Berks County house trained dog

One of the very first rules for your pet is where they should “go potty” (and that’s not on the living room floor). This concept seems straightforward, but house training your dog can be a challenge at first. Your pet will have accidents. We must remember what it is like for young children to transition from diaper to potty seat, and that requires training, guidance, and lots of patience.

If you have been training your dog to go outside, here are a few tips from the team at Conrad Weiser Animal Hospital on making the transition easier for everyone!

7 Tips for House Training Your Dog

When it comes to training, your efforts will be more successful when you use positive reinforcement rather than punishment. This means giving your pet a treat and praise each time they successfully go outside. Ignoring accidents and rewarding successes reinforces the behavior you want down the line.

  1. Rely on the crate. Crate training involves getting your pet cozy with a crate, as if it was a den. This crate should be filled with a few toys, comfy blankets, and a nice bed.They should sleep in there through the night, but be taken out often – never leave your pet in their crate for more than an hour or two during the day.
  2. Supervise your pet. Keep your pet close to you when you work at home or in the same room. Allowing your puppy to wander the home unattended, means you may miss the signs they need to go potty. When out of the crate and in the house, use the ‘Umbilical Method’ for housetraining – this method uses a 3 foot leash on your pup when out of the crate, keeping them close to you and under control at all times. If they circle or sniff the floor before a designated potty break, quickly bring them outside to their designated ‘potty’ area.
  3. Go to their spot each time. Find an area in the yard and train your pup to go there. They will smell their scent and know that they have marked there before, reinforcing the desire to return. 
  4. Reward your pet. For a job well done, reward immediately after your pet potties outside. Use a small, training sized treat to reward to avoid adding too many extra calories. Some pet owners also use the clicker in conjunction with the treat. This small plastic device “clicks” when you push down on it, which your pet learns to associate as a treat.
  5. Feed your pet at the same time. Make a set time for morning and evening meals. Allowing your pet to graze will produce more accidents. Keep their portion size to what is recommended on the label. Take them outside 20-30 minutes after they’ve eaten.
  6. Clean up accidents. When your pet has an accident, clean it up thoroughly so they won’t repeat in the same spot. Use an enzyme based cleaner to completely remove the urine smell. 
  7. Practice patience and consistency. Your efforts will eventually be rewarded, as long as you remain consistent with your training tips. Know that puppies must go out more often than adolescent or adult dogs. Plan on taking them out every 30 minutes (which means that someone needs to be with them during this crucial time). It takes a few weeks for most dogs to get the hang of it, and accidents will happen. Downplay those and be enthusiastic when they potty outside.

Would you like additional suggestions for house training your dog? We have your back! Call us for more tips or to schedule a wellness checkup for your best friend.