Since you've brought your furball home, you can't even count the number of rolls of paper towels, and litres of water used to clean your dog’s «accidents» or the number of times you've put your foot in a puddle of pee kindly left in the middle of the hallway...

How to react? How to house train your dog? Here’s a little guide with the right attitudes to adopt.

Educating your puppy

In the newborn puppy, it is the mother, who by licking the perineal area triggers the act of evacuation. From 3 weeks old, the puppy can evacuate alone, but does so anywhere. The mother continues to clean the excrement so that the smell won’t attract the attention of 'predators'. It is around five weeks old that the puppy begins to have the reflex to move away from their resting place to relieve himself.

At 8 weeks, the puppy will tend to always go to the same place, away from their food and their bed. This is also the minimum age to adopt your canine companion; it will be up to you to complete their house-training. Dogs consider themselves clean as long as they evacuate away from their food or sleeping place. But humans do not have the same standards.

So that your puppy understands what you expect of them, start by walking them early in the morning, a few minutes after each meal, drink, nap or playtime, and as late as possible in the evening. It is even advisable to take them out every half hour or every hour during the day and every three hours at night!

Whenever your dog poops outside, reward them with treats.

Conversely, when you catch them evacuating inside the house, you can scold them and lead them away to the outside so that you can clean up the mess quietly.

You can choose to get your puppy to use a 'litter box' suitable for its size. This can be useful if, for example, your schedule forces you to leave your dog locked up all day. To teach them to evacuate in a litter box, use the same method: put them in the litter after each meal, regularly throughout the day, etc. And don’t forget to reward them.

Be aware that if you opt for the litter box solution, it will be extremely difficult to reverse this habit.

Don't listen to bad advice

Beware of well-intentioned but not professional persons who will want to help you by submitting outdated and more harmful than effective advice. Here is a small summary of what you shouldn’t do:

"When I come home and I see the damage, I scold them. They know that they have made a mistake because they are crestfallen. Then I put their nose in their pee and put them outside for a long time to punish them!"

Firstly, it is important to know that the delayed penalty is not effective with dogs: they have a very short-term memory, which does not allow them to mentally link the damage in the house and your anger.

And no, they are not aware that they have made a 'mistake', but immediately pick up on all your irritation and your body language. They respond immediately with an attitude of submission to soothe you. Thereafter, they will associate your return with anger and stress, which will worsen the uncleanliness.

In summary, if you do not catch your dog in the act, it is useless to punish them.

Putting your dog’s nose in their evacuations won’t help either! In fact, the smell of urine is not uncomfortable for dogs; this is just a wealth of olfactory information. They simply think: "This is mine! So what?".

Finally, if you put them outside, it mustn’t be to punish them (again, they do not understand that it is a punishment) but in order to clean up calmly.

You might have heard of the "unfolded newspaper sheet on the floor" trick, by teaching your pup to evacuate on the paper then gradually moving the paper to the outside, hoping that the puppy will follow... Bad idea!

The urine goes all the way through the paper and odors will remain very noticeable for your dog, even after washing, which will make them evacuate at the same place.

You may also be tempted to wash faeces with bleach to disinfect, but unfortunately this attracts dogs.

photo credit : yummypets 

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