You may never get your dog to clean up his own poop, but short of that, there are products you can buy and steps you can take to make house-breaking less painful than it appears.
Housebreaking may seem daunting to a first time dog owner, but it's not as hard as it initially seems. There are some great products to help you provide training for your pup, no matter her age.
The products you need should be purchased and set up before you bring your pup home.
Most dog potty training begins in a special area that is your dog's alone. It could be a small room, like a laundry room, particularly one that doesn't include anything that your dog might ruin by chewing or peeing on.
Recommended Potty Training Aids
Personally, I prefer keeping a puppy or a new adult dog in a large, 8-panel pen, like the one from Midwest Exercise Pen (below). I particularly like this model because it has a full length door, so that when you open it, neither you nor your dog have to step over anything.
Midwest Exercise Pen (can be used outdoors too!)
If you have room in your home for an "exercise pen" that is large enough for your dog to feel comfortable for a few hours at a time, the pen is a great solution (but don't count on your dog getting a lot of exercise in an "exercise pen.") Cover the floor of the pen with plenty of Four Paws Wee Wee Pads so the floor or rug beneath them will not get soiled. You can still add a pillow and a few toys and water, for sure. Don't deny your dog water, just because you are house training her!
Your dog's meals should be served inside the crate as well, but remove her food bowl after she eats.
If you want to add a crate to your dog's exercise pen, you can attach each end of the exercise pen to the crate on both sides. If you do this, your dog can use the crate for her bed and have a larger space just to play (and pee, if she needs to). It would set up like this:
PTPA Playpen needs some comfy blankets, toys, and Wee-Wee Pads
The advantage of the exercise pen setup is that you can set it up in a family room or living area where other members of your family tend to hang-out. That way your dog can observe your every day behavior and you can interact with him periodically. This setup allows you to interact with your dog regularly and gives your dog a hint of how things will be later, after he's housebroken.
I used the above set-up for my adopted dog who was five years old when he came home with me and was never even in a house before, never mind house broken. What I did was use plenty of Four Paw Wee-Wee Pads to cover the floor of the pen.
These Wee-Wee Pads are the best! The image below highlights the critical elements of the pads....
So the Four Paws Wee-Wee Pads absorb liquid very quickly and, even if your dog pees two or three times on the same spot, the liquid will not reach the floor. Set them up "wall to wall" in the pen until your pup selects his favorite toileting spot in the pen. Then you can begin reducing the adjacent pads down to one or two pads.
Four Paws also makes a Wee-Wee On-Target Trainer for one pad. You can use this later in your pet's life in case you're out for an extended period of time and can't walk your dog.
The smell of urine on a pad will encourage your dog to use the pad if he needs it. Although there are products that try to mimic the odor, the best odor is that from a dog's urine, preferably another dog's urine. If that is not accessible, you can try tamping part of the pad on your dog's outside elimination.
Once you have your dog's "home" set up, that is where she will stay until she's house-trained.
Start house-training as soon as she arrives.
1. Take her outside on a leash to a spot in your yard, or an area or tree close to your home and wait until she pees. Walk her around, if necessary.
2. Reward her with a treat and praise her profusely every time she pees or poops outside. Never punish her or yell when she's gone in the house; only praise her when she does what you want. This is a good policy to follow, no matter what she does wrong. A strong "No" should only come immediately after a deed is done and when it's obvious to the dog what she has done.
3. You should take your dog outside on a leash every one to three hours, depending on his age. The older he is, the longer he can hold his bladder. Take him for short walks and reward him again each time he goes. Make a fuss over his achievement.
4. Walk him again once before you retire for the night. Then take him out immediate upon awakening. Make this a strict habit.
5. Once your dog has the habit of going outside to eliminate, you can walk him around the house on a leash, slowly introducing him to areas other than his pen. If he starts sniffing your furniture or making other 'bathroom' moves, pick him up if you can and take him outside to the closest bush or tree. Eventually, you will have a well-trained dog and a schedule for walks and outings.
I left my dog's exercise pen and crate up in our family room long after he was house-broken. He no longer needs the Wee-Wee Pads, but It was, by then, his home. A place he could go when he wasn't up to company, didn't want to eat, or just wanted to be left alone. Now, we still have regular walks, so he doesn't go in the house.
It's not hard to house-break your dog if you have the right products and the right attitude - love.
That's the buzz for today!