Generally, dogs are very clean animals - they won't soil close to where they eat, or where they sleep. But living in a house is unnatural for an animal whose instincts would be to roam wherever she wants to go, so you will have to help her learn where and when she can relieve herself.
It is essential that you form good toilet habits for your dog as early on as possible. Trying to break the habit of a dog is quite difficult and it can be very frustrating. You need to use guidance and encouragement to help the pet. Animal behaviorists have some helpful tips that you can use to help with the housebreaking of your pet.
Believe it or not, dogs are sanitary creatures. If a dog does soil accidentally in the wrong place, it is likely that it will be far from his dog dish, at least six to ten feet. This is true for the place where the dog sleeps as well. But, unless you find a good place for her to go and train her in that manner, the rest of your house is okay to them.
The process for housebreaking a dog is the same if he is a puppy or an adult dog new to your home. You'll need to take him outside every few hours and also 30 minutes after he eats. Take your pet to the designated bathroom spot. Stay with the pet until she goes, and then praise her when she does. If she does not go, bring her back inside and try again in fifteen minutes. Watch her though. If the dog starts sniffing and circling take them out right away as this is a sign that she is about to go. Pay attention to her signs and take her out. Soon, she will relate to going outside to going to the bathroom.
Some dogs are housebroken much faster than others. Some dog's personality will cause her to go one way or the other. But, if you take her outside at the right time, it will go smoother. A puppy of less than four months old will need to go out during the night. Older puppies can hold it that long. A dog that cries to be let out has an urgent need. Get up and take her out, she needs every chance to succeed that she can get. Positive reinforcement is necessary for success.
How you treat accidents will affect your dog's overall learning curve. If you catch your dog going in the act, distract her with a clap or call her name. Take her outside calmly at that time and praise her for finishing outside. Clean up any accident that you find on the floor. If the dog approaches during this time, ignore her. Don't talk to or punish her at this point. The worst thing that you can do is to yell at her or physically punish her. This will cause her to fear you and to not bond as well to you. She won't connect it to the accident at all. Ignoring her is the best course of action here.
Toilet Training for Dogs - Tips from Animal Behaviorists
by Niall Kennedy
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