Housetraining is the single most important issue that can make or break the relationship you have with your dog or puppy, so a lot of time will be spent on this chapter. Countless dogs have been abandoned to shelters simply because their owners did not know how to properly housetrain them. To avoid such distress, housetraining is a process that must be followed meticulously, with the right products, and with lots of patience and praise.
There are essentially two housetraining methods – indoors and outdoors. Many dog owners want to be able to regulate the time and place of their dog’s bathroom needs. Housetraining has become a common practice for several reasons. For one, smaller dog breeds have become very popular, and their indoor waste is totally manageable, and indeed less pungent than cat waste. Smaller breeds now outnumber larger dogs, and this trend is accelerating as more people are giving their pets the humane option of eliminating at home. Two, there are now many new products not just to help in housetraining but to help control excessive waste odors. Our dogs are an integral part of our homes, yet they often do not have their own potty quarters. The WizdogTM Indoor Potty is a revolutionary new product that addresses just that – it keeps paws squeaky clean and is a breeze to clean!
1. Understanding your dog’s behavior
Bathroom needs may vary amongst breeds, and puppies have different needs from adult dogs. (Remember, puppies do not have full control of their potty urges until they are at least 10-12 weeks old). Most dogs feel an urge to mark their territory. This is their nature. The best option is to have a dog that is trained to go both inside and outside. This is the most practical and humane training solution. Your male puppy will begin to lift his leg between the age of five and nine months, a sign of the activation of his sexual drive and instinct to “mark” territory.
This is a perfect age to neuter your dog and avoid the unwanted behaviors that accompany sexual maturity – marking in inappropriate places, fighting and aggression toward other male dogs. Also if properly trained on a WizdogTM Indoor Potty at home, your male dog should be able to properly “crouch” on it in adulthood. Non-neutered males will mark any upright object and are especially hard on furniture and walls or herb gardens. Some males will also mark inside the house, particularly if another dog comes to visit or if you’re visiting in someone else’s home. If you use your male for breeding, you can expect this behavior to get worse. Neutering your dog will protect his health, help him to live longer and be a better pet along with improving his house manners.
2. Indoor Training
For Senior citizens, mobility-impaired people, or people who live in high-rise apartment buildings, taking your dog or puppy out for a walk is not always an easy option. Sometimes you are not in control of your schedule and can be late for the evening walk. Or sometimes you may want to sleep in for an extra 45 minutes. Regardless of the reason, you want to give your dog the option to choose, so you do not have to worry about it all the time. Thus indoor training requires you to teach your dog or puppy to eliminate in a particular location inside your home.
The WizdogTM Indoor Potty is the only product that truly addresses all issues of sanitary housetraining, including wet paws and tracking. WizdogTM also happens to be the cheapest and cleanest solution as well. Recently dog litter products have appeared in pet stores at exorbitant cost and effort. Litter refill is expensive, bulky, and not practical to store or restock. Some consumers have reported dogs eating the litter pellets. Further, dogs tend to kick after eliminating, making litter a potentially very messy option. Dog litter is essentially the same as paper training with newspapers, which are free and easier to dispose of (see chapter below for product comparison).
The location of the WizdogTM Indoor Potty must be carefully selected. It has to be inside the confined or gated area, but as far away from the feeding and bedding areas as possible. The “capture” of a few drops of urine on a paper towel to place inside the Wizdog TM will indicate to your puppy that you want him to eliminate in that particular location. Your dog or puppy may “miss” the housetraining area during the first few sessions. This is normal, and despite the mess left behind, you should give lots of praise while placing him on the Wizdog TM. It is important that your dog or puppy associates the potty with the act of elimination, and not an act of misbehavior.
Always leave a small amount of urine-scented paper towel on the tray until the training is complete. If you catch your dog or puppy in the act or if you see him sniff around nervously, immediately grab his attention and place him on the Indoor Potty while giving lots of praise. Never use punishment as it would confuse and delay the training process. Remember that puppies do not have full control until they are about 10 weeks old. Pay particular attention when they wake up from their nap, after vigorous exercise, and within 30 minutes after eating and/or drinking. Don’t let him out of his gated area unless you can watch him every single second. In case of an “accident” only get angry at yourself for giving him a chance at committing an accident.
3. Outdoor Training
Outdoor training is about teaching your dog to only eliminate outside your home. Many people however believe that all dogs should be taught to have both indoor and outdoor options. Furthermore, all puppies should be confined to a home area until their vaccination is complete. But for now, we will talk about outdoor only.
There are two situations: either your dog learns to go outside on his own when the need to eliminate emerges (depending on your housing situation – i.e. free access to a gated yard). Or it learns to hold it until his scheduled time to be taken out. If outdoor training is the only option, then you need to seriously consider crating (see below). Outdoor training does not need to be complicated if crating instructions are properly followed, but it does require your time and attention. If you plan on taking your dog out on a leash, you may want to consider teaching him peeing-on-command (see below for training instructions).
If you’re planning to housetrain your puppy indoors, then you do not really need a crate. But if you want your dog to be trained strictly for the outdoors, you may want to seriously consider crate-training. dogs are unlikely to eliminate in their private quarters, a crate will teach your puppy to hold on. One advantage of the crate is that it does not have to stay in one location. It can be taken from room to room, and from the city to the suburbs in the backseat of your car. But crates are not for all dogs. Your puppy may react negatively and soil the crate repeatedly. Or you may not be able to bear watching them whine and get restless in their crate.
Crate-training requires careful timing on your part. Ensure that you can hold to the schedule as it would be cruel to leave any dog or puppy in a crate longer than it should. Never use a crate as a form of punishment, or the dog will associate negative feelings with it. Create a warm and inviting space for your dog so that he will want to use it.
Inside The Crate
You may at first try inviting the dog into his crate and leaving the door open. This way, he will not feel trapped. Then, begin leaving him locked in for short periods of time while you are in the house, praising him for calm quiet behavior inside the crate. Increase the amount of time he is left in there until he is comfortable with staying in for long periods of time. Then, you will likely find that if you leave the door open when the dog does not need to be confined, your dog actually prefers at times to be in the crate because it is “his” space. You can also add a small blanket or towel to increase the desirability of the space.
5. Peeing on Demand
Take your dog for a walk on a leash. When you are sure your dog is just about to go, say your command word (like “pee-pee”), he pees, and just as he finishes, you tell him how incredible he is, essentially communicating to him that peeing when you tell him to is the greatest thing in the world (timing is essential here, and you do not want to miss a second – try to say the word several times as it is still eliminating). If you are patient vigilant about this method, it won’t be long before he will pee on command – rain or shine.
6. Housetraining Adult Dogs
Housetraining an adult dog requires a lot of patience and focus on your part. You may need to try several different approaches. The first obvious one is to place the indoor potty in the proper location in your home and place a “captured” urine paper towel in it. Keep your dog confined in the same area, and give lots of praise when it approaches and expresses curiosity to the potty.
If your dog is already trained to pee-on-command, then when the time comes, place him on the WizdogTM and issue the command word. Another approach is to use newspapers every time you take your dog out and place them under your dog when he is about to eliminate. Place the same type of newspaper in the confined area, again with a small capture of a urine-soaked paper towel. Use lots of praise!
Expect to clean up constantly after your puppy during the first weeks (the use of a Wizdog TM Indoor Potty will keep you from constantly cleaning the floors and your puppy’s paws). Puppies need to eat and drink often and therefore defecate and urinate more often than grown dogs. Even if you choose to crate your dog, you will likely have “accidents” in the crate in the initial stages, especially when your puppy is going through the separation trauma. Never use harsh chemicals. A gentle soap is often all that is required. Should you have an “accident” on the antique Oriental rug or on the couch, never use ammonia-based chemicals.
Products for Cleaning
There are many products on the market that claim to properly clean and remove odors, but often time water and vinegar soak overnight, followed by a mild detergent cleaning should do the job. It is however very important that the accident is properly cleaned up so that there is absolutely no odor residue left. Any odor residue from previous urination or defecation will attract your puppy to the same spot in the future.
Avoid dog litter. Dog litter can be messy, especially since your dog or puppy can kick the pellets out of the litter box. And saggy litter pellets are not something that people enjoy cleaning up. Training pads can be practical in the short term, but continuous use will take its toll on our ecology (and your wallet) and take more landfill space.
Cleaning up after an accident requires special attention depending on where the accident occurs. If you have followed these instructions carefully and have confined your puppy, then accidents should only occur in the confined area, if at all, and only in the first few weeks.
8. Housetraining Products
Praise can never be emphasized enough. Even if you have to make a total fool of yourself in front of strangers, make sure that your dog or puppy understands that you are very pleased with its good deeds – look and sound very happy! You can never praise enough. Also, consider giving treats often during training sessions. Never reprimand a dog or puppy. This only confuses them and creates unnecessary stress, which in turn paralyzes them from further training.