Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Housebreaking - Pets, Understanding Your Dog

Housebreaking your puppy or older dog can be successful.

You love your dog with all your heart. But, is that enough? Love is not just a soft human emotion, but to get this job done you'll have to dig deeper and find some TOUGH LOVE. If you are not providing tough love to your dog and he is not completely housebroken, you will discover that your relationship will always have stress. I've seen this happen and it is truly heartbreaking.

So let's talk about how we can avoid this problem...
First, consistency is key. No matter if it is the time you take your dog outside to relieve himself, the door you use to go outside, or even the same words you say to tell him it is time to go outside, consistency is your most valuable too.

Take a second and think how a dog want your dog to understand what you want. By doing the same thing over and over, your puppy will see the pattern and begin to understand what comes next. Dog are canines and live in packs. They want to "follow the leader" which is you. They also want to please you. So each time your dog does the right thing, praise him. If you just hit him over the head with a newspaper when he has an accident, he will begin to hate the newspaper. By praising him when he does the correct behavior (give him a biscuit too, if you want) he will remember this and want more... so he'll do the correct behavior again and again to get more praise and/or more biscuits.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Housebreaking Advice - Part III

Housebreaking a puppy is hard work. The key to success is to use consistency. The best way to be consistent is to use a dog crate to housebreak your puppy.

Many people don't like the thought of their baby in a crate. But, think about a human baby. When he/she is small we put our "babies" in a bassinet, then a crib and then in a playpen. We do this because it is the safest place for our new born. Well, the same theory applies for our pet. By placing a dog in his own crate, he will be safe. Also, he will not be able to pee or poop on your rugs, furniture or floors.

So, by limiting your dogs ability to walk all around your home, you are also limiting where he can leave his mess. This is so important for BOTH of you. A dog leaves his mess as a way to "mark" his territory. If you let him continually defecate indoors he will continue to smell for his markings and defecate over and over again in that room.

Since a dog will not defecate where he sleeps, he will work very hard to hold his business until he is let out of his crate. Remember in an earlier post, once your puppy is old enough to hold his urine for 6-8 hours, he is ready to start his crate training.

Try this schedule for a week.

1) In the morning, place the dog collar on your puppy, tell him "time to do your business" and take him outdoors to relieve himself. Wait for him to do both. Then praise him and pet him repeatedly.

2) Bring your dog inside, play 30-40 minutes then feed him, let him drink and let him out one more quick time before he goes back in his create with a toy (No Food!)

3) When you return home (from work), same step as #1 above. Assuming you are feeding him dinner, he can stay out for a longer period of time, but make sure to take him or let him out no more than 20-30 minutes after he eats. It will be time for him to do his business. In the evening give him lots of play time or take him for a nice walk.

4) During the evening, try to limit any additional water or food treats until 30 minutes before you are ready to let him out for the night.

5) Right before bedtime, let him out one last time. Then put him in his crate with no toy and say "good night."

The pattern is simple. Only feed and/or provide water prior to you ability to let him out. When an animal consumes food and water their body responds by making room, hence the need to go to the bathroom. If you find your dog doesn't make it for 30 minutes without a mess, then shorten the time period. Most dogs need that time to get their engine going... if you know what I mean.

If you are home during the day, sure the puppy can be let out to play. That just means you need to let your dog out go outside more often. We are trying to associate coming out of the crate as the time to do his business. Also, be consistent with which door you are using to take your pet outdoors. This will enable him to know that when you go to that door, he will be going too and can relieve himself outside.

Before you know it, when he is playing before or after a meal, he will go to the door and signal you "I'm READY!" And you know what that means... you have just housebroken your puppy. YEAH!!! Great Job!

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