Category Archives: housebreaking

Puppy Housebreaking Do’s and Don’ts

housebreaking krizBy Langley Cornwell

When a new puppy comes home with you it’s all smiles, kisses and puppy breath. But once that little bundle of fur eliminates in your house, it’s easy to get upset. Many people, especially first-time puppy owners, stress over the housebreaking process.  Luckily, you have Mother Nature and mother dog on your side. If you understand a few basics and remain consistent, house training your new puppy should be an easy task.

Do: Create a Den

Dogs love small spaces; they are natural den animals. Before you bring your puppy home, use a crate, a baby gate or a corral pen to create a den for him. This will be his safe place, and as the pup gets older he will likely go to the space as a way to self-sooth when he feels stress or discomfort. Introduce him to the area in a positive manner. Once the puppy fully grasps that this area is his den, he will naturally endeavor to keep his den clean.

A puppy learns to keep his den clean at an early age. Sure, when puppies are newborns they soil indiscriminately but the mother dog always cleans her pups so there is never a trace of elimination in their special space. They also observe their mother, and since she never eliminates in the den, the puppies learn the concept of keeping the den clean by imitating mom.

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How Well Has Your Pet Trained You?

By Linda Cole

We are so misinformed in believing our pets are well trained by us. They actually have a unique ability to train us and in reality, we don’t realize until after training is complete, how great a job they did on us. Don’t believe me? Read on to see if you recognize any of the training tips pets use on us every day to get anything from a tasty treat to our attention. From our pet’s point of view, we are the ones who need training.

Housebreaking. One of the first things you do after getting a puppy is teach him where you want him to go. Our training begins the moment we frantically leap over an easy chair to stop the “accident,” which by then is usually already in progress, and rush the puppy outside as he/she leaves a trail out the door. Pups teach us to watch them like a hawk! Housebreaking a pup isn’t difficult, once you learn their particular little dances and looks they give you when the crucial time has come and leakage is imminent.

Cooking utensils, laundry baskets and TV remotes crash to the floor as we attempt to get to the puppy before it’s too late. People who never considered running sprints or jumping hurdles will fly over the couch or coffee table to get to their adorable puppy squatting in the middle of the living room. From a pup’s point of view, we need training because watching a lumbering human race towards him with panic etched on their face and screaming, “NOOOOO,” is scary!


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How to Housebreak a Puppy

By Linda Cole

Puppies are so cute, until you find a little surprise waiting for you on the kitchen floor. Hopefully, you didn’t discover it in the dark. Housebreaking a puppy can be frustrating, but it’s not impossible nor is it the puppy’s fault. Stay calm and committed and you’ll be surprised how quickly you can train your puppy where to go.

A puppy can’t control his bladder muscles properly until he’s at least 12 weeks old, and he simply can’t “hold it” for very long. He doesn’t know going inside is bad. Housebreaking a puppy takes patience and consistent training to teach him where the appropriate place to eliminate is. Yelling at a puppy for going inside the house won’t teach him anything positive. He will understand you’re upset, but he doesn’t connect his mess to why you are angry with him. Because dogs live in the moment, he relates your anger with whatever he was doing at that moment. If he eagerly greets you at the door and you respond by yelling at him, he learns greeting you makes you unhappy and he’ll stop greeting you. You want your pup to have only positive thoughts about you. Inappropriate discipline creates unnecessary stress and a confused dog.

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Is it Separation Anxiety, or Something Else?


By Linda Cole

We all know what separation anxiety is. A dog just can’t stand being away from the people he loves. Left alone, the dog might whine, howl or bark all day which isn’t good if you live in an apartment. He may also destroy things in the home or scratch up the doors and windows. He gets all worked up and so do the neighbors. But, there could be something else going on that has nothing to do with a dog missing his owner.

Separation anxiety has become a sort of catch-all for behavioral problems. But it could also be boredom or a disease. No one knows why some dogs seem to miss their owner more than others. Some become anxious even with the owner at home but in a different room. Destructive chewing, howling or constant barking, drooling and doing their business inside are all symptoms of separation anxiety. Some dogs become so worked up they chew on themselves, causing self inflicted injuries. A mild case can be dealt with easily whereas a more severe case may require medication and/or working with an animal behavioral expert to help solve the dog’s anxiety.

A bored pet can be as destructive as one who misses his owner, but the two problems are quite different. Boredom can be solved with exercise before you leave the house and chew toys stuffed with dog treats. But before you can solve the mystery of whether your dog is destroying your couch because he’s bored or because he’s experiencing separation anxiety, you need to determine which problem you are dealing with. Discussing the issue with your vet can help.

There are medical reasons why your dog may be exhibiting what appears to be separation anxiety. Cushing’s disease, seizures, diabetes, renal disease, gastrointestinal problems or cystitis could be the problem. A fear of thunderstorms that increases when you are gone can upset some dogs enough that they howl or chew to help relieve their fear. Cognitive dysfunction, needing to go outside, marking their territory, a pup who is teething and not being completely housebroken can all be symptoms that you should have your dog checked out by a vet or an animal behaviorist, or spend extra time working on housebreaking and basic training.

Separation anxiety can begin at any age and for a variety of reasons. If you’ve moved into a new home, your dog may not feel as comfortable in his new surroundings. Separation anxiety can occur is you adopt a new dog who isn’t accustomed to you, their new environment or a new routine. It might manifest if your work schedule changes and you don’t have as much time to spend exercising and playing with your dog.

Other causes of separation anxiety include: a new baby in the home; new people living in your home; other changes in your living arrangements; a death in the family which can be a human or another pet. Separation anxiety might occur if your dog had an extended stay in a kennel or at the vet, or if you’ve adopted a new puppy or kitten. Your dog needs to know he hasn’t lost your love, so any time there’s a change, it’s important to reassure him he’s still your buddy. Dogs feel most comfortable and secure when their routine is maintained from day to day. Before making changes that are in your control, talk to your vet for recommendations on how to best implement the change so your dog doesn’t feel threatened. Changes you can’t control, like a death, may need to be dealt with by an expert if your dog continues to grieve.

Don’t assume your dog has separation anxiety just because it’s an easy explanation for why your dog is misbehaving. Any of the diseases mentioned above, boredom or lack of proper training could be the culprit. If you’re thinking about using a crate to help keep your dog from destroying the house while you’re gone, discuss your intentions with your vet before doing so. A dog with separation anxiety should never be put in a crate. It will only cause him more stress to be confined in a small area.

The more we learn about dogs, the more we understand how intertwined our lives are. Separation anxiety can be dealt with as long as that’s the problem. It’s always a good idea to have your vet give your dog a checkup just to make sure it’s separation anxiety and not something else.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Why Do Dogs Mark Their Territory?


By Ruthie Bently

Both male and female dogs mark their territory to let other animals (including humans) know that this is their space and it should not be trespassed upon or there will be consequences. Male dogs and some females will lift their leg. The reason is to leave their scent highest on the place they are marking. I know a female that both lifts her leg and squats. She learned the leg lifting because she grew up with a male dog; he was her role model and lifted his leg, so she does too.

Have you ever wondered why so many male dogs show up when your female goes into season for the first time? A male dog can tell by the smell of a female’s urine that she is in season and ready to breed, and they’ll come from quite a distance. A dog’s scent is carried on the wind and a dog’s sense of smell is so good, their competitors whether domestic or wild, get the warning at a distance. Before we had a fenced place for my AmStaff Skye, I’d leash walk her around the property. I let her amble where she wanted and she always chose the perimeters of the property, stopping every so often to do her business. We had coyotes when we moved here and saw one loping across our meadow once. After Skye came to live here we never saw them again, but we could hear them howling at night from a distance.

Sometimes a male dog will mark inside the house if he feels his territory is threatened, and this can pertain to his owner as well. I had a female client (Ms. Smith) with an adult intact male Akita named Buck. Ms. Smith began dating after a divorce, and Buck had an issue with her male friend. The dog would go into the bathroom and mark the toilet after her boyfriend had used it. Ms. Smith tried closing the bathroom door, but Buck then marked the door. Neutering wasn’t an option since Buck was a show dog and you cannot show a neutered dog in confirmation. I suggested that her boyfriend bring some dog treats when he came over. I hoped that having him give Buck a treat when he walked in and during the visit might help the dog become more accepting and be less apt to mark the toilet or bathroom door. It worked so well that Ms. Smith and her boyfriend got married, and Buck was the ring bearer at their wedding.

If you have a dog that is going potty in an inappropriate place, they can be retrained to go outside. I had to retrain Skye when she came to live here because she was used to going potty in a concrete run. She got to go outside and play with the other dogs and occasionally went on the grass, but usually waited to go back to her kennel to potty. Until I retrained her, Skye would have accidents in the house even if I took her outside every half hour. I spoke with an animal behaviorist recently and she explained that Skye could not differentiate between the concrete run floor and the kitchen floor because they were both smooth, flat surfaces. It is important to train a dog to go outside because the surfaces outside are different than the floors of a house.

I was able to use dog treats as a reinforcement for good behavior. I discovered the best approach was to reward Skye when she pottied outside, making sure to do so before we went back in the house. Now, she even barks to let me know when she needs to go outside. Having Skye properly house-trained has stopped her from marking inside the house, and has certainly made life easier!

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Housebreaking Your Dog

Housebreaking a dog, no matter what their age is now one of the easiest things to do these days. There are a few things you need to have, there are the housebreaking supplies of course; but you should learn to use repetition, have patience and above all you should have a sense of humor. 
When Skye came to live with me, I had to teach her that going potty in the house was not an option. You see Skye grew up in a kennel and could let herself out into her dog run to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. She didn’t have to wait for some human to get up, go downstairs and open the door for her; so in the beginning we had a few accidents. I also found out early on in Skye’s training that if I rewarded her with a “potty biscuit” after she did what she needed to do outside; she got the idea a lot faster. She never got a whole cookie and often times she would be rewarded with a piece of cereal.
When I was growing up we had dogs and there never seemed to be much trouble to housebreaking them. I do remember one incident involving my grandparents’ Boston Terrier Peggy that had to do with the Sunday paper. You see, she was paper trained and when she was young to housebreak, my grandparents put newspapers down for her to go potty on in the spot they had chosen for her in the kitchen. Then when they couldn’t get her to go outside, they tried putting newspapers on the lawn to try and convince her that grass was OK, which finally helped to train her. The incident with the paper happened one Sunday morning when my grandpa was laying down on the couch enjoying his paper. Peggy walked over to a section on the floor that Grandpa was not reading and relieved herself there.
While you can still use the old method of housebreaking with newspapers, there are now many alternatives to that old standby. You can now purchase pheromone enhanced puppy pads that have a plastic backing. These are good because they keep the urine from soaking through the pads. You can get pheromone drops to use outside in the spot you want the dog to go. You can get artificial grass systems that can be used indoors (for rainy days) or outdoors to keep those burn spots down in your lawn. 
When you are housebreaking a dog, here are a few simple tips:
  • Taking the dog out should be the first thing you do in the morning.
  • After feeding your dog, wait about 20 minutes, and then take them out. 
  • Taking the dog out should be the last thing you do at night.
  • If you want to use a treat as a positive reinforcement, feel free to do so. It will help your dog learn faster. If you don’t want to use a treat, a pat, hug or words of praise will work just as well.
Watch your dog’s body language, if they start dancing around, pacing, or sniffing for a spot; take them outside. Usually this behavior means that they have to go outside. By following these simple tips it will be no time before you can sleep late on your weekend off.

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.