Puppy Housebreaking 101?

My husband and I were given a Jack Russell terrier for Christmas. He was born October 10, 2009. We have a fenced in small play yard with a doggy door. We have been taking him outside and he has been doing fairly well on his own. We have a baby gate we use to keep him out of the house when we are at work.

Just today (1/17/10) he pooped in my nice cloth chair after he had made 2 poops outside. He did this yesterday in another part of the house. Is this normal? It is frustrating. He is given lots of praise for peeing and pooping outside. What can I do?

By carolc from MS

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January 20, 20100 found this helpful

The first thing you need to do is to realize that it takes sometimes up to a year to completely housebreak a dog of any breed. They will have good days and bad along the way, but it does take many many months of consistent training on your part. If he has an accident in the house, don't get upset. Show it to him and tell him NO, then take him outside. Then clean the accident up completely, spraying the area with a pet odor remover when you are done.

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January 20, 20100 found this helpful

I do puppy rescue(save dogs from puppy mills) and I have to house break a new dog every few months. The Keys are time and routine! When pooping happens, firmly tell the the dog NO and put the poop outside where you want him tol earn to go, he'll get the idea. Try to remove all the scent(baking soda left overnight works well). Routine is very important, for example,if you walk him after he eats,eventually he'll know that and expect to do his business after he eats. Set a routine and stick to it and he'll be trained in no time!

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January 21, 20100 found this helpful

I really like this site: are a lot of free articles......and podcasts etc.

Basically the simplest way to do it is to watch for the dog to smell the carpet, look like it is about to squat and scoop it up and say lets go potty in a sing song voice.

It always helps to play learning games.
I like to teach them as a game that clicking means to come over here. It is a game of reward and lack of reward if they don't answer the cue, but it is a happy game.

I get a hot dog, cook it, let it cool enough to not burn the dogs mouth and cut it up into little pieces...the dog should be able to grab it and practically swallow it whole. Too big of pieces will distract from the game.

After dog has pottied, then come in the house and get one of the bags of hot dogs, cut up in little pieces and click with your mouth. If the dog comes to you then quickly drop a piece of hot dog on the floor. After he eats it he will want another piece.
Click and drop,
click and drop
click and drop and so on.

Soon have him come to you when and as soon as he comes to you and touches your outstetched palm with his nose or sits or whatever he does, then drop a piece of hot dog.

This is a fun interaction game that lays the groundwork for you to train later.

Also you can teach the dog to go to the door this way too, say outside, and hurry like you are having a good time to the door. When he gets there, open the door and drop the piece of food outside where you want him to go and click and drop the food. I have also found that after a dog gets scolded for something, tell it to hurry and click on it when it comes to you and give it a hug. Don't hold grudges with a dog, and this teaches trust!

Have fun! Good luck!

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January 21, 20100 found this helpful

Also remember these times to try to take the dog out to go, before he misses and accidentally goes in the house:

After exercise
After a nap
after eating
after drinking

This helps to catch him doing the good deed outside, use the same word each time. I just take mine out every so often, and applaud and make a big deal when he goes!

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January 26, 20100 found this helpful

Just be very patient. He's just a baby. Do you leave this baby outside while you're not home? Kinda cold for that, isn't it?

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January 20, 2010

I got a new puppy over the weekend. I love it so much, but there are problems. My family and I are not able to train it because it goes outside and pees but then he comes back inside and pees. What should I do? I have tried hitting him, not hard, and telling him no. But I feel so bad. It is a 6 week old boxer, and I need help or he might have to go to the animal shelter. I doubt that will happen. Please help me!


Breanna from Zanesville, OH


Puppy Housebreaking 101

Here is a great site to read about training your puppy using the fast clicker method.

Also, remember to praise your pet when he does the right thing outside every 15 minutes or so, and after every meal and drink and play period. Make it exciting to go outside. Praise him like you have never praised anything before, with clapping hands and laughter.

Soon he will be going out to go but there will be some mistakes, until his bladder is old enough to hold in urine for longer times. When he sniffs the floor or turns in circles, or after any eating or drinking or play period, pick him up, even if you string pee all across the floor, and take him outside.

Once he is outside praise him and say "let's go potty," and "good boy." If he doesn't, don't worry, repeat this process over and over. You also will want to invest in a kennel or crate. These are great when you can't watch him, like during meals or overnight. They are not cruel. Dogs have dens in the wild and will like to have one of his own. I like the wire kind. Let me know how it goes. (03/10/2009)

By Robyn Fed

Puppy Housebreaking 101

People need to learn patience before they get a puppy. How long before you were potty trained? It didn't happen in the first few days you were in your new home. You have the right idea in taking them out, but you need to keep the puppy out longer, not always easy in bad weather, or take him right back out after you get it in so it learns that the outside is the correct place. Be patient and persistent and you will be rewarded with years of love.

Don't take it to the shelter. While better than abandonment, the shelters are full of people who won't put the effort forth to train their new pets. My daughter works at one and my wife volunteers at the local shelter and have seen too many animals turned in because they were too much work. (03/10/2009)

By Dave

Puppy Housebreaking 101

Please, never hit your puppy or dog. :-( It will make them skittish or cower and possibly mean. Your hand will become fear and punishment, instead of love to them. The other advice here is excellent! (03/11/2009)

By Deeli

Puppy Housebreaking 101

If your pup is only 6 weeks old now, he was definitely taken from mom too soon! They start learning things from mom between 4-6 weeks or older. You are going to have a busy life for awhile. I speak from experience. I would start by crating him for about an hour, then carry him outside and place him in the area you'd like him to go. Keep repeating in a soft voice "go potty, go potty" til he does. Then lots and lots of praise.

Pick him back up, bring him in the house, set him at his food and water supply, to have some if he wants. You may have to put him back in the crate for a short time, then carry him outside, and repeat these actions over and over and over. The only time he could be crated for longer periods of time, is when you go to sleep. You may have to take him outside in the middle of the night, but do it the same way. Eventually the crate door can even be left open. The crate will become his "safe" spot/ haven, and he won't mind being in it while you're gone.

For now, you will have to keep an eye on him all the while he's not in the crate. If you should see him squat or lift a leg in the house, give a firm and loud "no!" A good way to break a puppy from ever starting a bad habit, is put a few pennies in a soda can, tape the top, and when you see him start doing a no-no, shake the can. It should distract him from the bad "action," then as long as he didn't do the bad thing, call him to you and give lots more praise.

Always let him know when he's made you happy, because that is what he wants to do. Yelling and/or hitting are not good ideas. He could become afraid of you and do worse things. Also, make sure if there are others in the house with you, they must obey the training procedures too. Consistency and repetitive actions from people is a must. (03/11/2009)

By kathy

Puppy Housebreaking 101

A 6 week old puppy is too young to understand what you are asking of him and not able to hold itself for long periods of time. I suggest the following link for help:

Whatever you do, do not hit him. Like infants a puppy has very brittle bones that are easily broken or cracked. A "NO" is sufficient, as is praise when he goes outside. Please follow the directions on the link and I think you will be pleased. By the way, it takes 5 to 6 weeks to train your puppy. (04/24/2009)

By Patti

Puppy Housebreaking 101

Wow, you obviously haven't had a puppy before. I had 3 pups at the same time, and they weren't trained overnight, that's for sure. I'd take them out regularly to pee, but there were also puppy pads. As they got older we crate trained them, but there were still accidents for one of our dogs until he was around six months old. Hitting your puppy isn't going to do anything except make him fear you. Please stop hitting, and get educated about training your puppy (04/24/2009)

By Wendy

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March 10, 2009
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