Dealing with house training your dog


House training is one of those issues that every dog owner must grapple with.  In most cases house training is the first major milestone in the relationship between owner and dog, and it can sometimes be difficult and confusing for owner and dog alike.


The best house training procedures are those that use the dog’s own instincts to the owner’s advantage.  These strategies take into account the dog’s reluctance to soil the spots where he eats and sleeps. This is the concept behind den training and crate training.  Dogs are very clean animals, and in nature they always avoid using their dens as toilet areas.


These kinds of natural training methods generally work very well, for both puppies and older dogs.  Naturally, older, larger dogs will need a larger area for their den, and crate training is generally best used for puppies and small dogs.


When house training a dog or a puppy, however, it is important to pay close attention to the signals the dog is sending.  It is also important to be consistent when it comes to feeding times, and to provide the dog with ready access to the toilet area you establish on a regular basis.


It is important as well to never try to rush the process of house training.  While some dogs are naturally easier to train, most puppies and adult dogs will experience at least one or two slip ups during the house training process.  When these accidents occur, it is important to not get mad and punish the dog.  Accidents during house training usually mean that the owner is trying to move too fast, or that the dog has been left alone for too long.  In this case, it is best to just take a step back and start the process again.


It is also important for the owner to reward the dog enthusiastically when it does its business in the appointed area.  The dog should learn to associate doing its business in its toilet area with good things like treats, rewards and praise.


During the house training process, the den area starts out very small, often as small as half of a small room in the beginning.  As the dog learns to control his bladder and bowels better, and the owner learns to anticipate the dog’s toilet needs, the den area can be slowly expanded.  It is important not to make the den area too large too soon.  The den area must be expanded slowly in order for the house training process to move along smoothly.


It is important for the dog to be properly introduced to its den.  Many dogs, particularly those who have never been confined before, such as those who have spent their lives as outdoor dogs, may react to the den area as if it is a prison, and constantly whine, cry and try to escape the den.  It is important that the dog learn to accept its den as a home and not a cage.


One problem many dog owners overlook when house training a dog is that of boredom.  Boredom is actually the root cause of many behavior problems in dogs, including chewing and other destructive behaviors.  Boredom can also be the root cause of problems with house training.  Dogs that are bored often consume large amounts of water during the day, and this excess water consumption can lead to the need to urinate often, even in its den area.  Since soiling the den area goes against the dog’s nature, he can quickly become confused and frightened, thereby setting the house training program back even further.


To prevent the dog from becoming bored when you are away from home, be sure to provide him with lots of different kinds of toys, as well as a safe and secure place to sleep.  In addition, a vigorous period of play time can help the dog sleep while you are away.  In addition, playing with the dog in its den area will help him bond with this area and recognize it as a safe, secure home.