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There's no such thing as an almost housebroken dog. Either he is or he isn't. When a dog is housebroken he never uses the house for his toilet. Many people do not understand why their dog does not know what to do when taken outside. Merely taking him outside does not mean he knows what he's being taken outside for. The biggest problem between the dog and the owner is that the dog would love to please but he doesn't know how to communicate with him.

Housebreaking in theory is very simple. It is finding a means of preventing the puppy from doing his duties in the house and giving him only an opportunity to do it outside. A dog is a strong creature of habit and because he learns by association, he will soon know there is no other place to relieve himself but the great outdoors. We take advantage of a very natural instinct of the dog - his desire to keep his sleeping quarters clean - i.e. not to mess his bed. If we can devise a bed that he cannot get out of - then presto - he is going to stay clean.  Dogs are and always have been den and pack animals. Canines naturally and instinctively prefer the shelter of a den.  In the wild the young are raised in dens. In homes, dogs often choose a den-like spot behind the couch or under a table or chair.  The crate is a perfect, natural bed for the dog and a safe, natural spot to place the pet whenever necessary for the dog's safety or the owner's peace of mind.  If you are appalled by the idea of confining him to a cage, let me dispel any idea of cruelty. You are actually catering to a very natural desire on the part of the dog.  In his wild state, where does a dog bed down for the night? Does he lie down in the middle of an open field where other animals can pounce on him? No! He finds a cave or trunk of a tree where he has a feeling of security - a sense of protection. The correct use of a crate merely satisfies the dog's basic need to feel safe, protected, snug and secure.

When thinking of the size of crate needed for your dog, think small. Think den not condo! The use of too large a crate for a puppy will encourage the pet to use a small portion of it for a bed and the remainder as a relief station! The puppy should only be allowed to relieve itself out of doors. So place the crate overnight in the bedroom of the person who will be responsible for that early morning trip. The kids in the family should go for that! A crate is never meant to be used as a place of punishment for the puppy, so a couple of safe toys would be welcome for crate-time. The size of the crate is important. A crate should be large enough for a dog to lie down comfortably, but no larger. Start crate training while you remain in the same room with the crated dog, frequently praising him and letting him know clearly it is pleasing to you that he remains in the crate, quietly. Frequent trips out of the room with quick returns condition the dog to your comings and goings. Gradually extend your absent periods, and in a short time, you can be gone several hours. While in the crate, the dog should not be scolded except for chewing on the wires or noisy, unruly behavior. Crate confinement works so well that most dogs soon choose the crate for naps and, in general, consider it their own private domain.

We'll start with the last thing at night. Bedtime for the puppy. Take the puppy out and give him an opportunity to do his duties if possible, and if you are in a protected area let him go free of the leash. Be sure to praise him when he has completed his duties. Take him inside at once and put him in his bed.

First thing in the morning (and I mean first thing) take the dog outside. He's been clean all night - and holding it all night - he should do his duty in a hurry. Now bring him in and give him freedom, but in the kitchen only. A child's gate at the kitchen doorway is an excellent barrier to the other rooms in the house. Give him his freedom while breakfast is being prepared and while you are eating breakfast. After your breakfast, and when you have time to take him out, feed him his breakfast - and take him out immediately. Remember the rule - outside after each meal. Now bring him in and put him in his crate and go about your normal routine of the morning. He should stay in the crate until about 11:00 to 11:30 A.M. Then out of the crate and outside. Bring him in, and while you are preparing and eating lunch let him have the freedom of the kitchen only, for an hour or two. Follow this with a quick trip outside. Then back in and into the crate until 4:00 or 4:30 P.M.

It is now time to feed him his dinner. As soon as he has finished his last mouthful - take him outside. After he has completed his duties, bring him in and again give him the freedom of the kitchen while you are preparing dinner and during the dinner hour. Give him another trip outside about 8:00 P.M. - and again just before your bedtime.

1. Do not vary your dog's diet.

2. Snacks or treats are forbidden.

If he does not relieve himself, confine him to the crate. He will soon understand what is expected of him. A long walk before and after he has relieved himself will destroy his understanding of why he is being taken outside. (Plan a separate exercise period and a separate obedience training period.)

Using An Odor Neutralizer And Indoor Spray Repellent

The second phase of housebreaking is getting rid of the dog's past urinary and excretory odors from the house. This is accomplished with an odor neutralizer, which is available in pet stores. (Do not use household cleaners as they contain ammonia and will attract him back to the same spot.) When used properly it will completely eliminate these odors, discerned only by the dog, by neutralizing the scent. When areas previously used by the dog have been neutralized the incentive for using the same spot will be eliminated. Then spray the area that has been soiled with an indoor pet spray repellent.

Proper Correction

The final phase of housebreaking is the technique for correction. Under no circumstances should the puppy be punished for relieving himself in the house, unless you catch him in the act. The puppy has no mental capacity to connect your wrath with whatever he did wrong, even a few minutes earlier. It is confusing to him and you get only a puzzled whimper. Catch him in the act or correction is no good.

When the dog messes in the house in front of you there is a proper way to correct him. Do not rub his face in it. Run over and grab him by the scruff of the neck and shake him. This is exactly what his mother did when he did something wrong. This should be accompanied with a harsh NO. Immediately take him outside to finish what he started. This is the only way you can show him what you want. You are catching him in the act, stopping him, taking him outside and then giving him tremendous praise when he finishes.

Many people are mistakenly convinced that a dog messes in the house for spite or revenge, usually for having been left alone. This is incorrect. It is for reasons of anxiety, nervousness or fear that he behaves this way...or simply that he is not properly housebroken. Very often the owner comes home and finds the dog behaving in a fearful, shameful, or generally guilt-ridden manner. It is because of this that the owner is convinced the dog has messed in the house for spite. It's simply not true. The dog cringes when you come home because he associates your arrival with punishment. Some people question me about pups that are very young wanting to go out every couple of hours. This can happen when the pups are under 12 to 14 weeks. There are a couple of things to keep in mind.:

Are you picking the water up at 6:30?  Are you giving the pup enough exercise to make it tired before it goes to bed?  Are you putting the pup in the crate at times other than bedtime. The pup needs to learn that it must go in the crate and calms down. This is accomplished during daily crate training session. If you are convinced the pup just wants to come out and play after a few hours , then ignore it. If there is a mess in the crate later on - then YOU MADE A MISTAKE - not the dog. If the pup makes too much noise - move the crate into the basement or garage with a radio on.

Let me say a few words about "paper breaking", or should I say against it. As I said before, a dog learns by association and if you allow him to do his duties in the house on paper you are telling him in effect that it is all right to do it within the four walls of the house. You are making this association in his mind -so later when you expect him to do his duties outside, he may think you are a little crazy and you can't blame him. Any healthy pup 8 weeks of age or older, even in cold weather, can go outside. Of course you don't leave him out long enough to get chilled. You take him out just long enough to do his duties.  With a little effort on your part and the use of this method the puppy can be housebroken virtually overnight.

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