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House Training and Other Great Dog Training Tips

Updated on August 26, 2013

House training and Crating

How to House Train Your Dog

House Training Basics

Dogs, puppies especially have to go to the bathroom when they wake up, after they eat and when excited like in the middle of play.

Crates can be especially helpful. You usually put them in the crate for 15 to 30 minutes after they have eaten, if you have an unsuccessful trip outside and after drinking water. Have you ever taken your dog outside and they did their business but then came back inside and did it again? This is common the best way to teach your dog to relieve themselves all at once is to crate them for twenty or thirty minutes after you have taken them to go potty. Then take them out to potty once more before turning them loose in the house. Supervision is Very important!! Your puppy is always with you right? Following you everywhere and staying in the same room as you... Anytime I notice my puppy leaving the room or missing from the room I immediately take them outside.

Supervise your dog during free time. Signs that she may need to go out are usually sniffing the ground, acting anxious, whining and hopefully going to the door. If you catch your pet in the act make a loud sound like an EEEH. You know that Mama sound that stops you in your tracks. Take them outside immediately to their spot. It helps greatly to keep your dog confined to one area or room of your house and slowly as house training progresses expand their living area. This is especially helpful when training a puppy to use a pad. If you start off with your puppy having the run of the entire house the odds are it will not learn as quickly to use the puppy pad consistently.

Each time you take your dog outside at first they should be on a leash. Take them to the same spot in the yard, giving the same command ex. Go potty, do your business, etc. You should wait a reasonable amount of time for them to go to the bathroom say five minuets, if they don’t go potty take them back to the crate for 15 to 30 minutes and try again. Taking them on leash to the same area of your yard each time teaches your dog faster what it is they are supposed to be doing out there, not walking; not playing plus the scent of the previous business attracts them to go potty again. After your dog has finished using the bathroom you can turn them loose to play in the yard, take them for a walk etc. Think of it this way if they are simply let out of the house as far as they are concerned it's go play and potty outside and go play and potty in the house! One more great piece of advice, give your dog a treat and praise AFTER they are done with their business. Give them the treat outside not after they have gotten back in the house. If you take your dog or puppy for a walk take them to their area before you leave your house and again BEFORE going back in the house.

Big bonus for you taking them to the same spot each time they need to go out when house training is complete your dog will still go to the same area of your yard to use the bathroom (You won't have to watch for BOMBS, cleaning up the yard will be easy) and if you're in a hurry you won't have to wait around on your dog to go potty they will have learned to go as soon as they go out!

Barking in the Crate

I like to compare barking in the crate to a child throwing a fit for candy in the store. You take your daughter to the store she asks for candy you say no... she gets upset you say no... then give in. The next trip to the store your daughter asks for candy you say no she gets upset you say no... she gets really upset you give in. What your teaching her is that by throwing a fit she gets what she wants Right? Same thing goes for the dog in the crate. NEVER let your dog out of the crate when it is barking or throwing a fit.

There are 4 ways you reward your dog for good and whether you mean to or not bad behavior, Looking at them, Talking to them, Touching them and Giving them treats. When your dog is going about getting you attention or what they want in an inappropriate way you withhold all attention until they behave correctly.

When your dog is barking in the crate don't look, touch or talk to your dog. When they take a brief pause look at them start to move toward the crate if they start barking or pawing against the crate turn around when they stop turn and move toward them again. Your dog will catch on to this that when it barks, paws or acts up it gets the opposite of what it wants. Anytime your dog behaves inappropriately give them the opposite of what they want.

Don’t let your dog out of the crate unless they are calm. Don’t force your dog into the crate. Have the door open tell the dog a command, I tell mine “go in” give them no other option but to willingly walk in. I put a leash on the dog or put my hand and arm out to block a retreat. I don’t push them in or pull on the leash I stay steady and calm until they walk on in. If the dog is scared of the crate don’t put it in and walk off. Gradually work up to that. Get the dog to walk into the crate, shut the door and stay there beside it when the dog is calm open the door and let it out repeat but for slightly longer times. You can drop treats into the crate when the dog is calm also. Let them stay there longer depending upon your dogs tolerance of it. Importantly stay calm when you let your dog out. Getting excited when they come out makes that a big deal and your dog may get separation anxiety.

Separation Anxiety

A dog with separation anxiety should not be put into a crate. Separation anxiety can generally be prevented and cured with this piece of information. Think about this your dog is home alone all day and when you come home it’s the highlight of their day!! It is of course the highlight of our day too!

However, if you have kids you know daycare teachers and Elementary School teachers say not to make a big deal when it's time for you to leave your children and your kids will adjust to the separation faster with less anxiety. The cure for separation anxiety with your dog is very similar, don’t make a big deal about leaving and when you get home ignore your dogs until they are calm. That is a hard one. It’s a hard thing to do and it’s a hard thing to suggest you do this but this is what it takes. Your coming home is the highlight of their day and that’s what they think about all day. If you act like it’s no big deal your dog will too. Not that they won’t miss you it just won’t be as bad when you're gone.

Teaching your dog to signal.

To teach your dog to go to the door as a signal to go out, have your dog sit at the door each time before you open it for them. After a couple of days stop asking your dog to sit, wait patiently at the door and see if they caught on by sitting without being told. Any time during this process that your dog wanders over to the door unprovoked have them sit at the door briefly and take them outside. It can be hard to train a dog to use a back door when you don’t know they are at the door or can’t see them sitting there. In that case you can do the same thing only for example each time before you take your dog out ask it to sit at your feet or in a designated highly visible place in your home to signal you to take them outside.

Another useful signal to teach your dog is to ring a bell. If you have a large house and your bell is hung on the door you may not be able to hear it! Hang the bells anywhere in your house where you will notice them ringing. Christmas bells, any old bell hung from a string at your dogs’ level, they should be able to paw it. Each time before you take your dog outside you ring the bell. Do NOT force your dog do it. Your dog will not catch on quickly if you make it ring the bell. I will teach you the touch command and you can use that to help teach your dog to ring the bell to go outside or you can usually just hold the bells out and most dogs will touch their nose to it automatically out of curiosity. If they do say good or lots of praise! And take them outside immediately.

If your dog barks in the house and you need to control this you can make that your dogs signal to go outJ (I wouldn’t try this with a dog that barks incessantly). Each time your dog barks take them outside if they don’t go put them in the crate. Same thing can be done for whining.

If you teach your dog to speak or bark on command have them do that each time before you take them outside. Use caution teaching your dog to speak! I have met people whose dogs follow them around the house barking at them. If you have a problem with your dog barking for attention give them the opposite of what they want and they will stop. For example your dog is barking don’t look at them, talk to them or touch them. As soon as they stop you look if they bark pretend they disappeared, when they quit look back…. It works.

One of my dogs ( Albert or I prefer to call him Fat Albert, Alberto or French pronounced Albear).  He has a golden retriever color on Pyrenees hair with a bulldog body type and  overbite.
One of my dogs ( Albert or I prefer to call him Fat Albert, Alberto or French pronounced Albear). He has a golden retriever color on Pyrenees hair with a bulldog body type and overbite.

Dog Training Tips

If your dog has a favorite spot in your home to go potty leave food for your dog in that area. Your dog will associate that area as a place for eating and will stop using that area as a restroom. After successfully reclaiming that area as part of your home continue with the other areas. You can also place their bed in those places where they like to use the bathroom and achieve the same result.

When your dog has an accident in the house clean it up with an enzymatic cleaner! Never use anything with ammonia to clean up after your dog. Ammonia attracts them to go to the bathroom.

If you don't have a crate keeping your dog confined to a small room during the times he would be in the crate can work just as well. I used my small bathroom as a holding place. However some dogs have been known to dig at the floor and chew on the door frames so just like with the crate don't leave your dog in the bathroom or elsewhere if they are scared.

Keep an eye on your dog when housetraining. It’s easy to miss signals. When you see them leave the room often it’s to…. If you’re busy try tethering your dog to you with a long leash this really helps when you’re focused on something like the TV, Computer, dishes etc.

After house training some crafty dogs will start giving you the signal to go out when they want to go play. To stop this start taking them out on a leash again, a few days of that should discourage them from taking advantage of the signal.

I really hope this helped you out if you need further assistance with these issues don’t hesitate to contact me at Petco!


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    • Laura Matkin profile image

      Laura Matkin 3 years ago from Laceys Spring, Alabama

      Thank you Lizolivia!

    • Lizolivia profile image

      Lizolivia 3 years ago from Central USA

      Very useful hub with great tips I'll be putting into practice, thanks!

    • Laura Matkin profile image

      Laura Matkin 6 years ago from Laceys Spring, Alabama

      Thank you! Your very welcome woodamarc!

    • woodamarc profile image

      Marc Woodard 6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Good tips. We've had dogs for many years. I've never used a crate, but now feel if I had to I now have an ideal on how to do that without creating anxiety. Thanks!

    • Laura Matkin profile image

      Laura Matkin 6 years ago from Laceys Spring, Alabama

      That has been so helpful for some people. If you don't see your dog they are out of luck! Thank you Cardozo7

    • Cardozo7 profile image

      Cardozo7 6 years ago from Portugal

      That bell tip is great, haven't thought of that!My dog just sits next to the door but the bell would been easier.Good tip, hoping to read more hub on this topic

    • Laura Matkin profile image

      Laura Matkin 6 years ago from Laceys Spring, Alabama

      That would have been so cute to see! Thank you, it's good to be here!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Lots of good training tips in this article. I hadn't thought about hanging a bell for them ring. Our dogs seem to train newcomers to the rules of the house. We were fortunate with our latest adoption that our 12 year old Cookie showed him the ropes, even teaching him how to come down the stairs once he got up there and was confused. She ran up and then walked down to show him. It was adorable to watch. Welcome to HubPages!

    • profile image

      Crystar 6 years ago

      Squirrels and rabbits? Yeah maybe hehehe. Thank you so much Laura.

    • Laura Matkin profile image

      Laura Matkin 6 years ago from Laceys Spring, Alabama

      Thank you, Crystar I am so glad you liked my Hub! Some dogs like staying in high places to keep a lookout. I know the Pyrenees breed does this, they lay on the highest point in the pasture. My dog Albert likes to stay on the hill in our yard, I think it's because he has the best view from there. All of my other dogs prefer to stay closer to the house. Maybe your cousins dog is keeping watch hoping something interesting will happen or watching the birds and hoping to see squirrels and rabbits:) lol. Sometimes it's hard to tell just what they are thinking. Thank you for asking, I love to talk about dogs!

    • profile image

      Crystar 6 years ago

      This is very interesting and useful. Thank you for the wonderful tips. Just curious. My cousin's dog likes to stand on the couch and look out of the window. Why is that so?

    • Laura Matkin profile image

      Laura Matkin 6 years ago from Laceys Spring, Alabama

      Thank you Peggy I really like being here! I have learned so much from Hub pages.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      You have given good advice for people wishing to train their dogs, housebreak them, etc. Welcome to HubPages! We are animal lovers and at the current time have one dog and two cats. We have had as many as 3 dogs at one time. They are like our babies / children. We love them!

    • Laura Matkin profile image

      Laura Matkin 6 years ago from Laceys Spring, Alabama

      We can't know everything don't feel bad. Out of curiosity, did he come from a dirty place, or was his crate to big?

    • davenstan profile image

      Katina Davenport 6 years ago

      I didn't know that was the reason he continued to use the bathroom in his crate. If I had known that I could have given him some help.

    • Laura Matkin profile image

      Laura Matkin 6 years ago from Laceys Spring, Alabama

      Oh I am so sorry, he sounds like a good dog. One thing to watch for when you get your next dog. Puppies that are not kept in clean environments will use the bathroom in their crates. That is often a problem with pups and dogs from mills or dirty kennels. If the crate is to large that can happen too. I wish we had met then, if you get a new dog or puppy in the future and need any training advice ask me! I am very happy to help.

    • davenstan profile image

      Katina Davenport 6 years ago

      I had a beagle a couple of years ago. He had the hardest time training or maybe I should say I had the hardest time training him. I did crate training and he still went in there. He would feel bad when he pooped or peed in the crate and would cry so he could get out. All the advice in the world did not work, but I loved him to death. When he died I cried like a baby. He was like a son. My 4 year old still talks about him because he is apart of our family photos. I know this can help my mom out. Great information.

    • Laura Matkin profile image

      Laura Matkin 6 years ago from Laceys Spring, Alabama

      Thank you funnyfarm and Lastheart! I love the hub I have learned so much already. I wish I had found this sooner what an awesome place to learn new things and grow through other peoples experiences. I am so glad y'all found my article helpful!

    • Lastheart profile image

      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 6 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      Thanks for sharing this information...I love animals in general but right now my empty nest is filled with the love of our dog, it is just like our own son. Welcome to HubPages.

    • funnyfarm profile image

      funnyfarm 6 years ago from Arkansas

      I've never heard of the bell idea before. It's great! We've always had a pet door for our guys and the older dogs helped with potty training. We don't have that now and had given up because of the thought of all that training. Thanks for your hub it's so helpful.

    • Laura Matkin profile image

      Laura Matkin 6 years ago from Laceys Spring, Alabama

      Your Welcome! I love dogs too

    • santhosh8611 profile image

      R K SANTHOSH 6 years ago from Bangalore

      i love dogs so so so much.....thank you for your beautiful hub..i loved it

    • santhosh8611 profile image

      R K SANTHOSH 6 years ago from Bangalore

      i love dogs so so so much.....thank you for your beautiful hub..i loved it

    • Laura Matkin profile image

      Laura Matkin 6 years ago from Laceys Spring, Alabama

      Thank You! Me too.

    • WD Curry 111 profile image

      WD Curry 111 6 years ago from Space Coast

      I loved tis hub. I love dogs!

    • My Minds Eye53 profile image

      My Minds Eye53 6 years ago from Tennessee

      Welcome to Hub Pages!

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 6 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      This was great and very informative! At one time in my life I trained dogs, too. But I did it for fun and never professionally. After living with four or five (at least) dogs at a time, we are now down to one very spoiled Pug. And he is the best dog in the world!

      Welcome to HubPages - can't wait to read more from you!

    • Laura Matkin profile image

      Laura Matkin 6 years ago from Laceys Spring, Alabama

      Thank You for your comment Susan. I love Newfoundlands (and every other dog on the planet) I have had so much fun training with that breed before your post brought back memories. They have loads of personality!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      We placed a bell beside the door and taught our Newfoundland dogs to ring it when they want to go outside. Enjoyed your hub and wanted to say Welcome to HubPages.

    • Cat R profile image

      Cat R 6 years ago from North Carolina, U.S.

      Great article! Lots of good info!

    • profile image

      Laura Matkin 6 years ago

      Jackie I am so sorry, that's a common problem and actually the reason i wrote this article first. House training is the most frustrating part of training! I am very happy to help:)

    • Laura Matkin profile image

      Laura Matkin 6 years ago from Laceys Spring, Alabama

      I am glad the crate helped you! They can be great tools but if a dog is very stressed out they can hurt themselves. I have seen it before. Dog destroyed the crate and bloodied themselves in the process, usually if the dog has been yours it's whole life you know what's safe the incidents I am talking about happened with dogs adopted from shelters. Anyway that's why it's not recommended to crate a dog with separation anxiety.

    • Ms57Classic profile image

      Cheryl Wright 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      When I read the part of your hub titled Separation Anxiety I immediately thought of a Rottie I had years ago. Every time he was left alone downstairs, even if we were all upstairs, he would be destructive! He ruined at least 3 couches, ripped several books, even ate my income tax check one year. A crate was suggested and it did help!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 6 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Great hub. I had a puppy I adored but after six months had to give her away. I found out after awhile about the blue papers and she would go there to poop but she went on peeing were she pleased. I have had cats for years and the one now is 17 and none ever used the bathroom in the house and do not use a litter box either, just trained to outside. I plan to get a puppy once my cat passes on (if she ever does, lol (J/K))so I will bookmark this.

      I guess puppies are just different. Thanks!


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