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Housebreaking Your Dog - The Correction

May 20, 2008
Housebreaking Correction

If the dog has a mistake, try to understand the reason. Was it too much excitement? Does he go only 15 minutes after eating instead of the normal 30? By correcting the reason for the mistake, training can proceed much faster and you can limit the number of mistakes he makes.

Remember the word is 'correction' not 'punishment'. Be careful with your corrections. If you correct too little, it won't work. If you correct too much, you will create a fearful timid dog instead of the loving companion you crave. Each dog is an individual. Learn to adapt to your dog as he adapts to you.

Acts such as rubbing your dog's nose in its waste is humiliating and confusing to the dog and therefore counter productive. Never punish your dog for eliminating in the wrong place, as this could cause problems such as submissive urination. Spanking can cause a dog to learn to hide his mistakes in a place you won't find until much later, and you will miss these opportunities to correct him and further his training.

If you catch your dog in the act, stay calm. Say 'NO' in a loud voice while you pick up the dog or take him immediately outside to the elimination area. When you get him to the elimination area use the command word you've chosen for elimination. Praise him when he finishes the job. Leave him out a few more minutes to make sure he's done before bringing him back in.

Any punishments such as rubbing his nose in his waste, smacking with newspapers, yelling, beating or slapping only confuse and scare the dog. If you find an older accident, don't bother to try to correct the dog. Dogs cannot connect a past action with present anger and he won't understand what you are correcting him for. He might act guilty, but this is only because he knows you're upset. He doesn't know why you are upset.

Health problems, changes in diet and new situations such as moving to a new home, or adding a new pet or family member can cause a temporary lapse in housebreaking. If you make a change in dog food, do it gradually by mixing a little of the new food with the old, gradually increasing the amount of new food every day. A sudden change of water can cause digestive problems too. If you're moving or traveling, take along a couple gallons of water from home to mix with the new. Distilled water from the grocery store can also be used.

Verbal correction can be enhanced with a shake can (a can or bottle filled with pennies or other objects to make noise) if you feel one is needed. Expect your puppy to have a few accidents in the house--it's a normal part of housebreaking. It's extremely important that you use the supervision and confinement procedures outlined above to minimize the number of accidents. If you allow your puppy to eliminate frequently in the house, he'll get confused about where he's supposed to eliminate, which will prolong the housebreaking process.
About the Author
Wayne Kostencki is a dog lover. He has owned or lived with dogs since he was a small child. During that time, Wayne has struggled to learn how to not just train his pets, but to be able to enjoy them as companions. Wayne has formulated common sense training techniques that anyone can use. You can find more information on his website, www.averagemansguides.com
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