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Housetraining Dogs and Puppies

Sue Sternberg

The key to training your dog to eliminate outside (where you want him to) is to prevent accidents, and to reward success. Adult dogs have better bladder and bowel control, and can “hold it” for a longer period of time than puppies. The rule of thumb with puppies is to take their age in months, add one, and that’s the number of hours the puppy can “hold it” during the day (i.e. A four-month-old puppy can be expected to be clean for up to five hours during the day).

Here are some simple steps to help you and your dog find success!

Housetraining Troubleshooting


          • Feed your dog on a schedule (he’ll eliminate on a schedule, too).
          • Keep his diet simple and consistent (avoid table scraps and canned foods; a high quality dry kibble produces the least waste).
          • Choose an area, about ten square feet, outside, where you wish your dog to potty.
          • Take your dog on leash to the area, pace back and forth (movement promotes movement) and chant an encouraging phrase (“do your business, do your business “).
  • Do this for no more than three minutes:
    • if he eliminates, give huge amounts of praise and play.
    • if he doesn’t eliminate, keep him on leash, go back indoors, keep dog on leash with you or confined in a crate.
  • Try again in an hour; eventually your dog will eliminate appropriately and you can
    give huge amounts of praise and play.
  • REMEMBER! Do not punish accidents! Ignore them, and reward success!

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