The Ins and Outs of a dog in the house Part 2

 1.  Housetraining – your #1 priority!

All dogs without a physical disability can be trained not to soil in the house.  The key
points to remember are:

·     Select – a suitable area, not too far from the house where you will encourage puppy to ‘do his business’.  The substrate you choose (usually grass) will become puppy’s preferred toileting surface.

·      Supervise – watch your puppy for sniffing, circling behaviour – usually a precursor to toileting.  Take your puppy out after every meal, playtime, sleep, and drink and encourage him to toilet.

·      Management – if you cannot supervise, leave him in a ‘safe’ area where accidents are not a problem.  Realise however that allowing your dog to toilet on more than one surface (e.g. newspapers and grass) while unavoidable may lengthen the housetraining process.

·      Reward – with praise and a titbit when puppy toilets in the preferred spot. It is essential that puppy understands, you like toileting by establishing a ‘reward history’ for the right behaviour.

·     Interrupt – your pup if he starts to toilet in the house – as mildly as possible to get the desired effect.  The intention is to stop your dog in the act, not to frighten him.  Lead him to the appropriate area and encourage him to finish the job.  If you frighten the pup he will soon be convinced you have a hang-up about bodily functions and refuses to toilet in your presence – preferring privacy behind the couch or under a bed.

2. Constructive Ways to Avoid Destruction

·    Restrict your puppy to a safe area, complete with suitable chew toys and a sleeping area.  Take him out to play and toilet.  In this ‘errorless’ environment, your puppy will be set up for success.

·     Develop a ‘chew toy’ habit by stuffing toys such as Kongs and smoked marrowbones with kibble and titbits to make them more interesting.  Rotate toys so there are always one or two ‘new’ ones to explore.

·     Avoid inadvertently teaching your dog that ‘stealing’ leads to a great game of ‘catch me if you can!’ Instead practice lots of ‘swaps’.  Even when your dog has things he is allowed to have, take them from him, have a look and then give them back.  Occasionally swap them for something better like a treat.  If your dog learns that allowing you to take things from him leads to something of equal or better value for him, there will be no need to run from you or worse still develop ‘possessive guarding’ behaviour.

·     As pup learns what is expected of him, his area can be increased.  It is not necessary for your dog to have full run of the house to feel a part of the pack.  If you prefer, your dog only need access a well-frequented part of the house such as a kitchen or family area where the ‘pack’ gather to watch TV or chat.

·     If you prefer train your dog to settle on a mat whenever he comes into the house.  This can easily be taught by keeping your dog on lead and sitting next to his mat.  When the dog begins to relax and settle reward with quiet praise and titbits.  Use a cue word like ‘mat’ or ‘go to bed’ and your pup will soon understand that if he wants the privilege of being inside he must lie quietly on his mat.   Your dog will still appreciate having gained a ‘foothold’ into the ‘den’ and will enjoy being able to observe family interactions from his special spot.

3.  ‘Four on the floor’ and no more nipping!

·     Right from when puppy first arrives, reward him for keeping ‘four (paws) on the floor’, by giving him lots of cuddles and attention down at his level.

·     NEVER reward jumping up with your attention – of any kind.  To many dogs even negative attention can be considered fun or a game.

·      Train an alternate behaviour such as ‘sit’ and reward with what pup wants most –  your attention.

·     Teach everyone in the family, especially children to ‘make like a post’, fold their arms and look away, if pup gets very excited and/or nips and jumps.  Fence posts are not much fun and pup will soon lose interest.

·      If puppy is really excited put him in his safe area for some ‘time out’ until he settles.

4. Rover goes to school – basic obedience training.

·     As puppy gets older, attend a training class where you will learn how to teach your dog basic behaviour like ‘sit’ ‘stay’ ‘come’ and ‘walk nicely’.

look for a class you will both enjoy

5.  A snip in time saves lives – allergies and dog hairs.

·     If you did some research before making the commitment to buy a dog, you will have been forewarned.  You cannot blame the dog for shedding hair anymore than you can blame a person for being bald!

·     There are breeds of dogs which do not shed hair and which are suitable for people with allergies.

·     Only allowing the dog in a back part of the house, keeping him off the furniture and regular brushing, will go a long way to controlling the problem.

6.    ‘Corgi Clean’ – is your dog fit for a palace?

·      Properly cared for, dogs are perfectly suited to sharing our homes – just ask H.M. the Queen!

·     Your dog can and should be kept free of external and internal parasites as well as being generally clean and well groomed.

·     Guide dogs for the blind and Assistance dogs for the disabled accompany their partners not only in their homes but in public restaurants, theatres and even surgeries and hospitals as well.

·     Your dog’s condition is a reflection of your attitude toward him and is much more easily monitored when he shares your home.  A clean, healthy dog is a loved dog.


Ultimately, the decision to bring your dog in is a personal but for me, dogs nestled around the family room floor convert a house into a home.  In an echo of primal times, the peaceful, slumbering faces of the ‘watchdogs around the camp’ instinctively tell me that our pack is safe and all is well with the world.  As my two sons and husband gather in front of the television for another primal activity – the rugby – my guardians and I slip up the stairs to the spare room to snuggle contentedly in front of my favourite romantic video.  Coming inside is good for dogs? Bugger the dogs; it’s good for me!

Doggy doors are a great way to increase the quality of life for both you and your dog.  Your dog has the freedom to come and go as he pleases and you get to stop playing  doorman!

Article courtesy of Karin Larsen Bridge, partner of Get S.M.A.R.T. Dog Training, Sydney.
You can also follow this and other articles at my publishing site publishing site.


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