House training is one of the most important parts of training any dog to be a valued part of the family. As with many other aspects of dog training, the best way to house train a dog is to use the dog's own nature to your benefit.
The great thing about dogs, and the thing that can make house training much easier, is that dogs are instinctively very clean animals. Dogs would rather not soil the areas where they sleep and eat. In addition, dogs are very good at developing habits regarding where they like to urinate and defecate.
For example, dogs that are used to eliminating on concrete or gravel will prefer to eliminate there rather than on grass or dirt. It is possible to use these natural canine habits when house training your dog.
Setting up the training area
The first step in house training your dog is to set up your training area. A small, confined space such as a bathroom, or part of a kitchen or garage, works best as a training area. This method of training differs from crate training. Crate training is great for puppies and small dogs, but many larger dogs find a crate too confining.
It is important for the owner to spend as much time in the training area with his or her dog as possible. It is important for the owner to play with the dog in the training area, and to let the dog eat and sleep in that area. The dog should be provided with a special bed in the training area, anything from a store bought bed to a large towel to a large box. At first, the dog may eliminate in this area, but once the dog has recognized it as his or her own space, he or she will be reluctant to soil it.
After the dog has gotten used to sleeping in the bed, the owner can move it around the house, relocating it from room to room. When you are not with your dog, the dog should be confined to the training area.
Setting up the toilet area
The second part of house training is to set up the toilet area for the dog. It is important for the dog to have access to this place every time he or she needs to eliminate. It is also important for the owner to accompany the dog each time until he or she gets into the habit of eliminating in the toilet area. This will ensure that the dog uses only the established toilet area.
A set feeding schedule makes the house training process a lot easier for both the owner and the dog. Feeding the dog on a regular basis will also create a regular schedule for the dog's toilet habits. Once you know when your dog is likely to need to eliminate, it will be simple to guide the dog to the established toilet area.
Once the dog has established a toilet area and is using it on a regular basis, it is very important to not confine the dog without access to the toilet area for long periods of time. That is because if the dog is unable to hold it, he or she may be forced to eliminate in the training area. This habit can make house training much more difficult.
Continuing the house training process
After the dog is consistently eliminating in the toilet area and not soiling the training area, it is time to extend that training area to the rest of the home. This process should be done slowly, starting with one room and slowly expanding to the rest of the house. The area should only be extended once you are sure of the dog's ability to control its bladder and bowels.
When you first expand the training area to a single room, let the dog eat, play and sleep in that room, but only when supervised. When it is not possible to supervise the dog, place it back in the original training area. Then, after the dog has accepted the room as an extension of the original training area, the area can be extended.
Speeding up the process
If this process is too lengthy for your needs, it can be speeded up, but it is important to proceed cautiously. It is easier to take your time up front than to retrain a problem dog later. One way to successfully speed up house training is to praise and reward the dog each and every time it uses the established toilet area. It is also important not to punish the dog for mistakes. Punishment will only confuse the dog and slow down the house training process.
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