Our series of blog posts on dog adoption and welcoming a new dog into your home continues today with a post on how to housetrain your dog to avoid “accidents” in your home and on carpet and furniture.
This post is a good accompaniment to our posts on crate training and positive reinforcement during times of training a pet.
How do you house train a puppy or an older dog? There are many methods and preferences you will find online but below is our preferred process for properly training a dog to go to the bathroom outdoors or in a designated space:
(1) Age & Breed of the Dog
There are some factors that will determine when to start housetraining your dog and how often to schedule bathroom trips during the training period.
A smaller breed of dog has a smaller bladder and will need to go outside during the training period more often. A larger breed can go outdoors less often.
You should wait to start housetraining your dog until he or she is 12-16 weeks old. This won’t be a problem if you adopt an older dog. If you adopt an older dog, you should start immediately to familiarize the dog with their new living space and bathroom area.
(2) Feeding Schedule
How often and when your dog needs to go to the bathroom will depend on how often and when you feed the dog. You should put the dog on a regular feeding schedule and prevent access to food during the in-between times. This will limit the amount of times the dog needs to urinate and defecate each day.
Bring the dog outside first thing in the morning and then once every 30 minutes to 1 hour. Bring the dog outside immediately after he or she eats and immediately after the dog wakes up from a nap. Also, be sure to bring the dog outdoors just before bedtime.
Take the dog to the same spot every time so the dog learns where the preferred place for them to go to the bathroom is.
Be patient and remain outdoors with the dog for the first few months of housetraining. Your accompaniment will make the dog feel more secure and able to relax and go to the bathroom during these times.
(5) Positive Reinforcement & Reward
After your dog goes to the bathroom in the correct spot, be sure to reward the dog with a reward or treat. The minimum would be a pat on the head but if you can provide some form of treat or perhaps a trip to the dog park or walk around the neighborhood, it would be best.
Continue this process for 3-4 months and your dog should be well on the way to being housetrained and able to alert you during the times he or she needs to go to the bathroom outdoors.
During the training process, if an “accident” does occur in your home on the carpet or a rug, you should address the stain immediately. Pet urine contains harsh acids and components that can ruin a carpet and create a potent odor that is very unpleasant.
You should call a professional carpet cleaning service able to remove pet urine odors from rugs and carpet. The stain and odor are almost impossible to remove with homemade solutions or retail cleaning products. We recommend Chem-Dry of Bexar County in San Antonio, if you live near the area.
Good luck in housetraining your new dog! This is another step in building a loving and lasting relationship with your pet.