We’ve all been there…and it’s tough. Housetraining can be one of the most difficult tasks, but with patience and consistency it can absolutely be accomplished. One of the most important things to note is that there are a few reasons why a puppy/dog might not be housebroken.
First, there may be physical reasons, such as a UTI (urinary tract infection). If a dog backslides in training progress, or doesn’t seem to be learning when you have been consistent, a physical cause may be a consideration. See your vet and ask for a culture that could identify the presence of a UTI.
Second, many dogs do what’s called submissive urination, and it is actually (in dog language) a sign of respect. This is exhibited when the dog gets low to the ground or squats (especially when greeting you or scolded) and pees. An accredited animal trainer can help you establish proper individualized techniques to help your pet alter this behavior.
Third, unfortunately in some pet store or breeding environments the puppies are crated for significant blocks of time and thus have behaviorally learned to soil in an area of their crate. It will take patience and time to overcome this learned habit – and to help with the transition, alternatives such as papers, potty pads, and the like may be useful.
There are also several other reasons that may factor into the mix. For example, male dogs that have not been neutered (and even some who are) often lift their legs to mark their territory. (Female dogs have also been shown to exhibit this behavior). Neutering and proper training are the first recommended course of action. Additionally, you also might want to try some of the repelling sprays found at pet supply stores. Helpful tip: Be sure to
Sometimes dogs just don’t have the idea of what’s really expected of them – especially young ones, but sometimes even older ones. Often a puppy just doesn’t have the bladder control necessary to hold on for too long. For example, an 8-week old puppy can’t go much more than a couple of hours between needing to potty. (Yes, you will lose sleep…but it gets better!). They key to training is to provide praise and/or correction at the proper time. Correcting a dog after the fact has no real impact, as their concept of time is different and the cause-and-effect correlation is simply lost – they simply associate urine or feces on the carpet with your displeasure, and not that they caused it to occur. Real-time praise and correction is key.
As a primary methodology, sincere positive praise for your pet when they potty outside (or in their designated area) can have the most effective results. In making sure your pet has the chance to go out as often as necessary in the beginning, you establish a pattern of positive reinforcement. On the contrary, if you catch your pet having an accident, typically a single word (be consistent with your word) in a sharp tone of voice will surprise them into stopping momentarily, so that you can immediately escort your pet to a proper location so they can “finish” (followed by proper praise). Additionally, you may choose to associate consistent phrases such as ‘go potty’ or ‘get busy’, which may help your pet learn to go on command when possible.
Another option is crate training. While there are many differing opinions on this method, when properly executed in a safe and reassuring environment the results can be terrific. As such, you should seek the help of a trained professional to ensure proper techniques and the safety of your pet.
Praising the animal profusely when they go outside, or wherever their designated area is, can be very effective. Make sure they get the chance to go out as often as necessary.
In the end, the core of successful potty training lies in the proper investment of time you make with your pet, and the consistency of the behavior you exhibit during the training process. Happy training!