dogs don’t think of elimination - urine and poop –
the way we do. You’ve probably noticed how interested
they are in a spot where they or other dogs have eliminated.
Dogs can smell zillions of times better than we can; and they
get information in urine or poop smell that includes age, sex,
state of health, state of mind, and much more. You may know
that dogs can smell seizures before they happen – there
are many trained seizure dogs who keep their epileptic or seizure-prone
owners safer – and can even smell cancer before any lab
test can detect it (if you have a mole or spot that your dog
seems VERY interested in, ask your doctor to check it out).
To a dog, urine or poop is a way of leaving a note to a friend.
We have to teach them where it’s appropriate to leave
their “notes” as we all learn to mail our letters
and not put them in the oven or under a rock.
Methods such as rubbing a dog’s nose in his elimination,
putting vinegar in his mouth, or spanking him may only make
him hide where he eliminates. Do you really want your dog to
go in the far end of the closet, behind the washing machine,
or under the bed? It can also cause him to become aggressive
toward people or animals of lower status – children, smaller
or older pets – or to become so withdrawn and fearful
he doesn’t want to be around you and forgets how to play.
So here’s the method. It may seem troublesome when you
read about it, but it’s faster than other methods, it
won’t cause other misbehaviors or personality changes
in your dog, and it actually works. I think you’ll find
it’s not so hard to do once you get into it.
First, clean any spots where your dog or another animal has
eliminated. Be sure to use a cleaner with special enzymes to
remove the smell; ordinary cleaners won’t do it. They
may make the spot smell clean to you, but not to your dog. Then
put a very small dish with 5 or 6 pieces of dry dog food right
on the spot. When it’s empty refill it, for at least a
month. If there are many,many spots, use something like jar
lids with 2 or 3 pieces of food on most of them.
Now, when you or any responsible adult is home with the dog,
put the dog on a leash. Put the loop of the leash on a belt
and wear the belt. The dog is attached to you. Sometimes this
method is called the Umbilical Cord Method; you can see why.
Now, just go about your normal activities; but wherever you
go the dog is with you, attached to you by the leash. Talk to
him – it doesn’t have to be anything special, you
can talk about the stupid stuff they have on TV or what you’re
going to have for dinner or if that shirt really got clean –
but do it aloud. This increases the bond between you and also
helps his brain to develop more fully and faster. This is absolutely
no extra work for you.
When you’re asleep or gone or in the shower or something,
the dog should be in his kennel. If he doesn’t have a
kennel, go to WalMart and buy one. It should be big enough for
him to lie down comfortably, but not much bigger; and it’s
his bedroom. Put a cushion in it, or a soft folded towel, and
maybe a toy or two.
Since he’s attached to you, you’ll be able to notice
when he looks like he needs to potty. Take him out immediately
– still on the leash attached to you – and when
he eliminates outside, reward him with a small tasty treat that
he doesn’t get any other time and really likes. Keep a
supply near the door.
If you’ll say a special word when he’s in position
to poop or urinate, in a month or so you can take him out and
say the word and not have to wait for him to make up his mind.
The word will become a command. Be sure to reward him for obeying!
What if you’re just not thinking or noticing and he poops
or urinates in the house again? Get a paper towel or plastic
bag, scoop up a bit of the poop or soak up a bit of the urine
- and look worried while you’re doing it. Talk to him
in a worried voice. Take it and him – because he’s
still on the leash, isn’t he? – outside and put
it on the ground where you want him to go. Now sound and look
happy. Praise him and give him a treat, as if he had done it
there. Take him back in and remember to be more watchful.
Along the way, notice your dog’s elimination schedule.
Always take him out first thing in the morning, last thing at
night, and after every meal. If you notice other times when
he seems to always need to go, take advantage of his schedule
and take him out at those times. Remember that if he is eliminating
in the house when he doesn’t usually do that, he probably
needs to go to the vet. Remember to always take him out, never
let him out; that’s how dogs get stolen or killed.
How long will it take to work? In a young dog,
not long at all. In a puppy, a little longer than if he were
4 or 5 months old – the brain development thing. In a
dog who’s been eliminating in the house for a while, longer
than that. However, if you work at it consistently, any dog
should be housetrained within a month. One of my own dogs ws
housetrained in one day. If you aren’t seeing definite
improvement – if not complete success – in 10 days,
Remember that dogs can only be relied on to hold their urine
or feces one hour for every month old they are, until 8 hours
at 8 months old. Never expect a dog to hold it longer than 8
hours, and remember that sick or older dogs won’t be able
to hold it as long as healthy young adult dogs.
If you have any questions or problems with this method, please
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m always happy to help good dog owners.