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Dealing with house training issues
The best house training uses the dogs own instincts to avoid soiling its bed to train the dog where and where not to eliminate. That is the basis behind crate training, in which the dog is confined to its crate in the absence of the owner, and den training, in which the dog is confined to a small area of the home.
In essence, the crate, or the room, becomes the dog's den. Dogs are naturally very clean animals, and they try their best to avoid using their dens as toilets.
This type of training usually works very well, both for puppies and for older dogs. Problems with this type of toilet training are usually the result of not understanding the signals the dog is sending, not being consistent with feeding times, or trying to rush the process.
While the house training process can be sped up somewhat by consistently praising the dog and rewarding it for toileting in the proper place, some dogs cannot be rushed through this important process. It is always best to house train the dog properly the first time than to go back and retrain a problem dog.
If the dog continues to soil the den area after house training, the most likely reason is that the owner has left the dog in the den for too long. Another reason may be that the den area is too large. In this case, the best strategy is to make the den area smaller or to take the dog to the toilet area more frequently.
If the dog soils the bed that has been provided in the den area, it is most likely because the owner has left the dog there for too long, and the dog had an understandable accident. Or it could be that the dog has not yet adopted this area as the bed. In addition, urinary tract infections and other medical conditions can also cause dogs to soil their beds. It is important to have the dog thoroughly checked out by a veterinarian to rule out any medical problems.
One other reason for house training accidents that many people overlook is boredom. Dogs who are bored often drink large amounts of water and therefore must urinate more frequently than you might think. If you notice your dog consuming large amounts of water, be sure to take the dog to the established toilet area more often, and provide the dog with toys and other distractions to eliminate boredom.
Boredom is the root cause of many dog behavior problems, not only house training issues. Chewing and other destructive behaviors are also often caused by boredom and separation anxiety.
Other problems with house training can occur when the dog's den is not properly introduced. In some cases dogs can react to the den as if it is a prison or a punishment. Those dogs may exhibit signs of anxiety, such as whining, chewing and excessive barking. It is important for the dog to feel secure in its den, and to think of it as a home and not a cage.
The best way to house train a puppy or dog, or to re-house train a problem dog, is to make yourself aware of the dog's habits and needs. Creating a healthy, safe sleeping and play area for your dog, as well as a well defined toilet area, is important for any house training program.
House training is not always an easy process, but it is certainly an important one. The number one reason that dogs are surrendered to animal shelters is problems with inappropriate elimination, so a well structured house training program can literally be a lifesaver for your dog.