So maybe you've gotten a new puppy, or your older dog seems to have forgotten how to do his business outside. Either way, it can be frustrating for dog owners to constantly clean up after their pets. Fortunately, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks.
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Stick to a schedule
Just like people, dogs thrive with a routine. Feeding times and bathroom breaks should be kept consistent so your pooch knows what to expect and when to expect it. He is less likely to relieve himself indoors if he knows a walk is coming up. Dogs should always be walked first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
Use magic words
Using the same word or phrase every time you take your dog out is a good way to reinforce in his brain that potty should be done outdoors. Most dogs will quickly learn the meaning of "walk" or "outside" as long as you are consistent.
Learn his cues
Pay close attention to what your dog does before he uses the bathroom. Does he dig in one spot? Turn around repeatedly? Stare at the door insistently? Learning his signals is just as important as teaching him signals when it comes to potty training.
Use positive reinforcement
Yelling at a dog who has had an accident can be your first instinct, but can actually do more harm than good. Instead, try offering treats or pieces of food to reward positive behavior. Dogs love knowing when they make their owners happy.
Try crate training
Dogs instinctually won't use the bathroom where they eat unless forced to (think crowded kennels at animal shelters). Crate training can be a good way to keep your carpets from getting ruined. Be sure to introduce the crate slowly, as some dogs are more resistant than others.
Have an inside spot for emergencies
When nature calls, dogs must answer. Sometimes that might be while you are asleep, out of the house, or otherwise unable to take him outside. Sometimes extreme weather can prevent going for a walk. Having a designated indoor area for potty can reinforce - rather than contradict - all that your dog has learned. The most effective way to do this is to use patches of real grass. Pee pads and artificial grass are expensive and difficult to clean. Using real grass is as close as dogs can get to the "real thing", so training them to use a product like DoggieLawn is easy and stress-free.
Now that you and your pup are on the same page about pottying, it's time for a snuggle and a reward. Treat, anyone?
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