The Essentials of Canine Potty Training

By Maria Posted in dog training, pet housebreaking /

Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks, and that includes potty training!

One big mistake that some owners make when starting the housebreaking process is jumping right in without teaching their dog anything else. I believe in the concept of “shaping”, which teaches the animal to think for himself and solve problems on his own. If this is accomplished, the rest of the training will be a walk in the dog park!

Choose a Spot

photoIt’s crucial that you establish a specific bathroom spot so your dog knows where he needs to go. You must take him there each and every time, except when you’re away from home, of course. This is very important in the dog potty training process. Pigs actually learn this by themselves, but our canine friends need to be taught first.

Whenever your dog is about to go, take him to his designated potty spot. The signs are usually obvious – sniffing around or walking a little funny.

Once your pet begins to relieve himself, say a command that you chose beforehand, such as “go potty”. After he’s done, give him plenty of praise and a special treat. If you’re using a clicker, you can also use it at this point.

Ring the Bell

Get a bell and attach it to a rope or ribbon, then hang it on the doorknob. Through shaping, teach your dog that he goes outside when he bumps the bell with his nose.

This is a fairly simple process, as your dog will eventually learn that the bell sounding means that the door is opening. Reward him when he hits the bell with his nose. Later on, give him the reward only after he rings the bell, heads outside, and goes potty.

The bell technique gives your pet a concrete way of letting you know when he needs to go to the bathroom. It’s especially handy when you’re not in the same room.

Don’t Blow Your Lid

One thing that you need to acknowledge about the canine toilet training process is that there will be accidents. What you do when your dog has one is very important. While nobody likes seeing a mess in the middle of their carpet and cleaning it up, you should never react negatively.

If you do, your pet will associate your anger with his going to the bathroom, which will only lead him to become afraid of eliminating when you’re around. This is probably the biggest mistake dog owners make when housebreaking their pets. So instead of punishing your dog by yelling at him or rubbing his nose in the mess, just clean it up quietly and focus more on rewarding his good behavior.

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One Response to “The Essentials of Canine Potty Training”

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