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Everything You Want to Know About Housebreaking Your Dog

All Dog Advice, Dog Training & Behaviour, Puppy Advice

Housebreaking your new dog may seem like a daunting prospect, buy it’s usually pretty easy. No matter what age your dog is, the same principles apply: praise, supervision, confinement, and patience. Take your dog to his proper toilet area as often as possible, and praise him; supervise him at all times when he is in the house; and when you can’t supervise, confine him in some way. But above all, be patient.

Right from the beginning, whether your dog is old enough to control himself or not, the real training needs to begin. Here’s how to do it:

Rule out any medical problem first. Have him checked out by a veterinarian to make sure he’s fit. A “wormy” puppy with diarrhea can’t be expected to control himself.

Feed low-residue food. Give him two or three meals daily of a well-balanced, low-residue food (your vet can recommend a brand), rather than leaving the food out all day. Be consistent in his mealtimes to make the times of elimination more predictable. Try to make the last meal no later than 5 PM to help your dog make it through the night. Picking up his water at 8 PM may also be helpful as long as he doesn’t have a medical problem (such as kidney disease) that would make water restriction dangerous.

Select one area as his toilet. Take your dog to an area of the yard you’ve pre-selected as his toilet zone. Show him where it is (don’t expect him to find it on his own) at the times he is expected to need to eliminate: immediately upon awakening, soon after eating, and at exciting times (after meeting new people, after a car ride, before and after play). When you’re puppy gives you that “uncomfortable” look, take him to the toilet area immediately. A puppy usually needs to be taken tom his area approximately every 2 to 4 hours. An older Boston terrier dog may only need to be taken every 4 to 6 hours.

Teach a cue word. When you get to the area and your pup begins to search for the right spot, say to him “Hurry up,” “Do your business,” or any other creative phrase. That phrase will soon act as a cue to spend him up.

Always praise and play afterward-not before. Pay your pup lots of compliments immediately after he eliminates in the right area. Then play with him in another spot outside. If your pet doesn’t do his business in his area after about 5 minutes, bring him back into the house and either tie or confine him for another 5 minutes. Then take him out to the toilet area again. The second time around is usually successful.

Supervise your dog in the house at all times. Always keep your dog with you. If you’re too busy to watch him, put him in his pen or confined area. Keep him in his pen (with papers when he needs them and without papers when he gets older) or confined area when you are not home.

Never use punishment after the fact. Even if you’re doing everything in your power to prevent accidents, they do happen. If you catch your puppy in the act, clap your hands to startle him, and say “No!” Take him outside to finish immediately. If he does, praise him for doing a good job. If you find an accident, do not raise your voice, spank your pup, or rub his nose in it. You won’t make him afraid of having accidents, but you will make him afraid of you.

Learn from hi mistakes. Keep good records of accidents. Use these records to predict when your pup needs to eliminate so that you can alter your schedule to prevent the next one.

Neutralize the odor. When cleaning up accidents, use products that neutralize urine odor. Avoid products with ammonia, as these may genuinely attract young pets like Boston Terrier puppies to urinate in the same location.

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Be patient and positive. This last tip is the most important. It’s possible to housebreak just about any dog like a Boston Terrier, though it may have to be done at his pace.

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