Housebreaking dogs is one of those things that all pet owners have to face and most wish they could somehow avoid. But there is no reason to let the idea of going through the housebreaking period bother you. Whether you're dealing with a puppy or an adult rescue dog, housebreaking is a completely natural process; it doesn't have to be a struggle for you or your dog provided you go about it the right way.
The first thing to remember is that every dog, whether puppy or adult, is naturally conditioned not to eliminate in the place where they live. That's right, they actually don't want to pee in the house, but just like humans, they have no choice but to answer nature's call. So this means that they will let you know when they need to go out. It's up to you to play your part in training by paying attention and heeding these signals as quickly as possible.
The other thing that applies to dogs of all ages is that they learn best through positive reinforcement. When housebreaking dogs you need to let them know what is acceptable behavior by praising and rewarding them when they do their business outside. A pat and a word of encouragement can reinforce that behavior. Adding a treat into the mix won't hurt either.
On the flip side, even though the housebreaking process can be stressful, getting all worked up if they have an accident in the house isn't going to help matters. Rather than teaching them that you don't want them going in the house, yelling at them when they do will just cause them to form a negative connection to their bodily functions. This can become confusing and just lead to more bad behavior.
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Housetraining dogs goes much smoother with a positive approach.
Aside from attitude, consistency is another extremely important part of housebreaking dogs. Puppies especially have very fast moving digestive systems, so they will need to go very soon after they've eaten. Make sure you get them outside to go quickly and on a regular basis. The more vigilant you are about taking them out, the less likely they are to hold it in and have an accident in the house.
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And finally, dogs of all ages will be drawn to the scent of their own waste and will eliminate in the same place over and over again if they pick up the scent. You can use this to your advantage by taking them to the same place to go each time. But you also need to be very careful if they do have an accident inside and make sure you clean up thoroughly so that they don't have any lingering scent to pick up on.
Of course the process for housebreaking dogs is the same whether you are dealing with a laid back Basset Hound or a rambunctious Australian Shepherd. No matter their personality, all dogs will respond to the same signals from you. So be firm but gentle and be consistent. And if you have an adult rescue dog that is having accidents, take him to the vet to make sure there isn't some underlying physical condition causing the problem.
The most important thing to remember, though, is not to panic. Housebreaking doesn't have to be a hassle if you approach it in the right manner. That way you and your best friend will make it through this rite of passage with minimal stress and a good handle on proper training.
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