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Marsha Tracy's 

Rules

Contributed by
Lynda Hammel

NOTE: These rules assume that there are no physical problems with the dog, such as a bladder infection.
Housebreaking Rule #1:
A DOG MUST BE RESTRICTED UNTIL IT IS HOUSEBROKEN

If your dog is having accidents when you are not looking, your dog has too much freedom. When you are not watching the puppy, it should be in a crate. The crate should not be larger than what the puppy needs to stand up and turn around. If you have a bigger crate and don't want to invest in a temporary smaller crate, block the bigger crate with anything to restrict her space. If you take the puppy out to do it's job and it does not go, it needs to go back into the crate for 15 minutes or so and then you try again, and again, if need be, until it goes and you can praise it. Then the puppy gets a bit more freedom. (At this point, I let my puppy loose in the kitchen for awhile, but have puppy gates restricting her from the rest of the house. I still keep an eye on her in the early phases.)

Housebreaking Rule #2:
IT IS EASIER TO PREVENT A MISTAKE THAN TO CORRECT ONE.

Try to take the puppy out before an accident occurs.

Take out routinely after a nap, in the morning, after play, after eating, and whenever it starts to sniff with that desperate pre-pee look on its face (you get to know this look).

Housebreaking Rule #3:
IF THE PUPPY STARTS TO GO POTTY IN THE HOUSE AND YOU ARE WATCHING, YOU HAVE A WONDERFUL OCCASION TO ENFORCE POSITIVE BEHAVIOR.

Be thrilled if you catch the puppy starting to go in the house, because if you are quick, (and you should be ready at all times), you can stop the process with a sharp, "Noo", a quick scooping up of the puppy, an immediate chance of tone to a happy "let's go outside" (Or whatever word you use. Just be consistent.) while you are running out the door and placing the puppy on the grass (or wherever) and giving it a one word command. Be quiet while it finishes (hopefully it will), and praise it sincerely when it does. If it does not. Back to the crate.

Housebreaking Rule #4:
MAKE SURE THERE ARE NO LINGERING SMELLS OF URINE OR POOP IN YOUR HOUSE

A dog can smell what you can't. The smell of urine or feces is an invitation to do more of the same. Clean the area where an accident has occurred immediately. I use half white vinegar and half water in a cheap ironing spray bottle. (Cheap, cheap). The bottle is always handy when I have a puppy.

Housebreaking Rule #5:
NEVER SCOLD YOUR DOG AFTER THE FACT

Even five seconds after the fact is too late. If you don't catch the dog in the act, consider the accident your own fault. Blame yourself and do better next time. It's like a diet. Just pick up from where you left off.

Housebreaking Rule #6
BE PATIENT

If you are consistent, your dog will housebreak. It can be hard, frustrating, tiring work, but it is worth the extra attention. Don't give up!

THESE PRINCIPLES APPLY TO THE OLDER DOG AS WELL


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