talk about how to back track with some dogs who we think SHOULD know – and yet DON’T DO IT. Not little puppies who we know don’t know.
First of all decide where dog is going to be when you can’t eyeball them. Crate works well for this.
Then get a leash and big clip, so you can attach the leash to you, your belt loop, arm, something. NOW – if the dog isn’t in the crate, he’s attached to someone. Its not as awkward as it sounds. I’ve spend many many many hours with a dog clipped to me and you both get used to it quickly. If there are more than one of you around – even better. You can share! Kids love this for a short amount of time. Don’t over do that though.
NOW. Decide when the dog is going out. Yeah, that’s right, you get to decide. Just like kids at school who (usually) can’t pee willy nilly – they have to wait for the bell – dogs will too. Write down on paper when you want the dog to go out. Then set the timer on that fancy phone you have (or the kitchen stove timer) for those times.
When dog hears that tone, in a few days, he’ll be heading to the door. YAY! But that’s not today. Or tomorrow. Or….well. So right now you have to add in your words to that tone. I say “Outside” and then we go out. We walk to the same spot in the same way. Then I stand there and hold the leash and sing my self a little ditty. lalalalalalala. I get bored with my singing pretty quickly so I tell the dog ‘Hurry up’. I don’t walk around the yard, and I don’t really interact with him much. Just stand there, waiting. IF he goes – he gets a treat OUT there. Not in the house. Often they hurry up and go back in to the get the treat. You want them to know they are being rewarded for going Out there. Not for coming back in the house. So once he gets the treat – then we can have a few minutes of play time or a quick walk around or whatever. But pee first. If there is no action, when I get bored, or cold, we go back in. Dog goes back in the crate and we try again in fifteen minutes.
When they Do go, then they get a few minutes of play time either outside or in the house in a confined area. They don’t get run of the house, because while they might know that they don’t pee in the kitchen, they have No clue they can’t pee in the bedroom – yet. They will. But not for a while. Leave the leash on them so you can step on it if you need to – easier to step on a six foot leash than grab a running puppy.
Then puppy goes back to being attached to you. He needs exercise yes, but you have to provide that some other way than letting him run around your house unsupervised. Ball chase down a closed hall – walks – training. When you get tired of him being attached – crate time.
When the next time you wrote down that you want to take dog out, and the timer goes off – repeat.
If YOU mess up and puppy pees in the house – and you see it – yell ACK then say Outside and run them right out. You want them to know outside is where that goes and standing there and acting like a potty fool doesn’t teach them that. Taking them out where they go, is how you do that.
Make sure you write down when you want them to go out and when they actually DO something. In or out – so you can see a schedule, “Yup he poops 4 times a day – what’s with that?! ” Or “Man, when I bring him in, he poops fifteen minutes later. I’ll have to make sure he’s attached to me in the meantime and I set the timer for fifteen minutes and take him out again.”
More to come….Questions??