There are many ideas on how to housebreak a dog, but the most effective method by far is the one that teaches your dog to go outside and relieve himself when you tell him to go.
When you first bring your puppy home with you, he won’t understand what’s required of him at first. It’s important to be patient with your new puppy as he learns the new house rules. With the right positive reinforcement, you should find it only takes a couple of days to housebreak your puppy.
However, if you’re trying to housebreak an older dog, the same tips apply, but you may require a little more patience to break an older dog’s habits.
Here’s a simple step-step guide on how to housebreak a dog.
No matter whether you’re house-training a puppy or an older dog, patience is your best training tool. Your dog can’t understand the words you say, but it can understand your tone and your body language. Patience and perseverance are necessary for quick success.
To begin housebreaking any dog, be sure you take him outside as soon as he wakes up from a sleep or a nap and soon after every meal. Stand outside with your dog and let him sniff around until he feels the urge to go naturally.
The instant your dog gets into a posture to relieve itself, give the command “go potty” or “go pee” or whatever command you want him to associate with relieving himself. Say this command several times as he’s doing his business.
When he’s done, praise him lavishly. Say in a high-pitched, happy tone, ‘good dog’ and give him a pat or even a food reward. Then allow him to come back into the house with you.
At first, your dog won’t understand why he’s being praised for doing something he was going to do naturally anyway. He won’t associate the praise with doing his business outdoors initially.
The next time your dog needs to go, he may try to do it in the house right in front of you, because he’ll wonder if the act of going to the bathroom is what caused all that praise.
If your dog does happen to have an accident inside, NEVER yell at him, hit him or rub his nose in it. This can actually cause other training problems in your dog and make him afraid of you, but it won’t stop him from relieving himself wherever he wants. You also can’t punish a dog for doing what comes naturally, so if you find evidence of an accident in the house after he’s done it, there’s no point telling him off. He simply won’t understand and it won’t housebreak your dog.
Clean up any accidents silently and avoid all eye contact with your dog. If he comes up and wants to check out what you’re doing, point at the mess he’s made and say ‘ah ah’ in a low growl, but continue doing what you were doing. Ignoring any dog is a severe reprimand in dog language.
The next time you catch your dog thinking about going to the bathroom inside the house, take him outside quickly, give the command ‘go potty’ or ‘go pee’ immediately and praise him.
Your dog will very quickly begin to understand that you’re only happy when he does his business outside and he will begin to ask to be let outside rather than messing your carpets or furniture.
Learning how to housebreak a dog is very easy when you remember to work on your dog’s natural tendencies and behaviors. Reward him when he does the right thing and encourage him to learn the commands so you can take him outside and get him to go whenever you need to.