How to go about house training a dog

House training a dog is one of the first things that owners of new puppies are looking to do.  Nobody likes finding wees and poos around their house!  There are a few elements to consider when it comes to house training a dog.  Firstly, whether the dog has just not yet learnt where to go, or isn’t making it outside in time.  And secondly, whether there is anything behavioural going on. The first situation is easy to work with.

House training a dog for the first time

If house training a dog or puppy who is relatively new to your home, or if you’ve just moved home and need to teach your dog where to go in this environment, then the technique is very simple:

  • Regularly take your dog to the place you want them to go to the toilet.
  • When they go in the right place, praise them saying something like “Go wee” and then “good dog”, and offer them a treat when they have finished.
  • Once you have done this a few times, then you can take them outside to where you want them to go to the toilet and ask them to “go wee”.  Praise if they do it.  They might not have anything or understand yet, so if they don’t do anything just come back inside after a little while.
  • If you catch them having any ‘accidents’ indoors, do not say anything, just calmly lead them back outside again, and ask them to “go wee” again out there.  Praise if they do.
  • If you find a wee or poo after the event, all you can do is clear it up.  Do not show your dog it, or tell them off.  The moment has passed and they won’t understand.
  • If you have a puppy who is trained to use pads, then you can start to reduce the number of pads. 
  • You can take your puppy outside to a pad which is on the floor out there and follow the steps above.  Once they will toilet on the pad outside, remove the one indoors.  Eventually remove the one outdoors too.

House training a dog who is toileting for behaviour reasons.

It might not be obvious to you whether your dog is toileting for behaviour reasons or not.  Here are some clues that it is behavioural:

  • It only happens when you are out, overnight (or both)
  • It happens in a specific place every time.
  • Your dog toilets whilst looking at you, as if making a point
  • Your dog is picking key spots, like your bed, another dog’s bed
  • Your dog is picking key times, like when you are cooking/eating, when they are being ignored

If your dog is toileting for behavioural reasons it’s is slightly more complex to get it out of the behaviour.  This is something that I can help you with (or a local dog listener if I am not in your area – I am based in Essex and also travel the the surrounding counties).  This kind of toileting is often linked to stress, separation anxiety or dominance.  These are issues which will not go away on their own and do require help.  I can help with all dog training and dog behaviour problems, so please get in touch if you would like more information on how I can assist you.  I can also recommend a read of “The Dog Listener” by Jan Fennell which is available in my shop.

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