The “Remedial Housetraining Program” is for those who want to train their dogs to eliminate outdoors. Litter box or paper training are separate issues. The program assumes that you have already ruled out health problems as a possible cause with a veterinary exam. Urinary tract infections are a common cause of house soiling.
This program was originally written for a toy poodle named “Sassy”, so I’ve continued to use this name throughout the text to avoid the boring use of “your dog”.
For dogs that consistently soil the crate (more than three times), you will need to use 100% “umbilical cording”.
“Umbilical cord” means that a leash or house line is attached from the dog to a human at all times unless the dog is in her crate or exercise pen (playpen).
“House line” is a 6 to 8 foot, light weight nylon cord with a snap fastened to one end. It should have no knots or loops.
“Praise” means to give verbal encouragement rather than petting the dog.
“Sassy” – Generic dog
WEEKS 1 AND 2
“Sassy” is not to have ANY freedom AT ALL to roam the house unsupervised. Whenever she is taken out of her crate, snap the house line on and attach the other end to your belt. Thus attached by this “umbilical cord”, she can never be out of your sight.
WEEKS 3 AND 4
If she has had no accidents at the end of two weeks, you may stop attaching the line to your belt and just let her drag it around the house. (Note: the house line should be a lightweight cord with no knots in it so that it slips easily around the furniture.) If any accidents occur, go back to the beginning using the umbilical cord. If no accidents occur, which means Sassy has been accident-free for four weeks, you may remove the house line altogether.
GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE NEXT 60 DAYS
You must always accompany Sassy outside to make sure that she eliminates. Don’t just put her out in the yard and assume that she has pottied. During this retraining process, you need to know for sure.
1.When you first get up in the morning or get home from work, take Sassy outdoors to the potty area on the long line. Stand still and do not talk to or play with her.
2. The first few times, just as she begins to urinate, say “go potty, good girl – go potty, good girl”. When she stops going, stop praising and walk away from the potty area. Do not interact with her at all for about 30 seconds. Then take her for a short walk – 5 minutes of controlled walking – or play a game with a toy.
3. After the first three or four sessions, you won’t have to give so much praise. You can begin to separate the “go potty” command so you are giving it just before she begins to urinate. Watch for the signals – sniffing the ground intently is a common one. Some dogs also walk in a circle. It then becomes, “Go potty”; wait until she is almost finished urinating, then say quietly, “Good girl”.
4. If she has not pottied, take her back indoors and crate for 10 to 20 minutes. Then try again. It is possible she will soil her crate the first time or two. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! She must not have any freedom if you have not seen her eliminate.
5. Notes on timing: When you first take her outdoors, do not play games with her before she potties, then take her back indoors the minute she’s done. This could teach her that as soon as she does her business, the fun stops. She’ll begin to dawdle and play longer and longer before taking care of business.
6. After “potty” and a short walk, return indoors, crate her and, if this a mealtime, feed.
After 10 minutes, remove the food and take her back outdoors on the long line to have a bowel movement. Give her five minutes to take care of business. If she does go, remember to say, “Go potty, good girl”. (Note: You can use the same command or pick a separate one.) If she doesn’t go right away, walk her slowly around the potty area, because exercise helps stimulate the BM.
VERY IMPORTANT: If she does not go, bring her back indoors and CRATE HER FOR ANOTHER 20 MINUTES or so. Then try again.
1. If Sassy did not go while outdoors it is vital to this program that she have no freedom after coming back indoors!.I cannot stress this strongly enough!!!
If using a crate for confinement instead of the “umbilical cord”, be sure to remove all the bedding from her crate and use just a bare crate. If she has an accident in the crate, it is more offensive if she can’t hide it in the bedding. (If it disappears into the bedding, it’s of no consequence to the dog, and crating then loses its effectiveness as a housetraining tool.)
She will probably have several accidents in the crate before she catches on to the timing of visits outdoors. Dogs usually have no more than three accidents before figuring out that they have only “so much” time in which to do their business. If more than three accidents occur, let me know, because that may indicate we need to try
SHE MUST BE ALLOWED NO UNSUPERVISED FREEDOM IN THE HOUSE FOR THE NEXT 60 DAYS. THIS IS VITAL.
If you get lax (by not accompanying her outdoors or letting her roam indoors out of your sight), accidents will occur and you will have to start at the beginning again.
Remember: Accidents cannot occur if someone is watching the dog at all times. The umbilical cord will help you learn to ‘read’ Sassy’s body language when she is signaling the need to go outdoors. If you are diligent about following these rules for 60 days AND. if no accidents occur, Sassy should be reliably housetrained at the end of the 60 days.