Housebreaking Hints

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

House Breaking


Prerequisites:  None

Tag Point:  A Tag Point is the moment when the dog does what you wanted and you will reward. 


The Lesson is:  Teaching a dog to eliminate outdoors


The Directions are:


  1. Know your dog’s schedule.  Most dogs must eliminate after eating, after drinking, during or after play, upon waking up from sleeping. Keeping a written log is very helpful.  Include if the dog eliminated because you took him out, if you found it somewhere in the house, where, what time, what time did the dog last eat, etc.
  2. Rewards – Reward the dog for eliminating in the correct area.  Reward immediately after the dog “goes” and reward outside at the elimination site.  Food rewards are best!  Make eliminating outside valuable to the dog.  Keep the dog outside for 10 or so minutes after just in case he didn’t empty out.  This gives an opportunity to go again!  Especially puppies, puppies are easily distracted.
  3. Punishment – Never ever punish a dog for making a mistake; for eliminating indoors.  This will just scare the dog and make him afraid to go in front of you.  IF the dog does make a mistake, blame yourself for not paying enough attention, and clean it up.
  4. Clean Up – Make sure you clean up with a product that is specially made for such a job.  Zero Odor, Urine Off, Natures Miracle are three great products.  Cleaning products not designed exclusively for this job will not eliminate the odor and the dog will likely go there again.
  5. Caught Ya! – If you are doing a good job of supervising your dog, you should see him sniffing around, circling, looking like something is on his mind, etc and you can take him outside. 
  6. Oh No! – If you catch your dog in the act of “going”, you could make a noise to redirect him.  Do not frighten the dog.  If he stops going, get him outside right away.
  7. Which Door? –  Always take your dog out the same door to eliminate, always.  When you see your dog hanging around near that door on his own, take him out right away.  Don’t say to yourself “he just went out”.  It’s better to teach him that when he hangs around near that door, he gets let out, when he eliminates outside, he gets a cookie.   
  8. Be Consistent – Be sure the dog’s schedule is the same 7 days per week.
  9. Supervision – A dog who is not housebroken should not be allowed total freedom in the home.  Keep the dog in the same room with you, always.  Baby gates, leashes, and exercise pens work wonderfully.


The Tag Point is – as soon as the dog completes his buisness, and while still outside at the elimination spot, have a party and give cookies.