House Training Tips
This approach works well for puppies as well as dogs with an unknown
history wherein you do not know whether they are house trained. Many
adult dogs may need a refresher course in house training because they
are attempting to adapt to new circumstances, new schedules, and a new
- Put your puppy/dog on a consistent feeding schedule. Feed
a puppy under six months three times per day and at the same time each
day. Adult dogs needing a refresher course in house training do best
when fed twice a day and at the same time each day.
the same food consistently. Changing foods can cause finickiness and
intestinal upset. If you do change types or brands of food, mix the new
food with the old over several days, gradually increasing the amount of
new food. This will help your dog adjust to the change.
your puppy/dog out on a regular schedule. Puppies typically need to go
out within 30 minutes after a meal, and almost immediately after
awakening, shortly after a play session, and just before going to bed
at night. Puppies have limited bladder and bowel control and need to go
out rather frequently during the day, and sometimes during the night.
a word such as "outside" and use it as you go outdoors. Encourage your
puppy/dog to go immediately, and in a specific area. Play time and
walks should happen AFTER your puppy/dog eliminates. If your puppy/dog
does not eliminate within ten to fifteen minutes, go back inside and
try again a short while later. As you cross the threshold into the
house say "inside." This will help your puppy/dog understand that
outside is the bathroom, inside is not. Keep an eye on them, or put
them in their crate, so they do not have an accident inside. It is
easier to prevent accidents than clean up after them. Of course, this
is easier said than done; however, if you get a ten foot lead and
attach it to you and your puppy/dog you can more easily monitor their
activities and prevent problems (e.g., inappropriate elimination,
chewing your antique chairs, chasing the cat, and so forth) before they
- If you catch your puppy/dog in the act of going
inside, use a low, gutteral "no," pick them up and take them outside.
DO NOT PUNISH A DOG FOR INAPPROPRIATE ELIMINATION UNLESS YOU CATCH THEM
IN THE ACT. Your puppy/dog will not connect later punishment with the
act of improper elimination. Indeed, what you will teach your dog is to
fear you. This principle applies to all sorts of typical puppy
behavior, such as chewing inappropriate items while you are not
attending to them. If you cannot monitor your puppy's/dog's behavior,
a crate is your most valuable tool.
- Clean up accidents
using a specifically prepared commercial cleaner or a mixture of
vinegar and water. Since dog urine contains ammonia, do not use a
cleaner containing ammonia; it is likely to attract your puppy/dog to
the same spot.
- Get a Crate and Use It.
Dogs are denning animals, so crating is consistent with their natural
behavior. It is not a prison, but a safe and secure place for them to
have quiet time. Indeed, many dogs will continue to go to their crate
long after the crate is necessary. It is an invaluable tool for house
training, and for preventing your puppy/dog from getting into trouble
while you are away from home.
- The general consensus among
dog trainers is that a dog is generally not completely house trained
until they are a year old, when bowel and bladder development affords
them considerable control. Of course, like with humans, dogs differ in
their development and understanding of training. Patience, consistency,
a crate, and careful monitoring will result in a reliably house trained
For help with training, contact Bloomington Animal Care and Control
for help. Ring 812-349-3492 or visit the shelter at 3410 S. Old State
Road 37, Bloomington, IN 47401.
"Cats - a standing rebuke to behavioural scientists . . . least human of all creatures."