One aspect of housebreaking that people often shirk on is going with your dog. Not literally! Why would your mind go there? No, this is not that kind of blog!
But when you’re first housebreaking, you have to go outside with your dog. Yes, even if you have a fence. Yes, even if your other dog goes at the same time. Yes, if you want the quickest and fastest way to housebreak, you go too.
You walk them to the same spot, take the same path and worry about the grass being trampled away later. You have them on a leash and you stand there and wait. I encourage them ’hurry up!’ because, you know, its kinda boring. LALALALA and you really can’t even bring your Kindle out with you because I always seem to end up housebreaking in the dead of winter with lovely sleet and snow accompaniment.
When they go, you reward them verbally and with a tiny treat that you have hidden in your pocket. This reinforces,’ yeah, that’s what she wants and this is where she wants it! How clever am I!’ Smart things our dogs.
Then, if you have that fenced yard, you can unleash them and let them run around and have fun and you can go back inside. If not, you can take them for their walk or play with them or whatever you want. You need to do something though, for at least another minute, or they will realize “As soon as I go, I go back in the house” when what you want them to think is, “I want to hurry up and do this so I can get a treat and have some fun!” And sometimes they do go twice….
And sometimes we pretend we don’t have to go at all!
Now, how long do you have to do this? Beats me, its your dog. Some (labs etc) you can do it a few days and they will mostly ‘have’ it. Others (yorkies, maltese, etc) it might take, oh, lets say - longer. No need to scare people.
Another reason you need to go out with your dog, is if you ‘send’ them out, alone, they might go, but what they learned was ‘I do this away from my folks and under the dining room table is a good away spot and much faster to get to than outside!’ Not my idea of a good time at supper. Your milage may vary however.
It won’t last forever though – after all, while I promise you that someone did earlier in your life (go thank your mom) – how long has it been since anyone accompanied you to the bathroom and danced and clapped and gave you treats? See? All things come to pass. Really.
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