5 Common Dog House Training Mistakes
It will be frustrating when your dog eliminates in the home or has an accident, but you shouldn't yell or become angry at your dog. You never want to give your dog the impression that relieving himse...
It will be frustrating when your dog eliminates in the home or has an accident, but you shouldn't yell or become angry at your dog. You never want to give your dog the impression that relieving himself is wrong. The fact is that house training mistakes are actually mistakes made by the human in the relationship, not the dog.
Dogs in the wild would eliminate anywhere except where they slept. Therefore, other than in your dog's bed, your dog will not know not to eliminate in the house until you teach him.
The trick is to learn your own mistakes and make sure that you're sending your dog the right messages to teach him that you want him to “do his thing” outside, and never inside. The following are the five most common house training mistakes that you should avoid in order to make sure that you're sending your message loud and clear, and not telling your dog something distorted or hazy.
1. Sticking his nose in it – one of the most common and equally the cruelest mistakes that dog owners can make is to stick your dog's nose in his mess. By doing this, you are only making your dog think that elimination is bad, not that you didn't want him to go in the house. If you do this, the odds are that your dog will continue going in the house, but will try to hide these “accidents” from you by going behind furniture or in other discrete locations. Also, you may find that even when he's in the right place to go, he will not go in front of you. There is also a risk of coprophagia, which means that your dog may eat or drink his mess in fear of your reaction.
2. Correcting after the fact – if you haven't actually caught your dog in the act, there is no way to make a correction. Certainly, finding a mess in the house is frustrating, but by yelling at him with words like "no", "bad", or "outside", you'll only confuse him because he won't understand these words unless you are actually correcting as he's going. These words should be reserved only for when he is actually in the process, and as you immediately take your dog outside, to teach him what they mean. Once your dog is outside, it's time to praise him like crazy for going in the right place.
3. Sending the Wrong Message – Just yelling at your dog if you catch him going in the house won't get your message across, because you haven't given your dog an alternative to what he's doing. If you catch him in the act of relieving himself say “No” sharply and then pick him up and take him outside so he can finish. Once done, praise him. This type of teaching is how you effectively reinforce your message to your dog.
4. Changing the diet – there will be times in your dog's life that his diet may need to change. This may be for health reasons, or because the brand or type of food you're using isn't available anymore. This is fine, and there is nothing that says that your dog has to remain on the same diet forever. However, your dog cannot be expected to be house trained in the middle of a diet change. Your dog should be on a strict, consistent diet throughout the entire house training process. This will make eliminations predictable and regular. Feed your dog at the same time every day, the same amount, and the same food. This way, you can set up an elimination routine as well as a feeding routine to ensure greater success.
5. Bringing your dog in right away – if you bring your dog in the second he's done doing his thing, then your dog will undoubtedly form the habit of taking an excruciatingly long time to find just the right spot to go when you do take him out. The reason is that he is delaying going to the bathroom for that extra time outside. The trick is to teach your dog to go at the right time, and then have a bit of fun time, such as a walk, before going back in.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rich Cussons spends his time helping people training their dogs. Find out more about house breaking a puppy, obedience training and care at Dogs Made Easy.