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Three Easy Steps to Housebreaking Your Dog
First of all, understand that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! If you let your dog get into the habit of going potty in your house it will take longer and require more work to teach him the proper potty place. You can prevent this by using an appropriately sized crate and/or play pen when you do not have your eyes 100% focused on your fuzzball. If he is in the place he eats, drinks and sleeps he is less likely to go potty until you take him to his spot.
If a pen or crate is just not feasible for you, there is another option. A technique called tethering will keep your dog or puppy right by your side at all times. Basically, she is kept on a leash that is attached to you which means she can not sneak off to do her business when you're not watching her!
Probably the second most important component to housebreaking your dog is to make sure she given plenty of opportunities to relieve herself in her proper designated potty place. For puppies 8 weeks to 5 months, this could mean taking her out every 45 minutes to 1 hours. For older puppies and adult dogs, try every 1 to 2 hours. Take them on leash outdoors to one spot or bring them to their potty pad or litter box and give them about 5 minutes to sniff and do the deed. If she doesn't potty the puppy should either go back into the crate or pen, or stay attached to you with a tether. Try again in 15 minutes. When your puppy does go, give lots of praise after she's done. Let her know she did exactly what you expected of her! Feel free to give a food treat or a fun play session as an extra reward! The more rewarded she is for doing the right thing, the more likely she will do it again and again until it is reliable!
One big mistake many new and even seasoned dog owners make while housebreaking is punishing your dog! Never punish your dog or puppy, no matter what! Your canine companion will not associate their act of going potty on your rug as a bad thing. Instead, they will associate you with fear and pain. This only works to break the fragile trust you are trying to build between the two of you, which will later lead to even bigger behavioral problems. If you find an accident on the carpet or any item, clean it well and consider how it happened. Take the steps you need to keep it from happening again.
Be kind to your dog, and guide her to happily coexist with your family.
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