View Full Version : How do they understand they aren't supposed to pee in the house....

11th September 2008, 09:44 PM
unless they try to and you correct them?

This is something I don't understand about housebreaking and I think I just need someone to spell it out for me. I've read so many books and web sites about housebreaking but I just don't get it.

I understand that the point of taking them out all the time is to teach them that its appropriate to go outside. But how do they then translate that to understanding that its inappropriate to go inside? The housebreaking sources say that you need to watch pups all the time, or confine them, and take them out often so they never have the chance to make a mistake, and that every mistake is a big step backward in housebreaking. I guess I just don't understand dog psychology and how they make the connection that going outdoors means not going indoors, unless they do have a few accidents and are stopped or scolded.

Meenah is almost 10 months old now, and in the last 5.5 months, the four accidents she's had were all explanable (2 bouts of diarrhea, a fear response to a toy that scares her - the toy is gone, noone noticing her at door - bell trained her). From anywhere in the house, she goes to the door to be let out. If noone is right there with her, she rings the bell at the door to summon us. We have a fenced in backyard and she has her preferred areas where she likes to pee and poo. She likes to poo in out of the way places, but she tends to pee just anywhere out there, and I've never tried to corral her into one spot because hey its outside! How do I know that she actually understands NOT to go inside the house?


11th September 2008, 11:02 PM
Just keep at it.When we got Archie,Alfs who is nearly 3 decided to cock his leg in the house at least 3 times.I know it was a dominace thing,but its still annoying.we took the boys up to the new house and Alfs cocks his leg up the wll then has a great big poo in the new house.Mmmm.

12th September 2008, 01:53 AM
They will learn IF you make it impossible for them to NOT go in the house. If you 'correct' them all you logically tell the dog is, you will get punished for going when I am around. Punished dogs end up being the ones that owners find are going in corners and behind sofas. They are the ones that take the longest to housetrain, too.

The way you ensure they always go outside is timeconsuming (and housetraining is hard and timeconsuming!) -- 100% supervision 100% of the time. Using a crate wisely accelerates this process. When people say 'but I have to work and can't give 100% supervision' the only response is -- well, that is going to be a problem then and it will take your puppy much, much, MUCH longer to be housetrained because it gets totally mixed messages -- sometimes it goes outside and sometimes is left alone and may go inside or be expected to go inside on papers sometimes but not all the time (that is why training to papers makes housetraining twice as long much of the time). This is why puppies are not a great choice for people who work, too.

If you are home all day (or even if not), and you have a dog going inside the house, there is only one reason this is happening -- the dog is being given too much freedom on the assumption that it is more housetrained than it is. This is a very common problem. You have to remember again that 100% supervision means 100% supervision, at arm's length or on a lap or on a lead, to be taken out at the first sign of needing to go, every day, all the time. Otherwise in the crate. The dog cannot be allowed to go from room to room on its own and cannot be expected to find its own way outside to go. Too many people expect too much too soon and stop 100% supervision 100% of the time and soon find the dog is going inside. They leave the dog to try and find its own way out too soon before going outside is well imprinted and stop supervising and the dog starts going inside.

There are no shortcuts to housetraining -- a dog only learns what we teach it. If the dog is allowed an accident in the house, that is one step backwards every time, because it reinforces to the dog that sometimes it is fine to go in the house, If you punish, the dog only is scared and fears going in front of you and will still go inside, just not when you are looking. If you are there, there's no reason to punish anyway as if the dog has the chance to go inside, the problem is the OWNER's for not watching closely enough. If you are not there and the dog is going inside, punishment after the fact will truly do nothing but cruelly terrify your dog as it will not associate punishment with anything it did in the past.

If the owner takes the time to be there, to supervise, and set the dog up to ONLY have success, a dog will housetrain quickly because the rewards come from the behaviour of going outside and nothing happens when there are mistakes. A dog will aim for the rewards and the reinforced desired behaviour. :)

12th September 2008, 05:34 PM
By correcting, I meant saying uh-uh and whisking them outside where they are supposed to go, not punishing. As I mentioned, the 4 accidents she's had in the last 5 months were all explainable, due to illness or our fault for not noticing her at the door and allowing my daughter to play with a ball that scares her. We let those incidents go. In all that time, she's never had an accident where she decided just like that on her own to go to the bathroom in the house. She is watched like a hawk, even though my family insists that she is housebroken. But I tell them what you say, Karlin, that you can't trust that a dog under a year is truelly housebroken. I take her out every time she goes to the door and rings the bell. Even if she doesn't go to the door, I take her out if its been a while. She's outside at least every three hours. I still occassionaly treat her for peeing outside, but I always treat her for pooping outside. Even when I don't treat her, I praise her a lot. From what you say, Karlin, it sounds like that's how they understand its good to toilet outdoors, and I understand that. Still, unless they do try to pee or poo inside and you stop them, I just don't see how they'd realize its not ok to do it inside. I mean, what if she reasons that "I get a treat for pooping, so I'll poop now and she'll give me something tasty!" It seems like you need the opportunity of catching them in the act or about to do the act to truelly teach them that that's not ok here.

Maybe I'm being dense and the subtleties of dog logic evade me. I guess I should just keep doing what I'm doing and have faith that she does or will understand that she must never go inside and only go outside.


13th September 2008, 12:25 AM
Have you tried confining her to a small area around her bed for a while?
Our pup was the same, but during the school holidays she was inevitably left on her own for several hours at a time. We used a couple of extendable fire guards to confine her to one half of the kitchen where her bed,toys and drink were whilst we went out.

Dogs would rather not 'mess' their own area, so she taught herself to 'hang on' until we arrived back. Of course she was crossing her legs by
then, and immediately needed to go out - which earned her much praise.