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Question: I've heard some people say you shouldn’t rub your dog’s nose in his messes. So how else is the dog going to learn?

Rubbing a dog's nose into his messes to try and discourage him eliminating in the house may work with a few dogs, but with far more dogs, this technique can actually set you back on your housetraining. Below in the section "Housetraining Your Dog" you can learn a better way to get the results you want.

Question: My neighbor's dog was housetrained in two weeks. Mine is still having issues and it has been a month. What gives?

Using the right technique will get you the quickest results possible with your individual dog; however, dogs housetrain on their own schedule. As a rule of thumb, northern breeds and larger dogs often achieve success at an earlier age. Smaller breeds of dogs often take time and maturity to gain bladder and reliable bowel control. But, this is only a rule of thumb. Sometimes, even when using the same techniques with littermates, you will find one may have immediate success while another takes longer. The real key is to be persistent and patient.  

Question: My dog was almost housetrained, but then at six month of age he got worst. How can I get my dog successfully housetrained?

Several things can cause housetraining regression. Dogs who are intact are more prone to issues, especially females. Changes in the household with dogs who are more nervous or less secure can result in housetraining regression. Adolescent dogs who have little or no behavior training can also have issues.

Solving housetraining regression is two fold. The first is to work on what may have triggered the regression. If your dog is intact, get him or her fixed. If their are changes in the household, work to reduce the stress and try some confidence building. Somethings that reduce stress is to work to establish a routine the dog can depend on. There are some suggestions on how to achieve confidence building in the book “Training the Hard to Train Dog” in the chapter on Nervous Nellies. For many dogs, doing some leadership training can help, especially if you are dealing with a wayward adolescent. There are specific techniques about how to solve housetraining regression in the chapter on Housetraining.

Question: My dog marks in the house. Is there any way to break a dog of marking?

Although we typically associate marking with male dogs, both male and female dogs can mark. Dogs mark for a lot of reasons. Some to claim territory, and some will do so if they feel insecure, such as when another dog comes into the household. Some dogs do what is known as frustration elimination, and will urinate shortly after you leave the house. Intact dogs are more likely to mark. If your dog is not spayed or neutered, breaking this habit will be very difficult. The older a male or female is when you spay or neuter them, the more of a challenge to break the habit of marking can become. In the Housetraining chapter in the book “Training the Hard to Train Dog,” you will find information on how to reform a dog who marks in the house.

Question: Sometimes when I bend over to pet my dog, she pees. I’ve heard this is called submissive peeing. Can this habit be changed?

Submissive peeing often begins during canine adolescence. If you handle the situation correctly, then the dog will outgrow the problem. If you mishandle the situation, you can end up with a chronic problem. In the Housetraining chapter in the book “Training the Hard to Train Dog,” you will find information on how to deal with this issue. There is also an article on the website called “The Overly Submissive Dog” that talks about a specific case.

Question: My dog gets so excited when I get home that she pees all over. What gives?

This is called greeting pee or excitement peeing. Some dogs will outgrow this issue as their bladders mature, but other dogs will struggle with the problem all their lives. By changing your behavior when you greet the dog and when you arrive home, you can change the dog’s behavior and help to resolve the issue. In the Housetraining chapter in the book “Training the Hard to Train Dog,” you’ll find information on how to deal with this problem.

Question: I got a rescue dog. How do you make sure the dog doesn’t have an accident in the house.

Dogs new to a household need a few days to settle in and to realign themselves to your schedule. You will be well served to take the dog outside several time after the dog arrives. Don’t hesitate to attach a leash and walk around with the dog. If the dog has success outside, be sure to give the dog a treat and some praise. Don’t punish any accidents. Remember it takes time to set up communication with your new dog as to what  door the dog will exit and how the dog can let you know the dog needs out. Keep in mind that for the first week, some dogs may feel stressed about the new home and this can make the dog’s elimination schedule more frequent and less controlled.

Question: My dog messes in his crate. How can I break the dog of this habit?

Sometimes housetraining goes awry in the very place dogs are not supposed to eliminate, the crate. If this happens occasionally, make sure you clean up any traces of urine or feces by using an enzymatic cleaner. You may also want to get extra bedding so you can laundry the soiled bedding. If this is a chronic problem, in the book “Training the Hard to Train Dog,” you will find a technique to help retrain your dog to reestablish the natural sense a dog has to keep his sleeping area clean.


Understanding Why you Can Housetrain Dogs
Did you ever wonder why we can housetrain dogs? After all, if you had a pet goat in the house...well not being able to housetrain goats is one reason people don’t them as household pets. Dogs are den animals. It is their nature to want to keep the den clean. For a dog, it is their nature not to mess in the same area where they sleep. For us to successfully housetrain the dog, we simply need to teach them the entire house is a den.

Reasonable Age Expectations
The ability to housetrain a dog comes with maturity. Puppies, who at three to four weeks of age and haven’t had their eyes opened long, don’t have the instinct to keep their sleeping area clean. They are just too young. Their mommy steps in to help until the pups get older. By six to eight weeks of age, a lot of puppies can understand the idea of taking a few steps away from their sleeping area before they answer the call of nature. However, it will take more time for a young animal to develop the concept of traveling very far away from the sleeping area to eliminate. A short distance with a younger puppy is all you can expect. When you get your puppy home, at eight weeks, it is a good time your you to introduce the idea that in the morning when the puppy gets up, the puppy needs to go outside to go to the bathroom. However, it will take some time for the puppy to mature to the point the pup can do this without your help. This is one of many good reasons to keep a young dog confined. Crating is a great way to help housetrain a dog, because the crate offers confinement where the dog is reluctant to eliminate as well as gives you the opportunity to escort the puppy outside at the appropriate times to have success.

Housetraining a Dog
The entire idea of housetraining a dog is simple. You want to communicate to the dog where to go and how to let you know the dog needs out. With most dogs, once they get the idea of where to go, the dog often figures out how to let you know they want out. Some will scratch at the door or in the least, go and stand at the door. Below are some tips for helping achieve housetraining success.

Know the best time to take the dog out
 After exercise or playing  After they eat  After they wake up  If the dog hasn’t been out for a while

Know Your Dog’s Limitations
 Most dogs adhere to the table below as far as age and ability to hold things.
Dog Age Time
2 months 2 hours
3 months 4 hours
4 months 5 hours
6 months 7 hours
7 months 8 hours

Take The Dog Outside the Right Way
With some dogs, you may be able to simply put the dog outside and watch from a window until the dog does his or her business. But with other dogs, until they get the idea that you want the dog to go outside, you may be well served to go outside with the dog. This is especially true for puppies when you first work to housetrain, and with rescue dogs who have had to go inside a kenneling area. One of the best ways to get housetraining off to a good start is to attach a leash and take the dog outside. Walk the dog around until the dog answers the call, then pull out a very special treat to use as a reward, as well as praise the dog. After a few time of doing this, many dogs become highly motivated to going outside to answer the call. After the dog asks to go outside, you can let the dog out on his or her own, then reward the dog at the door. Eventually, you can eliminate the treat.

When you are first working to housetrain a dog, don’t just shove the dog outside and assume the dog will do his or her business. Make sure the dog has answered the call before you let the dog inside.

Never punish a dog for accident.

Don’t forget to use an enzymatic cleaner to get rid of the accident. Don’t merely use something, live vinegar, to mask the odor.

Articles on this website
The Overly Submissive Dog (DWAA winner)
A Matter of Misunderstanding (DWAA winner)
Help, my Dog Hates the Crate (because crate training is helpful when housetraining)

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