Most of the time, when dogs urinate or defecate in the house it is due to owners not properly house training them. However there are times when a medical condition is present and pets exhibit the same signs as other pets that are not house trained.
Most pets begin to truly learn by 12 weeks of age. Before that they respond to routine and repetition. Puppies should be allowed to eliminate morning, midday, evening, at bedtime, and maybe during the night. They should also go out after every meal and every nap.
When you take dogs outside, you should try to carry them to the designated area for elimination. This lets them know you mean business and it is not play time. Also, have them on a leash so that they will not leave the area. This area needs to be away from other areas where the pet normally plays. When they do eliminate in this area, the odors will let them know what is expected there and will also stimulate them the next time.
After your pet eliminates in this area, praise him like he has just found the winning lottery ticket. This lets him know what you expect.
It is also best to take them out a different door during elimination times versus play times. If they have an accident in the house and you catch them, scold them and immediately carry them to the elimination area. If they have an accident and you don’t catch them, just clean it up and move on. Do not scold them or rub their nose in it.
People think that when dogs have an accident in the house when they are not there, they know they did wrong. This is false.
People say, “I know she did this out of spite because she cowers down when I come home”. The real response is that the dog responds to the owner’s body language and tones. This will result in the dog thinking “that every time my owner comes home he’s going to punish me”. It may also stimulate them to have an accident when they hear the owner coming home out of fear.
Do not use papers in the house if you plan on your dog going outside to eliminate. The paper sends a mixed signal to the pet. One minute it is all right to use the bathroom in the house and the next minute it is not.
Kennel crates are great tools for house training. Get a crate that is only as big as the pet. Most pets will not eliminate in the place where they sleep. Keep them in the crate at all times unless you are physically able to watch your pet.
Eventually, they will think of the crate as their bed and will go in it to sleep or nap. Make the crate comfortable and place things in there that will relieve their boredom.
Follow these steps and when your pet has not had an accident in the house for 12 consecutive weeks, he is house trained.
Dr. Steve Whatley