Elimination Problems - Dogs
Puppy, adopt, child, schedule, diet, gastrointestinal, neurologic, urinary tract, infection, train, housebroken, puppy pads, odor
Elimination Problems - Dogs
Most elimination problems in dogs involve puppies or newly adopted adult dogs who had been in a shelter or in a boarding environment. Occasionally, even well trained adult dogs can revert to having house training mistakes after certain behavioral issues or stresses, such as the introduction of a new pet, or even a new child into the house, or scheduling changes. Other reasons may be more medical such as diet changes, gastrointestinal disease, neurologic problems, or urinary tract diseases.
Obviously, to solve the elimination problems related to the behavior or medical issues, the underlying problems need to be accurately diagnosed and treated first. Most often, once this is done, the elimination problems will resolve.
For the true housetraining problems in puppies and newly adopted dogs, solving the problem will take a few things-- vigilant supervision, persistence, patience, a good sense of humor and an excellent bottle of odor neutralizer.
How long will it take to house train your dog or puppy? Well, every one is different, and some are easier to train than others, but it can be done. And remember, a dog is either house trained or not. If he or she continues to have an occasional accident, there's still more house-training to do. Keep at it.
It is important to grasp some of the basics of canine instincts and physiology in order to better understand how to teach your dog to eliminate where you want it to go.
By nature, dogs are denning animals, so, instinctively, they strive to keep their confined living spaces clean, and desire not to eliminate where they lived unless they had no alternative. Your puppy needs to learn that your house is its den. Confining your pup to a pen or crate can help to expedite the training process. You shouldn't allow your dog to roam freely in the home until it is completely trained. Before you confine your pup to its crate or pen, be sure to take it outside, stay with it until it until eliminates, and then praise it lavishly. When your pup is out of its crate, be sure to always keep your eye on it. Accidents can happen in a heartbeat.
For pet shop puppies or shelter rescues, who have been living in their "crates" without being walked every few hours, the charm of this small confinement may be lost. For these pets, I recommend confining them to a larger space covered with paper or pads allowing them to eliminate if necessary. But still, as with crating, take them out as often as possible and shower them with praise when they perform.
It will be necessary to learn your puppy's elimination patterns. Most pups will need to evacuate within an hour of eating or awakening. Some dogs will literally walk themselves to the door and ask to be let out. Others will start to sniff around, while some will sneak off to a corner. Be cognizant of your dog's cues. To avoid accidents, get in the habit of taking the pup outside after it wakes up, after it eats, and after it plays. You will be spending a lot of time outside. Remember, this is not play time- it's business. Once your pup has taken care of business, let it know how pleased you are. You can even give it a small treat. Dogs love to please their masters, and they love treats, so pretty soon they'll catch on to what is expected.
Physiologically, a puppy can only hold it for so long. The general rule of thumb is one hour more than their age in months, so a 3 month old pup should be able to hang in there for 4 hours. If you're at work or out shopping for an extended period of time, your dog may not be able to control itself until you return. Enlist the aid of friends or neighbors to let the pup out during your absence.
Want to increase the chances that you and your puppy will be sleeping through the night? Make the last of its 2 or 3 daily meals occur approximately 3 to 5 hours before retiring. Always let the pup out one more time just before you go to bed.
Accidents will happen. When they do, you do not want to rub its nose in the mistake and reprimand him. Harsh punishment may actually make matters worse because it may send the wrong message. The pup may now think that he was being punished for the act of elimination-not the poor choice of location. If this happens, he may not want to eliminate on his next walk in front of you for fear that he'll be reprimanded again. Actually, the one at fault is you for not reading the signs or not supervising your puppy well enough. When accidents occur, just clean the mess, use your odor neutralizer, and resolve to try harder the next time.