23 May Housebreaking Your Dog: Step By Step Process…
Of all the methods there is to housebreak a dog, one of the ways I find most effective is crate training. Many people complain to me how their dog simply won’t learn to go outside so here’s a simple 3 part process I use that can get even the worst dogs house trained in 2 weeks or less. I call it the “House Training Triangle.” This method is very easy and effective if followed correctly. The reason I like this system is because it teaches the dog to hold it and understand what they’re doing right when they do go outside. Many people don’t use crates when housebreaking and just take their dog out every hour which is totally fine if that works for them. I just find that this method prevents accidents in the house. The more accidents your dog has in the house the more that floor smells and the more normal it feels to the dog to mess inside. Furthermore the more accidents they have the more reprimanding they’ll get and you don’t want to start your new dogs life off with too much negativity.
First thing’s first, you’ll need a crate. You don’t want to get one too small because it’ll be uncomfortable. Furthermore you don’t want to get one too big because they’ll walk to one side of the crate, do their business and lay back down on the other side. You goal is to get a crate just a little larger than the dog height, length and width wise. If you’re planning on continuing to use the crate for different reasons after the housebreaking is finished then I’d recommend getting a larger crate with the divider inside. This way you can make the area larger and smaller as needed. Now let’s break down the process on how I do this…
Step 1. Dog sleeps in crate at night. First thing in the morning take the dog out of the crate and go DIRECTLY outside. DO NOT let the dog out and roam even for 10 seconds. They WILL have to go and your floor will be the victim. Nothing worse than starting your day with cleaning pee off your favorite area rug. I’d recommend either picking them up or attaching them to a leash to take them outside. This will ensure they won’t go on your floors on the way out the door. Remember prevention is the goal here.
Step 2. Now you’re outside wait them out and say your command. I say “Get Busy”, you might say something else. Whatever it may be say it every few seconds and simply wait them out. They WILL have to go because they’ve been holding it in that crate. Once you see them doing they’re business repeat the command once more, heavily praise them and give them a treat after. Once they’ve done their business outside (preferably both) they can go back inside the house.
Step 3. Now they’ve done what we want they’ve earned supervised and I mean SUPERVISED free time in the house. This will allow you to quickly catch your dog in the act if they happen to have an accident in the house. If they happen to mess in another room and you find it 2 hours later you may as well just clean it up and let the dog be because reprimanding after the fact is completely pointless. I’d recommend a baby gate to block off other rooms in the house or just simply shut all doors. You don’t want the dog out of your sight for too long or they can quickly find trouble. Big dogs and little dogs require different lengths of free time in the house. Big dogs can stay out for much longer as they can hold it for longer. Smaller dogs need quicker turnarounds so maybe 1-2 hours free time at first with a smaller dog and 2-3 hours for larger dogs. After they get their free time in the house we put them back in the crate for about the same amount of time as their free time. If they got 2 hours free time then we put them back in the crate for the same length of time.
Notice they’re right back in the crate where they started hence the term “House Training Triangle.” This is the 3 part process that’s repeated throughout the day for the next couple of weeks. They go from the: Crate to the Outside to the Free Time in House. There are several tweaks you’ll make in this process over the next 2 weeks. Every day your goal is to eliminate a little crate time and add a little free time in the house. So on day 1 if they spent 3 hours in the crate and 3 hours free time in the house you’ll take off 15 minutes in the crate the next day and add that to free time. By the end of the 2 weeks your dog should be spending 30 minutes in that crate and 5-6 hours free time in the house till eventually the crate is eliminated completely. Another thing I’d recommend is to feed them in the crate about 10 minutes before you take them outside to do their business. Much like us their systems get moving pretty quickly after they eat and if timed correctly you can save yourself a lot of cleanup.
And one more thing to keep in mind is to give the dog something fun to do in the crate. Toys, chews, comfortable blankets etc. The crate isn’t supposed to be a dungeon, but a place to learn and have a positive experience. Everything I teach a dog in life I try and give it as positive of an experience as possible because I want them to learn the correct way and look at me as not only a teacher but a friend. Ruff.