There seems to be an overload of information out on the web right now concerning dog house training and housebreaking techniques. If you do a brief Google search on the subject, you’ll be sure to run into thousands of articles and how-to-guides full of information. However, not all of it is actually true. Amid the helpful tips on how to train your pet, you’ll also find plenty of myths that remain unverified and yet continue to be passed on as sound advice. So in order to shed some light on the matter, here is a list of some of the most popular house training myths today and whether or not they hold up to the test.
Clean up your pet’s bathroom accidents with club soda!
This is one of the most popular myths that people will call upon when discussing ways of housebreaking your dog. Inevitably, there will be some accidents in the beginning, when your pet hasn’t yet learned to go potty outside on its own. However, club soda will only help to a certain point. It may get rid of a small stain or pile, but as far as getting rid of the accompanying odor, it won’t really do much good. To make sure that your pet’s bathroom accidents don’t leave a mark (visible or otherwise), use a high-powered enzymatic cleaner that is made especially for that purpose. It’s important to get rid of the odor, not just because it’s unpleasant to humans but because your dog will recall the odor next time it needs to go, and will return to the same spot again unless you get rid of the smell. On a side note, you’ll also want to avoid using ammonia as a stain cleaner. It gives off a scent that dogs interpret as urine, or in other words, an open invitation to use that spot as a toilet.
If your dog rolls on its back and urinates, the house training isn’t working
This is a common misconception. If your dog rolls onto its back and urinates, it does NOT mean that the housebreaking isn’t working. This kind of behavior is actually a sign that your dog is intimidated or is scared of you. It’s called “submissive urination” and it happens when your dog wants to show respect or deference. How do you fix this problem? Try to be a bit more accommodating and not so intimidating. Don’t scold your dog after it performs this submissive behavior. Leave it alone for a minute and then clean up the mess. Continue with your normal housebreaking routine, but make an effort to crouch down next time you pet your dog so that you are at eye level with it. Don’t look it in the eye, as this may signal that you are trying to enforce your dominance over it. And make sure to give it plenty of love and attention.
This one is, quite simply, false. The idea of buying an adult-sized crate for your puppy stems from the belief that it’s best to get the puppy used to a bigger crate so that you don’t have to wean it out of the smaller ones gradually (something that is not just time consuming, but also expensive). However, putting a small puppy in a big, adult-sized crate will only accomplish one thing: it will encourage the pup to use one end of the crate to sleep and the other end to eliminate. Nonetheless, it is true that buying a new crate for each stage of your puppy’s development can get quite pricey. The best way to solve this crate training problem is to buy an adult sized crate with a divider that can be moved to adjust the size of the space available to your dog as it grows up.
Do NOT scold your puppy after an accident
This one, surprisingly enough, is true. For a long time people have held to the belief that scolding your puppy and rubbing its nose it its own waste was essential to teaching it not to make a mess where it’s not supposed to. When articles started coming out preaching the exact opposite, many people remained skeptical. But as any professional dog trainer will tell you, scolding your dog is an ineffective training method. Often, it will only serve to frighten and intimidate them, as they probably won’t remember what it is they did to make you so angry. The best way to housebreak your puppy is by taking it out to the yard or designated bathroom area at regular (usually 2-hour) intervals and keeping a close eye on it during its house training period so that you prevent accidents before they happen. And more importantly, reward your dog with affection and treats when it performs the desired behaviors.
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