Housebreaking the Positive

It is probably hard for you to get excited about developing a good relationship with your dog if he is defecating or urinating in your house. However, since housebreaking is the first training task most dog owners face with a new dog, it often sets the tone for their relationship. Will you start by creating distrust and fear by punishing him, or will you create trust and understanding by showing your dog in a kind way what it is you want and taking responsibility for helping him do it? Will your dog be a welcome, trusted member of the family who understands the rules, or a pain in the neck who "defies" you, in spite of being hit with a rolled up newspaper, and ruins your carpet by turning it into his bathroom?

Failure to be housebroken may mean a lifetime of being kept outside, isolated from everyone, or it may mean a dog may suffer from being punished constantly for relieving himself indoors. For all too many dogs, failure to be housebroken results in a one-way trip to the local dog pound.

If your dog is already housebroken, you don't need to read this chapter, although you still might find it interesting to glance over. It contains some good examples of using punishment versus positive reinforcement. Skip this chapter only if your dog is really housebroken. That means no accidents in the house unless your dog is sick or kept inside longer than he is used to. If you have a male dog, you may want to read the discussion of castration in the section on marking.

Housebreaking the positive way will rely on rewarding your dog for relieving himself where you want him to and on controlling his environment to help him form good habits. This method of housebreaking is designed to teach your dog to relieve himself only outdoors. If you live in a large city where you do not have access to a grassy area and have to teach your dog to relieve himself indoors or at a curb of the street, you should refer to a book that teaches this kind of housebreaking.

These techniques apply whether you are trying to housebreak a seven-week-old puppy or an older dog. In some ways it is more difficult to house-break an older dog because it is hard to change an established habit of relieving himself indoors, but an older dog has the advantage of having better control than a young puppy.

We will not be doing any paper-training. It is not necessary and can be very confusing for a dog when the papers are removed.

Dog Potty Training

Dog Potty Training

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