The Golden Rule of Housetraining is…

Never let an un-housetrained dog out of your sight while the dog is inside! Every time a dog relieves himself inside, it teaches him it’s OK. An un-housetrained dog should be either:

(1) Inside, with you watching him

(2) Outside

(3) In a crate

If you follow these rules, your dog should be trained in a week or two. Adult dogs can be housetrained, too!


• The best method is the crate training method. Buy a pet carrier or cage big enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down in. This will be the dog’s “den” and sleeping place.

• Dogs are clean animals and want to keep their home and sleeping area clean. Even young puppies will try their best not to go inside their crate.

• On the dog’s first day home, let him wander in and out of the crate. Put a towel and some treats in it. Put the crate close to where the family hangs out, so your dog will feel like part of the family.

• Young puppies must go out many times a day. Young puppies need to go 30 minutes after eating or

drinking. Older dogs need to go out four or more times daily.

• Take the dog to the SAME spot outdoors. The smell will remind him why he’s there.

• When puppy relieves himself outside, PRAISE him, “Good Dog!!” and give him a treat. Praise is the key to housetraining! Your dog will learn that going outside means treats, and will be eager to go out.

• If you’re inside and notice your dog starting to sniff and circle, grab him and take him out. If you catch him in “mid-stream”, startle pup with a noise and take him out.

• What if you notice a mess on the floor but didn’t see your dog do it? Clean up the mess without fussing at your dog. Dogs live in the moment and won’t understand that you are punishing him for something he did in the past. Rubbing your dogs’ nose in the mess or hitting him with a newspaper won’t work at this point.

• Use a cleaner that will kill smells and bacteria, such as Simple Green (grocery stores), Nature’s Miracle (pet stores), or vinegar and water. If you don’t clean the spot very well, the smell might make him go there again.

• At bedtime, take your dog outside and then lock him in his crate for the night. He’ll make an effort not to foul his bed. Then take him outside first thing in the morning. Some young puppies may not have the muscle control to hold it all night and will have to go out during the night.

• Don’t feed your dog after about 6:00 p.m. This will help your dog make it through the night.

• Dogs can be left in a crate 4-6 hours. Dogs should not be left in a crate more than 8 hours. If you can’t come home during the day, consider leaving the dog outside.

• Tips: Hang a jingle bell on the door and jingle it when you take your dog out. He will learn to ring the bell when he needs to go out. Install a dog door. Dog doors are a wonderful invention! Dogs quickly learn to come and go on their own. You can buy dog doors at pet stores and discount stores.



Mutts, by Patrick McDonnell