House training your dog takes time and patience. It is normal for dogs to have accidents up to six months old and sometimes through their first year.
The nerve pathways to the bladder do not fully develop until dogs are at least three months old. Smaller dogs can be even more challenging as they often disdain the feel of wet grass on their feet. They also are not as good about signaling the need to relieve themselves.
Dogs like the coziness and comfort of small, confined spaces. Areas like this give them a sense of security and well being. A dog will not relieve itself in a small confined space until it absolutely has to.
To get started, obtain a crate that is just big enough for your dog to stand up and turn around. If you expect your canine to be large, purchase a container for the anticipated full size of your canine companion. In the interim, insert boxes to reduce the interior size of the crate so that it is just big enough for your pet.
Next, you need to decide where you want your pet to relieve itself. This training technique works best if you have a specific area that you consistently take your dog to. You also need to set aside a day or half-day to work with your canine companion. These techniques may need to be repeated for several days or weeks.
Place your canine in the crate for an hour or two. Then take the dog to the chosen area. Use key words consistently that can help your companion to learn to go to the bathroom on command. Remember to give lots of praise.
Do not let your dog loose in the backyard. Young pets get distracted easily and you will not know when and if your buddy has relieved itself. If your companion doesn't go, simply return the dog to the crate for another hour and try again.
If your pet does go, let it loose in just the room you are in. Do not give your pet the run of the entire house.
When your pet is loose, watch for cues such as walking the borders of the room or sniffing. If your companion relieves itself in an undesired location, do not yell or scold. Simply take your pet to the chosen location. With time, patience and a lot of positive reinforcement, your pet will be housebroken.
Julie Damron is a veterinarian at Sierra Veterinary Clinic in Stockton. Read her columns at recordnet.com. Contact her at .