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House training or housebreaking is one of the more common problems that dog owners must resolve. The basic principles of house-training are relatively simple, although applying those principles to individual circumstances can sometimes be a little tricky.

Positive Reinforcement of Alternate Behaviors

In this case, the alternate behavior is eliminating in the correct area. You should select the correct or desired potty area prior to your new companion arriving home. Examples of desirable areas might be a puppy housebreaking pad by the back door or a certain designated spot in the yard. Every time you take your new companion to the potty spot and they eliminates there, reward them. Your new companion needs to understand that eliminating in the correct spot is always a rewarding behavior.

Management and Setting the Dog up to Succeed

As the owner it is your responsibility to be sure that your new companion eliminates in the correct area, so whenever they are in the house, they should be on a leash and in your presence to avoid accidents. Management of this behavior cannot be overemphasized. It is probably the single most important component of house-training.

Consequences for Inappropriate Elimination

It is futile and counterproductive to spank a puppy or rub his nose in the urine and/or feces. This will typically cause the puppy to be hesitant to eliminate in front of you. This makes praising the puppy for going in the correct spot impossible because he is afraid to go in the presence of you. In addition, many puppies will often learn to just sneak off into an out of-the-way place to avoid detection. If an accident does occur, make an inconspicuous noise to startle the puppy, without frightening him, and then immediately take him to his potty spot. The noise is intended to interrupt him before he finishes going potty. When he resumes eliminating in the correct area, praise and reward him for the
proper behavior. If accidents are occurring in the house, supervise the puppy more closely or it will take a very long time to successfully house-train him.

Consistency in Dealing with Inappropriate Elimination

Consistency is critical when working to curtail or eliminate behavior problems, and house-training is no different. Creating daily house-training routines for a puppy in training will help create consistency in behavior. Feeding the puppy at the same time every day, taking the puppy to potty through the same door every day, and going to the same potty spot every time are all good examples.