Toilet Training your Rescue Dog – The Five keys to Successfully house train your Dog


Please do not give up, you can do it! Remember you are probably the one with the problem, not your dog. I don't mean that you need toilet training, but that you most likely need training in canine communication, so that you can effectively explain where and when he should expel the ‘ugly’.

Is it possible to house train your dog effectively in 3 days? Yes, depending on various factors, but most of all you, so see if you can get it right. Don’t give up! Give yourself at least one week to see a marked improvement and about two weeks to be sure that the toilet training habit is well entrenched. If you are conscientious and motivated and apply these practical housebreaking techniques, your training will be effective.

The first 3 principles you need to apply when training a puppy or an adult dog to 'toilet' outside are:

Timing! Timing! Timing! Consistency and Persistence
This will be explained...



We will start with the most important points for you to know for effectively house training your dog, then discuss in more detail how to apply this knowledge.

For quick toilet training, or any other training, you need to understand five basic points that your dog already knows:

1.) “Good boy!” In a sweet soft toned voice, accompanied with rewards, food, petting or play! 


You may choose a different phrase, it really doesn't matter, it is more the tone of your voice
Teach your dog quickly by telling him when he is good
and your body language that will communicate that you are happy with the action the little one has just taken. Be consistent!


Always be quick to praise a dog for doing something right rather than quick to chastise him! This is important in order to give him confidence, he knows that there is a behavior that pleases you and he will try to understand what it is. This is referred to as positive reinforcement and a dog learns quickest this way. 

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2.) “No!” Learn to bark it. The important thing is to make a quick sharp sound, not shouting, but it can be loud if needed in the beginning to get his attention. If this is not working, clap your hands simultaneously or make a noise with a rolled up newspaper. Include a gesture, for example; a pointing finger with an outstretched arm, and a stern facial expression. This marks a bad behaviour and timing is crucial, it does no good unless it is delivered while he is still in the process of doing the wrong.
Teach your Dog "No!" by pointing at him angrily

Your goal is not to make your dog a nervous wreck, but rather to get his attention when he has started doing something undesired. He will quickly learn that this command for him means to stop what he is doing and to give you his attention. Your goal is to teach him to understand a single command, quickly, without having to reinforce it, this requires consistent reinforcing in the beginning, making sure he always responds to you when you say it. 

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Doggie Language

3.) Body language. Read your dog's body language like he reads yours. This can

shorten the process of house training your dog greatly. A dog's usual body language before going to the toilet is walking around and sniffing different spots until he finds some place that he feels is suitable for relieving himself, he may then lift his leg, or she may squat, or circle a couple of times before passing a stool. The more time you spend observing your dog the more you will understand his language correctly.

Remember too that your dog constantly observes your mannerisms and notices when your mood changes, so it’s only fair that you do the same for him. 


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4.) Instinct: There are three toilet related mannerisms we will mention driven by canine instinct.

  • a) He does not want to go to the toilet where he sleeps. Here is another key aspect you can effectively use in house training your dog. The main way we use this inborn intelligence of the dog, this instinct to keep himself clean, is by confining him to the area where he sleeps while you are unable to closely observe him.

Yorkie in crate for toilet training
When confined to his sleeping quarters and he needs to relieve himself he will either whimper or scratch at his container becoming restless. You need to be alert for this. It is cruel to confine a dog to his sleeping area if you are unable to react when “nature calls”. If he sleeps in your bed with you you will need to be alert to notice when he gets up for the loo. If you become alerted to his need you will need to get up and take him outside, be patient, wait at least 5 minutes while he finds a place and is relaxed enough to be able to go. If he relieves himself outside praise him like crazy!! “Good boy, good boy, good boy!!” immediately after he has finished.


This point will be expanded upon in future articles as to the various ways it can be exploited for house breaking.

  • b) On the other hand instinct can result in his marking his territory, this is most commonly noticed with male dogs, but female dogs also practice this same territorial behaviour especially when they want to assert their dominance.

It is important to remove the smell of his stool or urine immediately after if you were unable to prevent it. The problem could also be caused by other odours from animals or humans that they may feel competitive with or want to dominate.

Use washing powder or bleach to remove the odour.

Once you have curbed him from urinating or defecating where it is undesired, immediately take him to where he should go so that he can relieve himself there. Act quickly, but remain calm or he will be too scared to go when you watching.

In the beginning it may be good to take him to a well used telephone pole on the pavement or the car tires just so that he knows there are places he is permitted to mark. You can encourage that by bringing in foreign smells of disease free cats or dogs to where you want him to go to the toilet.

So, go collecting some dirty cat litter or your neighbor's doggy business, this will probably help you greatly and at the same time you can make friends using an interesting topic for conversation.

  • c) A male dog will mark his territory profusely when a female in the house is on heat and a female dog will 'flag' (urinate to leave her scent) wherever she can when on heat. This behaviour can obviously be treated by spaying or neutering, but even after you have neutered your male dog you must still train him out of his old habits. Flagging however, will stop.

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5.) Routine. You must get to know your dog’s routine and that requires that you too must stick to a routine.
Get to know your doggy's routine byt the clock

  • a) Always feed him his main meals at the same time.
  • b) Try to put him to bed at the same time, especially if you are confining him to his sleeping area.
  • c) Try to take him out at the same regular intervals to relieve himself.

Once you have established a fixed routine it is easier to understand your dogs timing for going to the toilet. The most crucial times to observe whether your dog needs to go and when you should take him out are:
  • When he wakes up
  • When he has finished eating his main meal
  • After exercise
  • After being confined for even a short period time where he was not meant to relieve himself
Take them out religiously at these times in the beginning!

What you can do when its time to go to the toilet is you can say the same word each time (“piddle time, piddle time...”) in an excited tone, people may look at you strangely if there is anyone around, but many dogs learn to go on command, even if they can only squeeze out a few drops just to please you. The main reason for doing this is to help prepare them mentally for what they must do, and to shorten your waiting time. 
I think we all struggle a little under pressure :)

 

There will be more follow up articles about toilet training issues. Please contact us with any queries.

More quality links about toilet training your dog, adult or puppy:


By Gareth Norton
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