House training may seem daunting. But it’s really fairly simple and it requires a schedule.
These are the things you need to schedule if you’re house training your dog:
- feeding time
- outside time
- crate time
Feed your dog on a regular schedule, two or three times a day. Put the food bowl down. After 20 minutes pick up the bowl (yes, even if there’s food still in it). Keep the food bowl off the floor until the next feeding. No in-between meals.
Take your dog out on a regular schedule. In general, during waking hours, you should take your dog out every hour. Go outside for about five minutes. If your dog doesn’t go to the bathroom, put him in his crate or tether him to you for 20 minutes. Then take him back outside for another 5 minutes. If he goes, praise enthusiastically when he finishes. You can then play with him outside or go for a nice walk. When you get back inside, keep a close watch on him — he’s never allowed out of your sight! If he didn’t go to the bathroom, crate or tether him for another 20 minutes. Then take him back outside for a chance to go to the bathroom.
Also, take your dog outside:
- As soon as he wakes up from a nap. Go straight out – get yourself ready before you let him out of the crate so you’re ready to step outside immediately after letting him out of his crate.
- When he’s just finished a vigorous play session.
- 20 – 30 minutes after he’s eaten a meal.
- Whenever he goes toward the door you regularly take him out to do his business.
The crate is very helpful to teach your dog to eliminate outdoors. The proper size crate is essential: your dog should have enough room to stand up, turn around, and lay down comfortably. If the crate is too large, your dog will be able to go to the bathroom in one end and sleep in the other — no help for house training.
If you can’t give your dog 100% of your attention, put him in his crate with some chew toys (that you’ve already taught him how to enjoy). Alternatively, you can tether your dog to you using his 6-foot leash. This means you simply clip your dog to his leash, then affix that leash to you. The dog will never be more than 6 feet away from you — you’ll be able to ensure he can’t make a mistake.
In short, it’s your job to teach your dog where to eliminate. There is no place for punishment in house training (or in any training for that matter). Here are a few quick NEVER’s:
- Never rub your dog’s nose in his mess.
- Never take your dog over to his mess, point, and say “NO!,” or “Bad dog!”
- Never leave your dog unsupervised in the house (until he’s completely housetrained).
When in doubt, create a schedule and stick to it. Almost every house training problem can be solved with a schedule. It makes your life easier, as well as your dog’s. And that’s a win-win!