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8 Tips to help break problem elimination habits

Dogs are not born housebroken.  Most puppies however do have a desire to avoid eliminating in their "den".  Using the "den concept" can help you to easily train your new puppy.

1.  Have Realistic Expectations
     Not all dogs have the same ability to hold their urine or feces. 

2.  Provide a "den"
     By crate training your dog, you can use your dog's natural den
     concept to help prevent indoor elimination.  This is not
     appropriate for dogs with confinement anxiety.

3.  Stop Using Punishment
     Punishment for "any" behavior is only effective for dogs if it is
     given consistently and within one or two seconds of the behavior.
     It only works when the dog is literally caught in the act. 
     Punishment does not work for inappropriate elimination.

4.  Reward Appropriate Elimination
     When your pet eliminates outdoors, give praise or a treat as
     a reward within one or two seconds of the act.  This will act as a
     positive for your pet and your dog will start to prefer to outdoor
     elimination.

5.  Accompany Your Dog Outside
     Go outside with your puppy as often as you can during the
     learning process.  This will give you many more opprotunities to
     immediately reward outdoor elimination and reinforce this good
     behavior.

6.  Take Walks
     Take your puppy for a walk about 15-30 minutes after each 
     feeding.  There are several good reasons to do this:
     a.  Puppies are likely to defecate shortly after eating.
     b.  Some outdoor scents can encourage a dog to eliminate.
     c.  Walking your puppy provides opportunities to reward outdoor
         elimination.

7.  Discourage Inappropriate Preferences
     Has your puppy has developed a new habit of eliminating in a 
     particular spot indoors?  This can happen when a puppy has an
     "accidnet" and is attracted to the spot by the residual odor even
     after it's cleaned up.  Temporarily make the inappropriate site 
     less accessible; for example, try stacking books or boxes on it.

8.  Supervise Closely
    Puppies usually signal the need to elimiante by sniffing, circling
    or acting restless.  Some stand by the door or bark when they
    need to go out.  Watch to learn your pets signals so you can
    respond in time to prevent an accident.  As your dog learns the
    correct behavior, you can gradually reduce your supervision.


* Courtesy of Hills Prescription Diet and Dr. Jacqueline Neilson