Dog Training

House Training Puppies

Puppy needs to be housebound after soiling the carpet

House Training (Housebreaking) Puppies 101

Contrary to popular belief, swatting your puppy on the behind with a newspaper when he or she does his business where he’s not supposed to is not the answer to housebreaking your new puppy!

What is, you ask, the secret to house training puppies?

The three P’s – Prevention, Praise and Perseverance!

Puppy House Training Rule 1 – Prevention

Just like a brand new human baby needs diapers for the first few years of it’s life, puppies need a place to pee and poop until their little puppy bladders can hold it like an adult dog.

Puppies have poor bladder and bowel control – having to pee every few hours, and poop several times a day. Keeping your puppy in an area with quick access to newspapers, a puppy litter box, puppy pee pads or the back yard is essential in the first few months of your house training regimen.

Accidents are inevitable, so don’t let puppy romp unsupervised in areas where cleanup is difficult. Play with puppy where there is no carpeting or furniture that can be soiled – areas where flooring is linoleum, tile or well-sealed hardwood are best. NEVER give puppy free reign of the house – even when supervised.

Watch carefully for signs of impending peeing or pooping such as sniffing the floor, moving in circles, or sudden disappearing acts. If you catch puppy in the act – DO NOT SCOLD! – simply move puppy outdoors or to his designated “bathroom area” – then clean up the soiled area, using an enzymatic cleaner specially created for pet odor cleanup.

You must completely eliminate the odor – or puppy may smell it later and think it’s a good place to go again. If puppy finished doing his business where he is supposed to, praise him lavishly! You can also offer him a tiny tidbit of his regular kibble food as a reward.

Always feed your puppy a high-quality puppy food, and stick to the same food at all times. Feed your puppy on a regular schedule, and avoid giving puppy table scraps or other such tidbits and treats intended for humans. Don’t switch between brands of food – puppy’s tummy is sensitive and delicate. Human food or sudden changes in diet will likely give puppy diarrhea, which will make your house training attempts very difficult.

After puppy eats, take him outdoors to the area where you want him to eliminate. Come up with a command that you will use when you want him to do his business. Whether it’s “hurry up”, “Let’s do it”, “Do your business”, or whatever you choose, be consistent and use the same command every time. If possible, remain there until puppy completely eliminates, then follow with lots of praise and a small treat of his regular puppy kibble.

If you haven’t already done so, your new puppy should be taken to your veterinarian for a well-puppy check up. This will ensure that your puppy is in good health and is free from conditions that might hinder your housebreaking efforts, such as a bladder infection, parasites, fleas, etc.

Your veterinarian will likely want to vaccinate and de-worm your puppy (unless your breeder has already done so) and put him on a regular schedule of vaccinations, de-worming, flea protection and heartworm preventive medications.

You should spend as much time with your puppy as you possibly can, but when you can’t directly supervise your puppy, you should confine your puppy to a comfortable crate or small pen.

You should also place puppy there at night when the family is asleep. Your puppy’s crate or pen should be his oasis – NEVER use a crate or pen as punishment. DO NOT confine puppy for excessive lengths of time. Puppies thrive on human companionship and can suffer greatly from separation anxiety, which can occur when you leave him alone too long or too often.

In addition to being cruel, long periods of isolation can cause your puppy to misbehave by chewing, digging, barking excessively, hyperactivity and even harming himself. The puppy’s crate should be used for dog naps, overnight and for short periods of time when you must leave the house.

If you have to be away all day, you can hire a caring pet sitter to drop in on your puppy to provide a break for play, companionship, elimination and exercise. Better yet, consider putting puppy in a Dog Daycare during the day where puppy can play with other dogs and people. Many Dog Daycares and Pet Sitters will assist in the early training process for your puppy – be sure to ask!

Give puppy plenty of outdoor exercise! It’s good for both you – and puppy – and gives your puppy lots of opportunity to pee and poop outdoors, where you want the activity to eventually be limited to. Weather permitting, your puppy should be taken for a short walk or to play in your securely fenced back yard at least twice a day for 20 minutes or more. Family members can take turns exercising your puppy, or you can all participate at once.

Helpful Puppy Potty Training Products Available Online From Dogs Central’s Dog Supplies Store:

* Puppy Housebreaking Aids
* Puppy Pee Pads
* Puppy Housebreaking Books
* Wellness Dry Puppy Food
* Puppy Crates & Pens
* Puppy house training Books

Puppy Housebreaking Rule 2 – Praise

Your puppy loves you and wants to make you happy. You are his world! Lavish him with praise when he does good, and you’ll soon have a do-gooder puppy! When it comes to house training your puppy, a little praise can go a long way. Whenever puppy eliminates in the right place, make sure he knows that you are very proud of him. Say “Good Dog”, “Way to Go”, “Woo Hoo”, “Yippee” or whatever you feel comfortable with – and do it with feeling! Give puppy a tiny treat of his regular dog kibble at the same time, and be sure to reward him IMMEDIATELY after he does his business. Don’t worry what the neighbors will think of you jumping up and down and whooping like a goofball – THEY don’t have to shampoo your carpets! This goes for any behavior you want your puppy to repeat. Praise and a small treat are a great way to positively reinforce your puppy’s behavior.

Puppy House Training (Housebreaking) Rule #3 – Perseverance

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your puppy won’t be house trained in a week. Give it time and be consistent. Make sure all members of the family have been trained in the art of puppy housebreaking, and make sure everyone follows the plan to avoid confusing your puppy.

In the event that you are unable to successfully house train your puppy, despite your best efforts, please consider consulting a professional dog trainer or dog behavior specialist. They can help you determine where your efforts are going wrong, or suggest and help you implement other more intensive methods for housebreaking your puppy.

Remember the commitment you made to your puppy when you invited him to become a part of your family. You wouldn’t give away a baby or child for peeing on the carpet, so why should your “baby” be any different? Puppies and even older dogs CAN be housetrained! It just takes time, effort and consistency from every member of the family.

Remember the Three P’s:

  • Supervise your puppy at all times and keep him out of areas you do not want him to go.
  • Take him outdoors frequently to do his business.
  • Clean up accidents immediately and thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner specially formulated as a pet stain and odor remover.
  • Confine your puppy to a crate or pen when you can’t be with him.
  • Give puppy lots of companionship and exercise.
  • Feed a quality puppy food on a tight schedule and don’t alternate or change his brand of food.
  • Praise your puppy lavishly when he does good!
  • DO NOT SCOLD HIM if he has an accident.
  • Be patient and consistent. Your puppy is worth the effort!
  • If all else fails – consult a professional dog trainer for assistance.

If you follow these tips and give it enough time, you’ll have a house trained puppy that will provide your family with many years of love, joy, laughter and companionship!

Additional Puppy Housebreaking  Resources Online

:

Beagle Training Tips

Are Beagles Easy to Train?

If you are challenged with the task of training a Beagle, be ready to put your patience to the test. Fun-loving and stubborn as a bull, most Beagles simply can’t be bothered with learning tricks and such mundane tasks as lay down and roll over.

Lay down? Yeah-right!  Only after he’s finished making the cat run for cover and making sure there isn’t a bird traipsing about in his back yard. If you want to train a Beagle, chances are it will all come down to a battle of wits.

In order to train one of these rebels, you will want to use a technique known as “positive reinforcement.” This means that, rather than scolding your dog when he does something you don’t like, you simply ignore him and, when he does something that you want, you reward him with a treat and lots of excitement, happiness, and praise.

Making a big production of the desired behavior encourages your Beagle to continue doing this action in hopes of getting more goodies and attention.

Additional Resources on Beagle Training

Available Book Titles on Training Your Beagle

 

Training Your Dog to Come When Called

Dog Training - Teaching Your Dog To Come When Called We have just returned from the park, my 11 mos. old standard poodle and I. We were working on his obedience around distractions. With mild distractions, he’s pretty good. We have quite a way to go before he is performing in a high distraction area. While at the park, I witnessed a scene that compelled me to write this article.

On one side of the park we were working on our obedience, and on the other side was a man and his rottweiler. We were using them as our distraction, unknown to them. I’ve seen this dog before and felt for her. She has made several attempts to come and visit my dogs, only to have her neck choked very hard. Today he was doing some sort of training. I’m not sure if the owner was trying to get the dog to retrieve or just to come to him. I was very involved with my guy when I heard the scream. A scream of pain, there was no mistaking it.

After being stopped in my tracks, I proceeded to watch what was going on. The scream had come from the rottweiler, while they were training. The man was letting his dog wander to the end of an extendable leash and choke collar. He would then call her to him. When she didn’t come, he would inflict an almighty correction. This correction is where the scream came from. It was repeated, the dog didn’t come, the correction did and so did the scream. Each time, the dog sensed his owners aggression, she hit the ground, cringing and rolling over. This was supposed to entice the dog to come? I wouldn’t come, I would try very hard to escape this situation.

I find it very difficult not to step in and educate people, but, I have learned when it is best not to. This man was very angry. After attempting the come several times, he looked over at me and then dragged his dog home with him. With every come command, his dog had gotten worse and worse. By the time the man was leaving, the dog was straining at the end of the leash, trying to maintain a good distance from her owner.

This is an all too familiar scene. A longtime ago I trained my dogs the same way, before I knew. I never achieved a reliable recall with this method and had very unhappy dogs. Why do we expect a dog to drop what it is doing and rush to us? Because we say so? And if they don’t come fast enough, we choke them. Think about this. If a friend of yours kept calling you over while you were in the middle of something very important, just to say ‘good.’ Would keep going over? Or would you finally stop going, would you not get aggravated at this friend? Now, if the same friend called you time and time again. Every time you came you received a chocolate truffle, you would keep coming happily wouldn’t you?

How To Teach Your Dog To Come When Called

To get and keep a reliable recall from your dog, you must reward it for coming. You must train and train and train. You start out in a quiet area until your dog gets the idea. You then move to more and more distractions as your dog succeeds. You must never, EVER associate anything that your dog would consider negative to the word ‘come.’ A negative association to ‘come’ slows down the dogs response. Do use the command ‘Come’ when feeding, walking, playing or petting your dog. When you don’t follow the command ‘Come’ with a positive activity, you should ALWAYS reward your dog with a food treat or favorite toy. ‘Come’ could someday save your dogs life, but not if they don’t come.

Some dogs, like my Jack Russell need to be rewarded for a longer period of time. Even now at the age of 5 years, she is still rewarded for coming when highly distracted. She will stop, mid rabbit chase and come when called. But, this is only because it is well worth her while to do so. This goes against what her instinct tells her to do. But it has been ingrained so well by training, training, training, that it overrides her instinct. Pretty impressive in my books.

This does not happen overnight, this took a lot of training and rewarding good behavior. You cannot make a dog come when off leash, they must want to come. This is done by patient training. Having a close bond with your dog is definitely a key factor. If you are an unreliable, unpredictable leader, you will have an unreliable recall. Be a patient, kind and fair leader and you will have a dog that wants to come to you. Consistent, positive ‘come’ training will give you a reliable recall.

Sherri Regalbuto is a professional dog trainer in California
You can visit her web site online at:
www.sounddogbehavior.com

Copyright©2001 Sherri Regalbuto
Used with Permission

Dog Litter Training

Dog Litter Box TrainingTips on Litter Training Your Dog

Who Says Litter Boxes Are For Cats Only?

Will a Dog Use a Litter Box?

Many times, as a dog owner, we must all find ourselves waiting on Fido to finish his business on a stormy night and thinking – “Why didn’t I just get a cat?” Cat owners have always had things a little easier that way – safe inside on those cold late-nights when we’re stuck outside holding the leash or the door for our canine companions. Also, if your dog has trouble walking any distance because of osteoarthritis or age related conditions, or perhaps suffers from a medical problem which causes increased urination, a litter pan would certainly be a helpful and humane alternative to having your dog beg to go outside, get you out of bed, or wait for you to dress for the weather and take him outside.

Well there’s good news! Most breeds of dog can be trained to use a litter box . Some breeders of smaller breed dogs will regularly train dogs to use a litter box as a matter of convenience if they live in an area with harsh winters. It just makes more sense than any other option. Larger dogs can also be taught to select a “target spot” inside the home and return there as a matter of habit – usually this is done with newspapers. So logically, if a dog can be taught to go in a place that you choose, shouldn’t it be a simple matter to place a dog litter box in that target area? It is that simple.

Simple Steps To Litter Training Your Puppy

First though we need to consider the basics. It is best to train a dog while still a puppy. It isn’t impossible to train an adult dog, but the earlier that you develop good habits, the less likely the dog is to fall back to some previous behavior. If your dog is older, that doesn’t mean he is a lost cause, and may in some cases only help to make your dog easier to train – providing that he has developed some level of obedience already.

Training a dog to do anything usually involves identifying a positive behavior – and then rewarding it repeatedly until the dog reaches a point where the desired behavior becomes associated with a good thing like a treat or praise. Puppies respond better to treats more regularly, so a food treat that you will associate solely with the use of the litter box is a key. Try to find something that is small, but very flavorful or with a distinct smell, not the regular food that the dog has in his bowl at meal times. ( Cheese, small bits of cooked liver, small slices of wiener, bits of carrot, or store bought dog treats should work – but be sure the dog likes the treat before you invest in a big bag.)

Second, we need to catch the dog doing the behavior in the right place. The best way to do this is to place the dog in an enclosed area with newspapers or a small litter-box in the corner and watch for the puppy to go. When the puppy goes, immediately praise him and offer the treat. Even easier is to crate-train your dog. Rather than the long wait, put your puppy in a small enclosed space right after feeding. Wait a short time and then watch to see if the puppy is doing ok, then take him out and place him in the litter box.

The timing of the meal and the fact that he’s now restricted to the large litter box should increase the odds that he will be ready to go while you are watching him. Remember too that dogs are more prone to bathroom stops in the early morning when they wake or after you return home from work, school or shopping.

Reward, Reward, Reward!

The reward you give your dog for going in the litter box is two-fold, offering mainly the treat at first, but also the praise. After a few days you will find that your dog will look forward to visiting the litter box and getting the good things that go along with it. (snack & praise). Soon you’ll be able to let the puppy choose his own times to visit the litter box, but be warned, some dogs have been known to “fake” a bathroom trip or two once they get into the habit.

Keep a sense of humor and reward him for trying, it will only reinforce the idea that he’s starting to understand. However if the fake trips become too frequent. You may wish to save the treat and just offer mild praise for false alarms.

The praise component is very important, don’t neglect it! Remember that there will be many times that you may be elsewhere when the dog needs to go. It’s a good idea to bring the dog to site and praise him when you get home or when you discover his earlier handiwork – make sure that you only offer special attention when your dog is on target.

Another consideration is the type of surface. Some dogs may already be used to going on a plain surface or on newspapers. You can leave your litter box liner bare, or line with a single sheet of newspaper – depending on the dog. Either way, clean-up is still easy. If you have a dog that is used to going on the grass, you may have a more difficult time switching, but it is worth a try, and you may find an organic or recycled litter that will act as a good substitute.

For smaller dogs, you may be able to use an absorbent litter, but do use some caution here as you’ll want to test your dog’s reaction to the type of litter that you use. If your dog is a “digger” then you may wish to avoid using a litter at all. You should try to avoid clumping litters – whether clay based or natural fiber – if your dog is curious about the “clumps” that form. Experimentation is the only way to be sure that your dog finds the litter box a comfortable stop, without also making it a site for exploration. Assume the worst and be wary of any litter that might cause problems if ingested.
When your Dog forgets:

If your dog happens to eliminate in the house but in an inappropriate spot (only while you’re home), clap your hands to interrupt her and take her quickly to the desired location immediately. You don’t have to get angry, just disrupt the activity and establish that you wish the dog to stop. Many dogs will react to a firm “No”, or a loud “AH, AH, AHHHH!”

In Summary:

Any elimination in the pan should be enthusiastically praised and otherwise rewarded as soon as it happens. It also will be helpful to reward even mild interest and sniffing in the vicinity of the litter box. Dogs are bright and will get you intent soon and enjoy this activity as much as any other game that you might play with them. The extra attention to dog litter box training early on will usually pay off with a life-time of easy clean ups and a contented pet.

House Training Puppies

House Breaking PuppiesContrary to popular belief, swatting your puppy on the behind with a newspaper when he or she does his business where he’s not supposed to is not the answer to housebreaking your new puppy!

The Secret to House Training Puppies

The three P’s – Prevention, Praise and Perseverance!

Puppy House Training Rule 1 – Prevention

Just like a brand new human baby needs diapers for the first few years of it’s life, puppies need a place to pee and poop until their little puppy bladders can hold it like an adult dog. Puppies have poor bladder and bowel control – having to pee every few hours, and poop several times a day. Keeping your puppy in an area with quick access to newspapers, a puppy litter box, puppy pee pads or the back yard is essential in the first few months of your house training regimen. Accidents are inevitable, so don’t let puppy romp unsupervised in areas where cleanup is difficult.

Play with puppy where there is no carpeting or furniture that can be soiled – areas where flooring is linoleum, tile or well-sealed hardwood are best. NEVER give puppy free reign of the house – even when supervised. Watch carefully for signs of impending peeing or pooping such as sniffing the floor, moving in circles, or sudden disappearing acts.

If you catch puppy in the act – DO NOT SCOLD! – simply move puppy outdoors or to his designated “bathroom area” – then clean up the soiled area, using an enzymatic cleaner specially created for pet odor cleanup. You must completely eliminate the odor – or puppy may smell it later and think it’s a good place to go again. If puppy finished doing his business where he is supposed to, praise him lavishly! You can also offer him a tiny tidbit of his regular kibble food as a reward.

Always feed your puppy a high-quality puppy food, and stick to the same food at all times. Feed your puppy on a regular schedule, and avoid giving puppy table scraps or other such tidbits and treats intended for humans. Don’t switch between brands of food – puppy’s tummy is sensitive and delicate. Human food or sudden changes in diet will likely give puppy diarrhea, which will make your house training attempts very difficult.

After puppy eats, take him outdoors to the area where you want him to eliminate. Come up with a command that you will use when you want him to do his business. Whether it’s “hurry up”, “Let’s do it”, “Do your business”, or whatever you choose, be consistent and use the same command every time. If possible, remain there until puppy completely eliminates, then follow with lots of praise and a small treat of his regular puppy kibble.

If you haven’t already done so, your new puppy should be taken to your veterinarian for a well-puppy check up. This will ensure that your puppy is in good health and is free from conditions that might hinder your housebreaking efforts, such as a bladder infection, parasites, fleas, etc. Your veterinarian will likely want to vaccinate and de-worm your puppy (unless your breeder has already done so) and put him on a regular schedule of vaccinations, de-worming, flea protection and heartworm preventive medications.

You should spend as much time with your puppy as you possibly can, but when you can’t directly supervise your puppy, you should confine your puppy to a comfortable crate or small pen. You should also place puppy there at night when the family is asleep. Your puppy’s crate or pen should be his oasis – NEVER use a crate or pen as punishment.

DO NOT confine puppy for excessive lengths of time. Puppies thrive on human companionship and can suffer greatly from separation anxiety, which can occur when you leave him alone too long or too often. In addition to being cruel, long periods of isolation can cause your puppy to misbehave by chewing, digging, barking excessively, hyperactivity and even harming himself.

The puppy’s crate should be used for dog naps, overnight and for short periods of time when you must leave the house. If you have to be away all day, you can hire a caring pet sitter to drop in on your puppy to provide a break for play, companionship, elimination and exercise. Better yet, consider putting puppy in a Dog Daycare during the day where puppy can play with other dogs and people. Many Dog Daycares and Pet Sitters will assist in the early training process for your puppy – be sure to ask!

Give puppy plenty of outdoor exercise! It’s good for both you – and puppy – and gives your puppy lots of opportunity to pee and poop outdoors, where you want the activity to eventually be limited to. Weather permitting, your puppy should be taken for a short walk or to play in your securely fenced back yard at least twice a day for 20 minutes or more. Family members can take turns exercising your puppy, or you can all participate at once.

Puppy Housebreaking Rule 2 – Praise

Your puppy loves you and wants to make you happy. You are his world! Lavish him with praise when he does good, and you’ll soon have a do-gooder puppy! When it comes to house training your puppy, a little praise can go a long way. Whenever puppy eliminates in the right place, make sure he knows that you are very proud of him. Say “Good Dog”, “Way to Go”, “Woo Hoo”, “Yippee” or whatever you feel comfortable with – and do it with feeling!

Give puppy a tiny treat of his regular dog kibble at the same time, and be sure to reward him IMMEDIATELY after he does his business. Don’t worry what the neighbors will think of you jumping up and down and whooping like a goofball – THEY don’t have to shampoo your carpets! This goes for any behavior you want your puppy to repeat. Praise and a small treat are a great way to positively reinforce your puppy’s behavior.

Puppy House Training (Housebreaking) Rule #3 – Perseverance

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your puppy won’t be house trained in a week. Give it time and be consistent. Make sure all members of the family have been trained in the art of puppy housebreaking, and make sure everyone follows the plan to avoid confusing your puppy.

In the event that you are unable to successfully house train your puppy, despite your best efforts, please consider consulting a professional dog trainer or dog behavior specialist. They can help you determine where your efforts are going wrong, or suggest and help you implement other more intensive methods for housebreaking your puppy.

Remember the commitment you made to your puppy when you invited him to become a part of your family. You wouldn’t give away a baby or child for peeing on the carpet, so why should your “baby” be any different? Puppies and even older dogs CAN be housetrained! It just takes time, effort and consistency from every member of the family.

Remember:

  • Supervise your puppy at all times and keep him out of areas you do not want him to go.
  • Take him outdoors frequently to do his business.
  • Clean up accidents immediately and thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner specially formulated as a pet stain and odor remover.
  • Confine your puppy to a crate or pen when you can’t be with him.
  • Give puppy lots of companionship and exercise.
  • Feed a quality puppy food on a tight schedule and don’t alternate or change his brand of food.
  • Praise your puppy lavishly when he does good!
  • DO NOT SCOLD HIM if he has an accident.
  • Be patient and consistent. Your puppy is worth the effort!
  • If all else fails – consult a professional dog trainer for assistance.

If you follow these tips and give it enough time, you’ll have a house trained puppy that will provide your family with many years of love, joy, laughter and companionship!

Dog Litter Box Training

Litter Training A Dog

Tips on Litter Training Your Dog

Who Says Litter Boxes Are For Cats Only? Many times, as a dog owner, we must all find ourselves waiting on Fido to finish his business on a stormy night and thinking – “Why didn’t I just get a cat?” Cat owners have always had things a little easier that way – safe inside on those cold late-nights when we’re stuck outside holding the leash or the door for our canine companions.

Also, if your dog has trouble walking any distance because of osteoarthritis or age related conditions, or perhaps suffers from a medical problem which causes increased urination, a litter pan would certainly be a helpful and humane alternative to having your dog beg to go outside, get you out of bed, or wait for you to dress for the weather and take him outside.

Well there’s good news! Most breeds of dog can be trained to use a litter box . Some breeders of smaller breed dogs will regularly train dogs to use a litter box as a matter of convenience if they live in an area with harsh winters.

Will a Dog Use a Litter Box?

It just makes more sense than any other option. Larger dogs can also be taught to select a “target spot” inside the home and return there as a matter of habit – usually this is done with newspapers. So logically, if a dog can be taught to go in a place that you choose, shouldn’t it be a simple matter to place a dog litter box in that target area? It is that simple.

Simple Steps To Dog Litter Box Training

Dog Litter TrainingFirst though we need to consider the basics. It is best to train a dog while still a puppy. It isn’t impossible to train an adult dog, but the earlier that you develop good habits, the less likely the dog is to fall back to some previous behavior. If your dog is older, that doesn’t mean he is a lost cause, and may in some cases only help to make your dog easier to train – providing that he has developed some level of obedience already.

Training a dog to do anything usually involves identifying a positive behavior – and then rewarding it repeatedly until the dog reaches a point where the desired behavior becomes associated with a good thing like a treat or praise. Puppies respond better to treats more regularly, so a food treat that you will associate solely with the use of the litter box is a key.

Try to find something that is small, but very flavorful or with a distinct smell, not the regular food that the dog has in his bowl at meal times. ( Cheese, small bits of cooked liver, small slices of wiener, bits of carrot, or store bought dog treats should work – but be sure the dog likes the treat before you invest in a big bag.)

Second, we need to catch the dog doing the behavior in the right place. The best way to do this is to place the dog in an enclosed area with newspapers or a small litter-box in the corner and watch for the puppy to go.

When the puppy goes, immediately praise him and offer the treat. Even easier is to crate-train your dog. Rather than the long wait, put your puppy in a small enclosed space right after feeding. Wait a short time and then watch to see if the puppy is doing ok, then take him out and place him in the litter box.

The timing of the meal and the fact that he’s now restricted to the large litter box should increase the odds that he will be ready to go while you are watching him. Remember too that dogs are more prone to bathroom stops in the early morning when they wake or after you return home from work, school or shopping.

Reward, Reward, Reward!

The reward you give your dog for going in the litter box is two-fold, offering mainly the treat at first, but also the praise. After a few days you will find that your dog will look forward to visiting the litter box and getting the good things that go along with it. (snack & praise). Soon you’ll be able to let the puppy choose his own times to visit the litter box, but be warned, some dogs have been known to “fake” a bathroom trip or two once they get into the habit.

Keep a sense of humor and reward him for trying, it will only reinforce the idea that he’s starting to understand. However if the fake trips become too frequent. You may wish to save the treat and just offer mild praise for false alarms.

The praise component is very important, don’t neglect it! Remember that there will be many times that you may be elsewhere when the dog needs to go. It’s a good idea to bring the dog to site and praise him when you get home or when you discover his earlier handiwork – make sure that you only offer special attention when your dog is on target.

Another consideration is the type of surface. Some dogs may already be used to going on a plain surface or on newspapers. You can leave your litter box liner bare, or line with a single sheet of newspaper – depending on the dog. Either way, clean-up is still easy. If you have a dog that is used to going on the grass, you may have a more difficult time switching, but it is worth a try, and you may find an organic or recycled litter that will act as a good substitute.

For smaller dogs, you may be able to use an absorbent litter, but do use some caution here as you’ll want to test your dog’s reaction to the type of litter that you use. If your dog is a “digger” then you may wish to avoid using a litter at all. You should try to avoid clumping litters – whether clay based or natural fiber – if your dog is curious about the “clumps” that form.

Experimentation is the only way to be sure that your dog finds the litter box a comfortable stop, without also making it a site for exploration. Assume the worst and be wary of any litter that might cause problems if ingested.

When your Dog forgets:

If your dog happens to eliminate in the house but in an inappropriate spot (only while you’re home), clap your hands to interrupt her and take her quickly to the desired location immediately. You don’t have to get angry, just disrupt the activity and establish that you wish the dog to stop. Many dogs will react to a firm “No”, or a loud “AH, AH, AHHHH!”

In Summary:

Any elimination in the pan should be enthusiastically praised and otherwise rewarded as soon as it happens. It also will be helpful to reward even mild interest and sniffing in the vicinity of the litter box.

Dogs are bright and will get you intent soon and enjoy this activity as much as any other game that you might play with them. The extra attention to dog litter box training early on will usually pay off with a life-time of easy clean ups and a contented pet.

Further Reading About Dog Litter Training