3 Big Mistakes When Housetraining Your Dog


Puppy learning the routines of bathroom trainingLast week, we discussed what to do when housetraining your puppy or dog. This week, we are going to cover 3 things you should definitely avoid doing when you are housetraining.

There are several different factors that contribute to the success of a good housetraining plan for your dog. To keep your plan on the right track, it helps to know what not to do. Here are the most common mistakes made when housetraining a dog:

1. Coming inside immediately after your dog potties

The Situation:

This is something we see a lot of, especially with dogs who live in apartments. It’s cold, it’s raining, and you just don’t want to be outside right now. So, as soon as your dog does their business, you go right back inside to what you were doing. The unfortunate side effect of this is that our dogs learn that their business ends the fun time outside. So, our dogs will start to hold it and hold it until they can’t anymore. This usually results in you spending 15 minutes walking your dog outside, and then coming in and having your dog pee right on the carpet. This can be very frustrating for us. Fortunately, there is a simple fix.

The Solution:

Instead when your dog uses the bathroom outside, make part of their “potty party” walking around a bit longer. If they go to the bathroom, and then they get to go on a nice walk, they will start associating going to the bathroom with the beginning of their walks and not the end. You may find your dog starts going almost as soon as you are out the door.

2. Rubbing your dog’s nose in their mess

This is a very common old school way to house train a puppy. You find an accident, go get your dog, and show them exactly what they did wrong. You stick their face in it and tell them “no!” and they get the picture, right?


Unfortunately that is not really how dogs work. Depending on when you do this, they are learning one of two things:

  1. If you catch them in the act.

The Situation:

You catch your puppy in the act of an accident, and you start scolding them or rubbing their nose in it. What your dog is learning is that you are very scary when they go potty. Odds are your puppy has no idea they’re doing anything wrong, and they are simply going to learn to hide better the next time they need to go.

The Solution:

Instead scoop your puppy up! Pick up their rear end so that it is facing skyward. Usually this will stop the flow. Run them outside, and throw them a “potty party” after they finish.

  1. If you discover the accident after the fact.

The Situation:

You tried leaving your puppy loose for the day while you were at work. You walk in the door and find a nice accident waiting for you. Instantly, your stress level spikes, and as your dog comes to greet you they cower and look guilty. They know what they did, and you make sure to tell them off. The fact is, your dog is not displaying guilt because they “know they did something wrong”.

They are actually showing appeasement signals, which is dog for “I’m not a threat really”, because they know you are angry. They aren’t sure why, but they know. What they learn from this scenario is that you are unpredictable and scary when you come home. They could have very well had that accident hours ago, and are not going to connect it with your anger. This can lead to a dog who hides when you come home, and it can even create a submissive urination issue.

The Solution:

Instead, if you come home to an accident, or find one when your dog has free reign of the house, all you can do is throw up your hands, clean it up, and adjust your house training plan.

3. Trusting your dog too early

Paisley the puppy biting her own tailThe Situation:

Puppies develop into dogs a lot faster than babies develop into full grown adults, so we tend to forget sometimes that our giant 8-month-old German Shepherd is still, in fact, a baby. The hardest thing to do sometimes is to keep to your housetraining plan. Even if your puppy has been doing well and has gone months without an accident, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are ready for free reign for a full day.

The Solution:

Instead, try giving them these privileges in short bursts. Start with an hour or two while you run to the grocery store. The biggest side effect of trusting your dog too early is that you may come home to accidents and chewed up items. Better safe than sorry, in my opinion, so a more successful plan is to be patient and take it slow.

Create a Housetraining Plan For Your Dog

Using this article and our article from last week, you should now have a really good foundation on how to begin forming a housetraining plan for your dog or puppy. The key to successful housetraining, as with most things with dogs, is consistency and patience. Unfortunately, it won’t happen overnight. As always, if you find yourself struggling, or your would like help developing a successful housetraining routine, contact our training team or the staff at DogBoy’s. We are always here to help.



Image Permissions:

Learning the routines by Bill Selak

Day Three for Paisley by Bad Apple Photography


By |2017-08-25T10:27:25+00:00December 8th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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