Houstraining Your Dog - A Definitive Guide
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Dealing With Housetraining Accidents

What if after behaving impeccably for months, suddenly your dog starts having "accidents"? What should you be doing? Will you yell at him to stop? Give him a smack? Become frustrated and irritated all over again? Or will you rather work out the situation?

I think as a serious dog owner, you would do the latter.

There could be many reasons owing to sudden accidents on your dog's part:

Most often medical problems play the leading role. Your dog might be hit by a bladder infection. So, if a dog, which has not given you problems before, starts eliminating within the house, the first thing you should do is to take him to his vet to rule out this possibility.

If you have a senior dog and old age is catching up with your pet, he might start to lose control over his bladder. You can switch over to doggie diapers. They are convenient and easy to dispose. But make sure, you don't make your dog wear them for more than 4 to 5 hours at a stretch.

A change in environment for instance, can often cause a dog to regress in his habits. Sometimes it's very hard to figure out what this environmental change is. In such a case get him used to the neighborhood and give him enough space.
If your dog comes across a new dog who is not housebroken enough and starts to imitate the other dog.

How should you handle such situtations?

  • One of the first things you can do is to refresh housetraining. Go through the entire process of training him to eliminate outside the house however tedious it is and however long it takes
  • Try to keep your pet in good humor by going through the following routine with him
  • See to it that the dog is exercised more than once a day
  • When you take him out for a walk, ensure that you don't follow the same route every day
  • Use loads of positive reinforcements. If he is going through a state of anxiety, yelling, shouting or scolding him will only make things worse
  • Play with him at home as much as you can and show your affection by petting him often.

Whichever way you look at it, it's going to be tough getting your back to the routine he once followed, unless it's a clear case of infection. That, of course, calls for an obvious dose of medication. It's when he's suffering from mental stress that you have to show enormous patience and understanding to cure his problem.

If your pet is fully housebroken already, then it will not take much time.


Special Cases In Housetraining

Often housetraining is effected by special cases that becomes difficult for dog owners top handle. They can be:

  1. Separation Anxiety
  2. Submissive Urination
  3. Excitement Urination


Separation Anxiety

Dog owners who need to keep their pets home alone for long periods of time, often complain that they come home to a mess. In most cases their dogs eliminate in places where they certainly should not, along with other behavioral problems like chewing at clothes, shoes and upholstery.

Separation anxiety is a common problem among dog owners who leave their dogs alone at homes for more than six hours.

To prevent yourself coming back to a smelly or messy home everyday, you need to housetrain your dog accordingly - from Day 1.

Crate training your dog is a good way to lessen many sources of anxiety - both yours and your dog's. A crate works as the best alternative to a den. Your dog would feel safe and secure in its den. A crate should be big enough to allow the dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down, but again not too big either.

Since you will be locking your dog up at home, training him to eliminate indoors can be a better idea. You can use wee pads that are modern day alternatives to newspapers. They are easily available in different pet stores.

Although, no matter what you use, make sure you place them at a safe distance from where your dog eats and sleeps everyday. And keep the place of elimination fixed to one particular area in the house.

I always advice my clients not to make a huge fuss before leaving the house. Smothering your pet with hugs or apologies will only attract your pets attention.

If you don't want to come home to an anxiety driven pet, a casually said 'see you soon' will do. And when you come back avoid eye contact with your dog for the first few minutes. Act like your leaving home was not a big deal at all.

However, keep the time short the first time you leave. Say about 5 minutes. Gradually increase the time so that your dog gets used to the idea of staying alone at home.

One small note of advice: Never keep your dog alone for more than 12 hours.

And do not punish your dog for the 'accidents' occurred while you were gone. This will only make the matters worse.

Train your dog to commands like 'sit', 'stand', 'go' and so on. This will enhance your potty training sessions along with helping you to curb other behavioral problems related to separation anxiety.

Sometimes, separation anxiety leads to submissive or excitement urination.


Submissive Urination

Just like human beings, dogs too are sometimes scared or threatened. Consequentially their confidence is hampered. These are the times when sudden urination may occur. This phenomenon is known as Submissive Urination .

Your dog submits to the perceived fear and as expresses it in the form of uncontrolled urination. You may think that your dog is sensing danger without any reason, which might as well be a possibility. But you have to understand that it is not a real danger but only a perceived one. It is you who can help him overcome this fear by not being too harsh with him.

But at the same time you have to teach him to take commands and also familiarize him with new, happy circumstances. Also reward him occasionally to boost his confidence.

Submissive Urination may occur under the following situations:

  • When you scold your pet
  • When your dog meets a stranger or a person unfamiliar to him
  • When he hears a loud noise
  • When he is scared of something
  • When your dog is suffering from separation anxiety
  • When he is abused, treated with violence beaten, neglected or slapped
  • When he lacks confidence in himself

You will know it is a submissive urination when:

  • When he urinates in a posture like crouching or rolling on his belly
  • When he eliminates just out of the blue

How should you handle such situations:

  • Be gentle to your dog and greet him as gently as possible
  • Consult a vet to know whether there are any underlying physical reasons behind it
  • Reward him whenever he shows signs of confidence
  • Teach him the commands like “sit” or “stay” to calm him down
  • Do not be over-dominating or over-bearing
  • Never look into his eye. Instead of that you may look at his back
  • Touch his chin in an affectionate manner
  • Never be harsh to him or punish him. Use positive reinforcements instead.

Always remember that you are dealing with a very sensitive animal that is intensely affected by your behavior, so see to it that you treat him with utmost affection.

Praising your dog and assuring him of the fact that he is good will work wonders in boosting his confidence.

Limit your pet's water intake, so that he can gain control over his urination. In case you are expecting guests, you can restrain him from drinking a lot of water, but make sure you do not do this for an extended period of time.

If loud noise or scolding makes a dog jitterier, try to avoid that. Do not listen to music or watch television that loud. On the other hand proper obedience training can work really well in building confidence in your dog. In case you have to scold your dog, just say a firm “NO”. Often a loud yell makes the dog more nervous than ever.

Excitement Urination

During playtime or when approached by someone he is extremely fond of, a dog may urinate out of excitement. This problem eases out as the dog grows up, unless of course he is treated harshly of forced to act against his will.

Excitement Urination may occur under the following situations:

  • Your dog becomes too excited while playing his favorite game
  • When he is greeted by someone he is quite fond of
  • When he sees you after a long period of time

How should you handle such situations:

  • Prevent him from becoming to excited during any game
  • Do not make any fuss after returning home. Make it look casual and no big deal
  • Approach him gently
  • Never punish him or yell out at him
  • See a vet to cure any underlying physical ailment
  • Leave him alone when he jittery

In most cases, excitement urination occurs in pups that are less than a year old; they have very little bladder control. More often than not this problem eases out as the pup grows up. Your pup is not aware that he is urinating, so scolding him would not help. Rather it would aggravate the problem.

The best thing to do is not to let your dog get over-excited. If he urinates when you arrive, repeat this activity several times. Also ignore his urination. This will help him get over his anxiety.

In case your dog gets excited when you greet him, then approach him gently, preferably from the side. Avoid head-on encounters and direct eye contact. Make him feel comfortable in familiar surroundings.

Commitment, consistency and intelligent use of positive reinforcement will make you the owner of a perfectly housetrained dog easily and smoothly. Don't expect miracles. You will only be disappointed.

Well, that should be enough for one day. I will be back soon with more of vital potty training issues. I am sure if you follow all the instructions meticulously you should be able to handle the sessions well.

I am not saying that housebreaking your dog will become a piece of cake with these tips I mentioned in this article.

But following the pointers I provided your today will help you immensely and your housetraining sessions will be hassle-free.


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