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The Most Feared Word-Housebreaking

Whenever I go to a house to do an In-Home CONSULTATION I make it a point before I start the analysis of their home environment (after I have met the dog) always like to sit and talk to the people first about other things besides dogs. I do this for a couple of reasons.

Usually the people are nervous, this helps relax them, and I learn about the people's personalities, which in turn helps me help the dog. All sorts of topics are discussed: weaponry, AIDS, nuclear waste disposal etc. No matter how deep or frightening the subject matter the people's voices never falter or stammer and they are coherent and intelligent. Then I say one word, their faces become white, they stutter, drool at the mouth and become totally incoherent. HOUSEBREAKING--why would this word cause normal coherent people to become babbling idiots?

It's not their fault; they just don't have the tools to deal with it. The buck stops here and now. Below you are going to get answers to all those questions you were either afraid to ask or did not know what to ask.

HOUSEBREAKING 101 Steps to break the housebreaking dilemma for a puppy age seven to ten weeks old:
1. Set-up a metal wire training crate in a high traffic area such as the kitchen so the puppy can be observed and in turn can view his new environment and not feel left out-I do not have a problem with you at night placing the crate on a side of your bed because if the puppy has to go to the bathroom late at night your there. If the puppy gets his teeth caught between the bars of the crate, you're there. You being there supplies the puppy with emotional support.

2. Decide the hours he should be fed, walked and exercised (played with).

3. Remember due to their stomach size they could have to be fed sometimes six times per day

4. After and before every feed they must be carried to a spot to go to the bathroom

5. The spot should be no bigger than 10' x 10'

6. If your family is on a day-work night-sleep schedule after 10PM, the dog gets no water or food. If your family is on a night schedule, adjust accordingly. Remember though since his stomach is so small he should have a feeding around 2AM. All food given to the puppy should be accompanied by water.

7. If the puppy is thirsty after 10PM give him an ice cube.

8. The puppy should never be left in the crate more than 4 hours maximum between walks

9. Before he is placed in the crate at any time especially at night, he should be exhausted (play with the dog)

10. He is never to be scolded for having an accident-if he has the accident scold yourself for not being observant enough or not following the schedule

11. The puppy is never to be played with in the prescribed walking area just wait every so often be encouraging but don't nag

12. When placed in the prescribed walking area always use the same word so he can associate it with going to the bathroom

13. After he has gone to the bathroom praise lavishly

14. If you wish your dog to go to the bathroom on grass as well as concrete carry stools to the new designated area so his/her scent will be there and your dog will be more apt to oblige you. This should not be started until he has his original spot down pat.

15. While the dog is in the crate, he should be observed. If he shows any signs of discomfort, whisk him out gently to his spot.

16. Never line the crate with newspapers. The lead in the ink could paralyze or kill your dog

17. Never line the crate with anything because a dog can go to the bathroom on it and push it aside. This defeats the housebreaking process

18. Never water or feed in the crate. The crate is for sleeping

19. Do not have people annoy the dog when he is in the crate. This is the dog's sanctuary and should be respected

20. Non-digestible toys are allowed in the crate to keep him occupied between walks

21. If he cries try to determine if he has to go to the bathroom or he/she is just complaining. If unsure, walk-the dog. At this point in his life cannot be walked enough

22. Needless to say, as the puppy ages the walks and feedings will be spaced farther apart. A sure way to know when the feedings have to be cut down is when the puppy starts to leave food over regularly at the same time feeding every day. Also, when he starts to show disinterest at the same time feeding every day. With the walks, this is just as blatant-he will not be going to the bathroom with as much frequency.

23. The crate should have a separator in it so the dog can just turn around and lay down. As the puppy gets bigger, the separator is moved so he has more room. The separator must be made out of something he cannot chew apart.

24. Always check the puppy for worms. They can wreck havoc on your housebreaking schedule, debilitate you dog both mentally and physically, and in extreme cases kill him/her.

25. Above all, be reassuring and loving. If he has a mistake, just take it in your stride. Take him out to his spot if there is an accident so you can show him this was where he was supposed to go. Do not make a federal case out of it. It does him no good when you do that except break him down emotionally. Your new puppy is in a strange place, with people speaking a strange language. He is like a clean slate and what is placed on that slate-good or bad-will be with him/her the rest of your dog's life.

See I told you the word HOUSEBREAKING is nothing to fear. Just follow the above rules religiously and you will have it beat in no time.

Written by Neal Seaman

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