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The Ten Commandments of Housebreaking

Teaching your dog to be reliably housebroken should be your number-one (no pun intended!) priority. The longer he remains unhousebroken and the more accidents he has, the harder it's going to be to get the job done, so get cracking! Commit to starting your program immediately by following the cardinal rules of successful housebreaking.

  1. 1. THOU SHALT MAKE SURE FIDO IS IN GOOD HEALTH.
    When starting a housebreaking program, it's important that your dog has a clean bill of health, since digestive and urinary problems can make it nearly impossible for your dog to become housebroken. Read the full text...
  2. 2. THOU SHALT START FIDO'S HOUSEBREAKING WITH A CLEAN SLATE.
    Your housebreaking program will progress best if you give your dog (and yourself!) a fresh start, so no holding grudges against your dog for past potty mistakes and no blaming yourself for training errors you've made along the way. Read the full text...
  3. 3. THOU SHALT KEEP IT CLEAN.
    A big part of housebreaking is just preserving your dog's natural tendency to keep clean. Clean all accidents up with a pet odor neutralizer and give your dog a bath if he has an accident on himself and gets dirty. Read the full text...
  4. 4. THOU SHALT PRAISE FIDO WHEN HE GETS IT RIGHT.
    We want going potty in the right place to feel REALLY good for your dog, so be sure that you accompany him to his potty area in the early stages of his training so you're there to praise him, pet him and play with him to let him how great he is when he does the right thing. Read the full text...
  5. 5. THOU SHALT CORRECT FIDO ONLY WHEN YOU CATCH HIM IN THE ACT.
    Resist the temptation to correct your dog if you find a puddle on the floor. You can only correct him if you catch him having an accident. No overly harsh corrections, please... just say "NO" sharply and take your dog to his potty spot right away so he can finish up. Read the full text...
  6. 6. THOU SHALT KEEP FIDO ON A SCHEDULE.
    Keeping your dog's meals and potty trips at regular intervals will make it easier to predict when he'll need to go potty. Be sure to give him plenty of trips to his potty spot and take him outside after he naps, plays, eats or drinks. Read the full text...
  7. 7. THOU SHALT SUPERVISE FIDO'S FREE TIME IN THE HOUSE.
    To prevent accidents, your dog should be directly supervised at all times when he's in the house, unless he's in a crate or safe confinement area where he won't have accidents. He can have an accident more quickly than you think, so don't let him out of your sight for even a few seconds. Read the full text...
  8. 8. THOU SHALT WATCH FOR SIGNS THAT FIDO NEEDS TO GO POTTY.
    If you pay close attention, you'll probably find that your dog gives some kind of signal that he needs to go potty. He may sniff the floor, turn in circles, cry, pace or try to get to the door. If you see any of these signs, get him outside immediately. Read the full text...
  9. 9. THOU SHALT CONFINE FIDO WHEN YOU CAN'T SUPERVISE HIM.
    Your dog has a natural tendency to not go potty where he sleeps, so when he's alone, he should be in a small confinement area where he's unlikely to have accidents. For most dogs, the area should be just big enough for him to have a comfy place to sleep... if the area is too large, he'll use one end as the bedroom and the other end as the bathroom! Read the full text...
  10. 10. THOU SHALT TEACH FIDO TO GO POTTY PROMPTLY ON COMMAND.
    You'll find it helpful to teach your dog a command word like "go potty" so you can tell him when to go. For the first couple of weeks, repeat the command in a quiet, happy voice while he's squatting down going potty. After he's done, praise him lavishly. He'll learn to associate the command word with the act of going potty, and, in a few weeks, he'll start going when you give the command. Read the full text...

Purchase Supplies Related to This Article

Nature's Miracle Stain and Odor Remover

Nature's Miracle is everyone's favorite stain and odor neutralizer. Be sure to use this product to clean up all accidents; regular floor cleaner won't fully eliminate the odor!

One-Handed Scoop

This lightweight, sturdy one-handed scoop is a good choice if you carry a scoop on your walks or if you have physical issues that make using a two-handed scoop difficult.

Fresh'n Clean Shampoo

This shampoo has a pleasant, surprisingly long-lasting scent. It's the only shampoo I've used on my dogs for the past 25 years... because it's the BEST!!

Wire Crate with Wood Frame

This crate is a perfect option if you want an attractive crate but have a pup that may have accidents or nibble on an all-wood crate. It's easy to clean and there are wire panels between your pup and the finished wood frame.

Midwest Life Stages Crate

This all-purpose crate is an especially practical choice for young puppies, since it comes with a divider that allows you to expand the crate as your puppy grows so it's always just the right size.

Exercise Pen w/ Walk-Through Gate

This exercise pen has a walk-through gate and comes in several heights (if your dog's a climber, get a tall one!). Can be used in multiple configurations as a pen, a room divider or connected to a second pen to create a large play area.










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