How to Housetrain Your Dog
By Ed Frawley

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House training your dog can be one of the most difficult things to teach your dog. Many people will find it a frustrating process but with some research and consistency, you will be able to find that house training can be easier than it seems.

house training your dogSimply taking your dog out in the backyard by himself is not the way to housetraing a dog. Your dog will not understand why he's being taken outside.

As a dog owner, you need to realize that your dog loves rewards. Your dog will enjoy pleasing you because your dog will realize that it equates a good feeling.

So in theory, you simply need to prevent the dog from doing his duties in the house and only give him the opportunity to do it outside. This also means that the dog has to let you know when it needs to go. Since dogs are creatures of habits, it will learn by association. With consistent training, the dog will learn that there is no other place to relieve himself other than outside.

There is a natural instinct of a dog that we can take advantage of: a clean sleeping area. Dogs, by nature, sleep in clean areas that aren't full of dutiful messes. You will need a crate to solve this problem (or an ex-pen if you have a puppy).

The crate will substitute as a dog den. Dogs, as pack animals, prefer the shelter of a den so a crate is the perfect emulation of a den. This becomes his bed that he can't get out of. As the pack leader, you should be in control of where he sleeps. If your dog is just a puppy, we suggest using an Ex-Pen. They will get used to it within a few days.

Some people will think putting your dog in a crate is cruel. However, putting your dog in a crate caters to his natural instincts. A crate provides security. Dogs in the wild will find a place like this to stay secure and protected. Of course, your dog will need exercise so you will have to take him out but keeping him in a cave is like keeping him in his own home.

Now, dogs who aren't used to crates may scream when they're in one. You need to ignore them regardless how much they scream. It is crucial to not take them out of the crate. If you do, they will learn that screaming will let them out of the cave. If it bothers you too much, then put the crate in the basement or garage or even leave the house for a few hours. Your dog will stop once it gets tired.

In ex-pens, small pups will sleep 15-18 hours a day so they will quickly understand that the ex-pen is their area for sleeping.

Keep a plastic bowl of all-natural dog treats near your crate. Every time you put your dog into a crate, give a CRATE command and toss 3 or 4 pieces of a small treat into the crate. It gives the dog a good reason to go in. You will be surprised how quickly they expect to get a treat when they go into the crate. Getting in their crate becomes a positive experience.

Eventually, your dog will start to understand the CRATE command. Starting this exercise is the beginning of teaching them to go to their crate when people come over.

You also need to think about the size of the den for your dog. You need to get one that isn't too big for your dog. If you do, an area of the crate will become its relief station.

Crates are not meant to be used as a place of punishment for the puppy. Some safe toys are absolutely welcome whether it is a kong filled with peanut butter or cream cheese. These will help keep your pup quiet in a crate. Be sure that the toys you choose aren't soft and squeaky or bells. These can be unhealthy for your dog's brain and produce erratic behavior. Additionally, soft toys can get chewed up and stuck in their bowels. This can be fatal for puppies.

Start crate training while you remain in the same room with the crated dog. Praising him frequently lets him know that you like him being quiet in the crate. Additionally, giving him treats when you return after leaving the room will condition him to your comings and goings. He will start to realize that it's still safe to be in the crate while you are not there.

Extend your absent periods. Your dog will get use to your absence without screaming.

Now that you know how to train your dog into a crate, you can start on the potty-training part.

Your dog will need opportunities to do his duties. Take hiim outside at night and praise him immensely when he completes his duties. Once you take him inside, put him in his bed.

If you have a puppy, never let it free access around the house unless your eyes are on the pup. If he poops on the floor, it becomes your mistake because you turned your back on him.

Puppies will need to be out first thing in the morning since they have been holding it in all night. Additionally, they will need to be taken outside after each meal and each exercise. They relieve themselves after sleeping, eating, and having exercise.

Mid-day at around 11, we recommend taking your dog outside too. After dinner time, take him outside. You will need to take him again before bedtime too. Some dogs will need to exercise around before doing their business.

We do not recommend taking your dog out every hour. Your dog will start to think he gets a chance to go outside whenever so when your pattern gets sporadic where you won't be able to take him out, then accidents are bound to happen.

There is one last point to make on housebreaking: their diet. I highly urge against commercial kibble diets. They take 14-15 hours to go through a dog while all-natural food goes through 5-6 hours. You will need to do your research and be sure to give your dog a consistent diet.

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