House-training your dog or puppy – while not difficult – requires a lot of patience and consistency. Even with this though, you will still experience setbacks. This is normal – it is how you deal with the setbacks that count.
Don’t’ punish your dog for mistakes – this only makes them more stressed (and is often just as upsetting for you). Rather, just clean it up and behave as if it never happened. And then give lots of praise the next time they get it right.
If you feel you are not making much progress, it is possible you are making a few errors without realizing it. Have a look at this list of common house-training errors to see if there are some changes you can make.
Common house-training mistakes
- Not feeding at regular times, or feeding at the wrong times
- Leaving your puppy alone for too long, so it is not able to tell you he wants to go out
- Punishing your dog for accidents – this makes them scared and may not want to eliminate in front of you at all
- Not praising them as soon as they eliminate – they don’t make that connection of a reward for their behaviour, so don’t have an incentive to go outside
- Letting her come and go in the garden when she pleases (this can happen later on, but not while you are house-training her)
- Not using a crate (or something similar). While some people think crates are cruel, they are very useful for house-training. Dogs also feel comfortable when sleeping in a covered area, and having a small, enclosed place to sleep in makes them feel calm. Remember – the crate is just for sleeping and for house-training in the beginning. Don’t keep your dog locked up all day.
How to tell if your dog needs to eliminate
Whining, barking, sniffing and circling are all signs that your pup needs to go outside. If they are not confined, they will also likely be barking or scratching at the door to go out.