About two years ago I almost got arrested.

I was at the home of a new puppy owner and when I arrived, I saw that the puppy was under the table and would not come out. Most people will see a puppy like this and think that the pup has been abused. It is common for puppies to be shy and I know that they have not been abused. Some of the most gentle people in the world have dogs that are extremely shy and it is rare for me to come across dogs that are being abused.

You see, people that abuse their dogs don’t pay for training. They just beat their dogs – this was not the case with this puppy. The owner was more than willing to pay for the training.

However, I quickly found out that he was the exception to the rule. The guy that had this puppy was abusive. We were only a few minutes into the lesson and he showed me the belt that he used to beat her with when she had an “accident.”

As you can imagine, the lesson quickly deteriorated from that point on. By the time I left he was on the phone calling the police, I calmly waited outside and when the police showed up they were ready to arrest me. I explained my situation and informed them that he was abusing his dog. They let me go.

At the time I was working nights and weekends as an animal control officer and I had seen my share of abuse. Much of the abuse happened because of housetraining. Whenever I asked someone why they beat their dog, the answer was always the same: “My dog won’t stop peeing and pooping in the house.

It’s sad that some people think that beating their dog is training. Most people don’t know this, but the reason we have so many dog bites in America every year is the direct result of negative training techniques. Excessive use of prong and electronic collars, choke collars being used to choke dogs, Alpha rollovers, hitting, and smacking are all common techniques taught by a lot of trainers today.

There are still a lot of trainers that recommend hitting the dog. A very popular book on the market today recommends smacking for certain behaviors – this book was written by Monks. Sheesh, what happened to compassion?

Anyway, as a professional dog trainer, I know that the one behavior that makes dog owners see red is peeing in the house. They get tired of cleaning up when they come home, when they wake up in the morning, when someone comes over the house, etc. It’ a common problem but it’s also easy to fix by following some simple steps.

Housetraining basically boils down to three steps.

  • Managing your dog’s behavior
  • Reward your dog for going in the right place
  • Negative association for going in the wrong place

Manage your dog’s behavior when you can not physically be there with your dog. A crate or baby pen is a great way to restrict your dog’s access to the whole house. During the house training process you can’t give your dog complete freedom until they are completely housetrained.

Reward your dog for going in the right areas. Bring your dog outside on leash, don’t leave him on his own. When you go with your dog you can reward your dog the instant they go outside. This is crucial and a lot of dog owners miss this point. By rewarding your dog you are making the behavior stronger.

Negative association for going in the wrong areas. This has to be done as your dog is doing the behavior. Don’t punish your dog after the behavior has occurred. Walking into the room five minutes after your dog has peed on the floor and punishing your dog is not fair. Your dog will associate the punishment with you walking in the room, not a behavior that has happened five minutes earlier.

A simple negative association in this situation would be a loud clap or stomp on the floor. All you need to do is get your dog to stop from going. By making a loud noise, it is usually enough to stop your dog. At that point you can quickly bring your dog outside.

Managing your dog’s behavior is crucial if you want your dog to stop peeing in the house. If you ignore this step, it will take a long time to teach your dog to pee outside.

Don’t let housetraining get you mad or frustrated. If you need more help housetraining your dog, check out Housetraining Handbook because I developed it to help as many people as possible with this behavior.

All the best,

Eric

P.S. The Housetraining Handbook has a detailed explanation of how and when punishment should be used.