House Training A Puppy Who Shows No Signs Of Needing To Go Out

I am 12 days into housebreaking the new puppy who is about 13 weeks old. He is still not really showing me any signs that he needs to go out.  We go out first thing in the morning and after each nap, and i just try to watch for signals after feedings and throughout the day. I am home with him almost all the time.

When he does have an accident, I run to him saying his name and “No!” repeatedly and promptly put him outside and then praise him when he goes outside. Is there something I am missing or am I just expecting too much, too soon?


Hi, Tania:

First, make sure you download and read the “Secrets” book. It will help you, a lot.

Second: Don’t use his name when you correct him. He knows you’re talking to him… so just say, “No, no, no” as you run to him. (More on this in the book. Also: Watch “Housebreaking In A Hurry!” in our video vault).

How many times a day are you feeding?
How are you correcting him, when he does have an accident in the house?

Tania replies:

I have read the book and I am on the second read. I am feeding twice a day, morning and supper time, but there seems to be no time frame for defecating– After sometimes it’s 10 minutes and sometimes not for a couple hours. I guess I misunderstoood the correction thing as just saying No, no, no and putting him outside … what would you recommend as a correction for him? I am going to watch your videos, next. Thanks.


Adam replies: Hi, Tania:

What I recommend is: Until you really feel like you’ve got a handle on the housebreaking issue: Keep him on the leash, and attach the leash to your belt loop. All other times, he should be in the crate or outside on a potty break. The more times he successfully eliminates outside, it reinforces that he’s doing the right thing because you’re heaping praise on him.

If he starts to defecate in the house (remember: He’s on the leash) then you need to make it a traumatic experience for him as you drag him outside. So much so that he draws a stark comparison between black and white.

What you’ll see after that happens a couple of times is that the dog will start to give you more indication when he needs to go out, because he’ll get fidgety.

I should add: Anytime you see the puppy get super-exciteable… that’s also a sign that he needs to go outside. So, if he’s zipping around… it’s an indication that he needs to go out.

If you need further assistance on this, please start a new thread at top, as I don’t want to miss it.

Keep me posted,
Lynn adds:

Exercise and scenting can also hasten a bowel movement. Even though dogs do need to rest and digest a meal, a walk around the yard and encouraging to sniff for the perfect spot can help get things moving. Just don’t turn it into an aerobic powerwalk that would interrupt digestion.

Are you using a command for housebreaking as well? When you take him outside, tell him “Get busy” or “Go potty” or whatever you want the phrase to be so he associates going to the bathroom outside with it, and he’ll learn that when you say it, he’s outside to do some business, not run around and play.

How To Teach Your Dog To Eliminate On Command

Teaching your dog to defecate or urinate on command is actually just a process of creating an association.

The command I use is, “Get Busy.” But you can use any word or phrase that you please. You’re probably wondering why anyone would want to teach their dog an elimination command. And probably the best answer to this question is that it enables you to establish both a time and a place for your dog to eliminate.

For example, if you decide to go to bed early, and you don’t want your dog to be uncomfortable for the next 7 or 8 hours, you can very easily take him outside and tell him to “do it now,” because, “You won’t have a chance to do it later since I’m going to bed.”

Having an elimination command also allows you to tell your dog WHERE he should urinate or defecate. For example, if you’re taking your pup for a stoll and he indicates that he needs to eliminate… you don’t want him to merely stop and do his business in the middle of the sidewalk.

What an elimination command allows you to do is to walk the dog over to some bushes, or behind a building and tell him, “Here! Here is where you can ‘get busy.'” How to teach the “Get Busy” command Just like with any other command, your goal is to associate the phrase, “Get busy,” with the action of either defecating or urinating.

Here’s what you need to do in 5 easy steps:

1.) Take note of the usual times your dog needs to defecate or urinate.

2.) Take him to the usual spot where he likes to eliminate and walk him back and forth, repeating the phrase, “Get busy, get busy, get busy.”

3.) When he begins to eliminate, continue saying, “Get busy.” After five or six different occasions, your command will start to link with the behavior.

4.) A half second after he finishes, praise him.

5.) Repeat this process every time your dog needs to eliminate, and you’ll soon find that he will begin to understand and at least make an attempt to evacuate the contents of his bladder on command.


How Do I Teach My Dog To Let Me Know When He Needs To Go Outside?

First, read through the section I’ve already written, on Housebreaking in a Hurry, so that you’ve got all the other elements working in your favor.

Second, make sure you ritually take him out of the house to the same door.

Third, if you’ve followed step one and two, he’ll be anxious about eliminating in the house, and try to “drive” a behavior, which means he’ll start going over to the door where you usually take him out. But this can take a couple of weeks.

You can tie a bell on a string to the door, and after a few more weeks, you’ll see the dog start to hit the bell with his muzzle, or at least bump it, to make noise.But this doesn’t negate the fact that you must always keep one eye on him, until he’s 100%. Another thing you can do is to teach him to bark on command. Then, sit him next to the door, tell him to “bark” and then open the door. Repeat this several times, and you should be able to link the two behaviors.

Pretty soon, you’ll see the dark start to bark in order to get you to come and open the door.


Psychological Mistreatment Of Your Dog Through Isolation

A local veterinarian referred a client to me earlier this morning. She called to tell me that her dog was urinating in the house. First, it was obvious that this woman may have been a little unbalanced… or maybe she’d just forgotten to take her medication… because the nature of her dog problem took a good 20 minutes to explain, when it should have only taken 2 minutes. And after 20 minutes, I still couldn’t understand her well enough to tell if she had:

1.) A housebreaking issue

or . . .

2.) A problem with the dog exhibiting submissive urination.

In any event, upon further questioning, I advised that she NEEDED to keep the dog in it’s crate ANY time she could not supervise the dog. Her response to me was that, “I don’t want to put him in the crate when I’m home.” “Why not?” I asked. “Because he’s in the crate all day!” she replied. “What do you mean all day?” I questioned. “All day. ELEVEN HOURS!” she stated. Well, as it turns out, this woman had been leaving her dog in the crate every day… for 11 hours… while she was at work without having anyone come to break up the dog’s day. She claimed that the breeder she’d gotten the dog from had told her that “this was the way these dogs had been raised, so it was ‘okay.'”


You cannot keep your dog in the crate during the day, day-in/day-out for 11 hours. And then come home and play with the dog for 20 minutes. And then go to bed. This is not a life for any dog, and eventually the dog will begin to exhibit strange behaviors. It is simply not a humane way to own a dog. MY ADVICE TO THIS WOMAN: Get rid of the dog. Find it a good home. If you continue this lifestyle for your dog, there is no doubt the dog will go stir crazy.


Housebreaking A Dog – Five Secrets You Must Know

More dogs are given away every year due to housebreaking problems than any other behavior problem.

Housebreaking a dog is fairly easy if you follow a few simple steps. Whenever I get a new dog, or when I advise my clients on issues pertaining to housebreaking, I generally follow five simple rules:

Housebreaking A Dog — Rule 1: Anytime your dog is in the house with you, he needs to be watched like a hawk. What this means is that, regardless of what I may be doing, I need to keep one eye on the dog and one eye on whatever else I may be paying attention to. If you can’t keep one eye on your dog at all times, then you must confine him. Confining your dog means putting him in a crate or in a kennel run or some type of enclosure where he cannot make a mistake– which in this case is urinating or defecating in the house– without getting a correction.

In sum, you must never let the dog have free reign of the house until the dog is 100% proofed, and until that time, you must never take your eye off your dog if he isn’t confined in a crate or an enclosure.

Housebreaking A Dog — Rule 2: If and when your dog has an accident– because you were keeping one eye on the dog and one eye on whatever else you were doing– you will always be in a position to give the dog a sharp correction upon error. This means that your dog will be developing a negative association with the action of defecating or urinating in the house. One of the reasons dogs defecate and urinate in the house is that they feel comfortable doing so.

It is much more pleasant to urinate or defecate on the carpet or on the couch or on the bed (where it is nice and soft) than it is to go outside (where it may be cold) and ‘take care of business’ on the grass or on the dirt. So, you need to make it more comfortable for your dog to eliminate outside, and much more uncomfortable to defecate or urinate inside. In fact, it should be extremely uncomfortable!

Anytime the dog has an accident or decides to defecate or urinate in the house, he needs to receive a strong correction. And the correction must be motivational. And it must be immediate. And it must be a correction that the dog knows he will get every time he tries to do his “business” in the house.

Housebreaking A Dog — Rule 3: The third key to housebreaking is to establish a place outside– a specific spot–where the dog will go to eliminate. In conjunction with this, I also teach a command so that the dog learns to do the behavior of defecating or urinating on command. The command I use is “get busy”.

When you see that your dog has a need to eliminate, immediately rush him outside to your specific predetermined spot. Once you get to that spot, you need to walk the dog back and forth and constantly repeat the command. I repeat, “Get busy, get busy, get busy”, as I walk back and forth. Now, once the dog begins to either urinate or defecate I continue repeating the command “get busy, get busy, get busy”. This forms a close association with the behavior and the command, and so the two become linked.

As soon as the dog finishes “taking care of business,” I immediately lavish praise. This is very important because, what goes on in the dog’s mind is that the dog learns, “Hey, I get something very positive,” your praise, “When I eliminate outside.” Secondly, he gets something very negative when he decides to eliminate inside. So, we have something very consistent going on.

Another benefit to taking your dog out to one specific spot is that dogs become creatures of habit. Thus, your dog develops the habit of going to that one spot, and as long as that specific spot is outside (or in your predetermined area) that is where he will want to go to the bathroom. Many times, dogs that have a housebreaking problem will return to the same spot to go to the bathroom. Unfortunately, this spot is usually in the living room, on the bed, or in some area where we don’t want it to be.

By establishing a specific spot in the yard, we condition the dog to want to go to that spot, and so he will only really feel comfortable eliminating in that specific spot. Another advantage to associating a command with the action of elimination is that you are able to take your dog over to the curb, or behind a building, or outside of a shop (if you happen to be in the shop) and realize that your dog is telling you that he has to go to the bathroom… you can take him outside to a place where you feel it is okay for him to eliminate. And once you are in that spot you tell him, “Okay, now it is fine for you to go to the bathroom right here.”

Housebreaking A Dog — Rule 4: The fourth key to successfully housebreaking your dog is to buy and use an odor neutralizer or an odor eliminator. There are products you can buy on the market for this. The one I use is called, Nature’s Miracle. It is a type of enzyme which breaks down urine and fecal residue and completely eliminates the odor.

It can be used on your carpet and will usually lift a stain, as well, so in a sense, serves a double purpose. But more importantly, it lifts the urine smell from your furniture. This is necessary because, if you don’t lift the urine smell, your dog will smell the scent he has left previously and want to go back because that’s his “familiar place.” By using the odor neutralizer, you are able to lift and get rid of that elimination spot which was chosen by your dog. And of course, you are now in a position to substitute his new elimination spot outside.

In the past, many dog trainers would suggest that you make your own odor neutralizer by mixing one part ammonia to four parts water. This doesn’t work very well, for one simple reason: there is ammonia in your dog’s urine! By using ammonia as a cleaning agent, there is the distinct possibility that your dog will be attracted to that spot, smell the ammonia, and re-mark his spot. So you won’t really be achieving your goal of eliminating the odor or neutralizing the scent.

If you’re into homemade remedies, or you’re on a tight budget, you might try: One part white vinegar to four parts water. I have been told this concoction works very effectively. Personally though, I prefer the store-bought formulas, because I have no desire to make my living room smell like a Cobb salad, just to save a few buck!

Housebreaking A Dog — Rule 5: The fifth and final rule for successfully housebreaking your dog is to set up a feeding and watering schedule which is very rigorous and consistent. You want to make sure that your dog gets fed and watered at the same time every day. When you do this, you’ll notice that your dog will start needing to go out and eliminate at the same times every day.

For some dogs, this will be immediately after they eat or drink. For other dogs, it may take a while. I had a Rottweiler puppy who would have to eliminate almost 23 minutes– to the second– after he had eaten. I was able to read the dog so well that I could tell exactly when he had to go out, and because I was feeding him consistently at the same times of day, I knew when to expect him to go. This way, I was always ready and prepared to be outside with the dog when nature called. If you don’t feed your dog on a consistent schedule, you will be perpetually playing a guessing game.

As for watering, I do not recommend free access to water until the dog is completely housebroken, and that means 100%. If you give your dog free access to water when in the house, you will never develop any consistency in terms of knowing when he has to urinate. If you follow these five steps religiously, you will be well on your way to having a completely housebroken dog.

On average, I find that the speed in which it takes to housebreak a new dog or a puppy that is over 12 weeks is between 10 to 14 days. It can be faster or it can take longer depending on how religiously the owner follows these five rules, as well as other factors such as your dog’s age, breed, and temperament. But with practice, consistency, proper timing and motivation, housebreaking can be accomplished fast and easily.


Preventing Unwanted Dog Or Puppy Urination

Preventing Unwanted Urination. There are a number of reasons why dogs have problems with inappropriate urination and in some cases defecation. Unfortunately most dog owners don’t understand why this happens and are unsure what to do.

It can even happen to dogs that have been trained and housebroken. Many dog owners who are unable to address the problem simply take their dog to the pound as they assume there is no alternative to the problem that they are unable to solve.

Unwanted urination is a very common problem that many dog owners face and is more common than most people would assume. You will need to eliminate any medical reasons first, as there could be bladder infections that are causing the urination, but aside from that there are other reasons why dogs will urinate.

One of the most common reasons for a dog to lose control of it’s bladder is from excitement and you will generally see this happen a lot more with puppies. With puppies this is a lack of bladder control that will generally stop, as they get older.

Puppies are often unaware that they are urinating when they get excited and to reprimand them for doing this will cause confusion. To get angry with your dog for excitement urination can lead to other problems where the dog will begin to urinate from submissiveness rather than excitement thereby creating another problem that will need to be addressed.

With excitement urination the best cure is prevention and that is achieved by not allowing your dog to get overly excited. And the best way to stop your dog getting over excited in certain circumstances is to expose him/her to those situations more often until they no longer get excited to the extent that they urinate.

Puppies will eventually grow out of excitement urination as they develop better bladder control. Submissive urination is something that is common in the wild, where dogs, being pack animals, show their submissiveness to the leader of the pack by lowering themselves and urinating.

Where a dog is showing signs of submissive urination this is effectively a sign of insecurity and is very often associated with dogs that have been abused. It can be difficult to correct submissive urination and quite often the best method is to ignore what is happening and focus on developing a better relationship with your pet and help to build it’s self confidence.  

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.

House Training A Golden Retriever

One of the most common methods of house training a Golden Retriever puppy is paper training. [Which Adam doesn’t recommend.]

The puppy is taught to go to the bathroom on a piece of newspaper inside of the house and then is later retrained to go outside. While this is a common method, it usually is not the best as it teaches the puppy to relieve himself inside the house.

Instead of paper training, teach your Golden Retriever puppy what you really want him to know. Take him outside to the area where you want him to relieve himself and tell him, “Go potty!” or any other command that you are comfortable using. When he has finished with his business, praise him by saying something like “Good boy to go potty!” Be sure that you don’t just send him to the backyard and hope he goes to the bathroom. You need to escort him to see that he has relieved himself and so that you can praise him for doing so.

If you try to house train your Golden Retriever puppy by punishing him for accidents that happen in the house whether it is by rubbing his nose in his mess or by sharply scolding him, you run the risk of confusing and scaring him more than actually teaching him. If you correct your puppy for housetraining accidents, he may feel that going potty is what is wrong and he may start being sneaky about where he goes so that you don’t catch him.

Successful housetraining is based upon setting your puppy up for success rather than failure. Keep accidents to a minimum and praise him when he does relieve himself where he should go.

Because your Golden puppy is a creature of habit; routines are very important. Housetraining is easier if there is a set routine for eating, eliminating, playing, walking, and sleeping.

The schedule you establish will have to work with your normal routine and lifestyle. Just keep in mind that the puppy should not remain in his crate longer than three to four hours, except at night. The puppy will need to relieve himself after eating and drinking, after exercise and playtime, and when waking up from a nap.

Limit Freedom

Many puppies do not want to take the time to go outside to go potty, especially if there are interesting happening things in the house. These puppies will then sneak off somewhere to relieve themselves. By limiting the puppy’s freedom you can prevent these “accidents” from happening. Close the bedroom doors and use baby gates across hallways to keep your puppy close. If you can’t keep an eye on him, put him outside or in his crate.

Establish a routine that works well for you and stick with it. If you stick with the schedule, your puppy will progress. However, don’t let your apparent success go to your head; don’t assume he is housetrained. Too much freedom too soon will result in problems.

Household Rules

It’s important to start establishing some household rules as soon as your new puppy joins your household. Even at eight to ten weeks of age, it is not too young for him to learn. By starting early, you can prevent problems. When deciding what rules you want to establish, look at your puppy not as the baby he is now, but rather the adult he will grow up to be. While you might not mind if your Golden puppy is on the couch now, you may not want a full grown Golden on your couch.

Some common household rules might include teaching your puppy not to jump on people, to behave when guests come over, to stay out of the kitchen, and not to chew on inappropriate things. In addition, you might want to teach the puppy to leave the kids’ toys alone, to ignore dirty clothes, and to stay off the furniture.

To teach your puppy what is allowed and what is not, you must be very clear with your commands and corrections. Either something is right or it is wrong. When the puppy picks up his toy instead of your slippers, praise him by saying something like, “Good boy to play with your toy!” When he picks up your slipper, correct him by saying something like, “No, that’s not yours!” Let him know what is wrong, then follow it by showing him what he can do instead and praise him when he does it. 

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.

Housetraining Your Chow Chow


There are many ways in life to achieve the same desired results. Of them, there are hard ways and easy ways, right ways and wrong ways.

The best course is to combine the easy way with the right way and get the best results. This requires a lot of supervision and positive reinforcement. Let’s see how best to achieve what we want in order to housetrain our Chow Chow.

Where to begin: To get the kind of behavior you desire, you must:

Allocate an area for elimination outside the house

Show him the way to this spot

Praise him generously after he finishes If you praise and reward him immediately after he finishes his job, it encourages him to eliminate in that area alone. The odor of his urine that he leaves behind this time will linger till his next visit and he will soon mark that area as his sole place to do his business.

Time it right: At age six to eight weeks, your Chow Chow should go out to eliminate every couple of hours, though as he grows older, he can go out fewer times. In puppyhood, take him out at the following times of the day:

1 Upon waking in the morning

2 After naps

3 After each meal

4 After playing or a training session

5 After being left alone for a while

6 Just before bedtime


1. “Hurry up” or “Potty”—he power of your command: To hasten spend time watching TV there or reading as he gets busy with chewing a toy. If he is there all by himself, he begins to associate the area with isolation and may resist being there at all. To make this experience pleasurable, play with him there or a time, by throwing bits of kibble in to the crate and making him search for it. This is one way of making a game of his training.

Begin the dog’s potty time, teach him to eliminate when you give the command for it. So, say “hurry up” or “potty” in an encouraging tone just when he gets the urge to “go”. He will soon learn that when you say the command, he will begin to sniff, circle and then get down to business. Once he’s done, praise him lavishly.

2. Crate training: To give your pet a safe confinement during housetraining, he needs to be crate trained. If you introduce the crate to him in a fun way, your pup will take to crate confinement quickly and without fuss. And there’s more you can do too, such as:

Begin crate training at dinnertime. Give him his feed, one piece at returns he can play with them. To surprise him, hide a biscuit in the crate—even that’s fun!

If you pick up his toys, replace them in the crate, so that when he or defecate. If you are gone for long periods each day, why not consider a larger confinement area such as an exercise pen or small room?

Don’t crate him for longer than he can hold the urge to eliminate do it away from his crate space, say about 15-30 square feet. If he finds a particular spot eliminate, cover it with paper for easier cleaning.

If you give him a large area to eliminate in your absence, he can Excuse him his mistakes: If you leave him to himself, he’s bound to make mistakes. He needs to be supervised, so be with him at this time. Until he goes through four weeks of not eliminating in the house, don’t consider him housetrained. If he’s older, this should be a longer period.

Until then:

1. Keep a constant vigil over him

2. Set up baby gates to control his movements in the house

3. When unsupervised, confine him to his crate

4 Does he wet himself? If he squats and urinates when he greets you in puppyhood, he may probably suffer from submissive urination. Such dogs are hypersensitive and should not be scolded for this behavior, since punishment only worsens the problem. However, as he grows older, he will no longer do this if you are calm and quiet. Or you could ask him to sit down for a tasty treat till someone greets him.

5. Once he has made a mess:

6. Remove all urine and fecal odor so that your Chow Chow does not return to the same spot in your house where he made a mess.

7. Use a good deodorizer for doggy odors.

8. If he’s urinated on a carpet, saturate it with a cleaning agent.

9. Shut off all those rooms in your house where your Chow Chow has made frequent mistakes. Let him enter here only when accompanied by a family member.

Correcting his “mistakes”: It’s quite natural for a dog to make a mess during the housetraining period. This is why you need t be ready to handle these problems.

Here’s how:

Don’t punish him sternly when he makes a mistake as this only delays training. In order to correct his behavior, make a startling sound, a sharp noise or say “No” loudly. Do this when you catch him red-handed, but be sure not to be too loud or he will eliminate in front of you or perhaps even outdoors. Be patient. Don’t scold him after he has stopped soiling the area. Once he finishes, take him into the yard where he can finish in the area he has marked and when he finishes, praise him.

Don’t rub his nose into his mess. This will not teach him not to repeat it and will only end up making him frightened of you. 

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.

When is Your Dog Old Enough to be Left Unsupervised in the House

My dog is seven months-old. He hasn’t destroyed anything in the house in several months. Is he old enough to be left alone, unsupervised? Thanks, Kay Dear Kay: It’s an issue of maturity.

At seven months, he’s still too immature. And he’s still got his second teething phase to go through, which can be from 7 to 9 months of age. I recommend waiting until the dog is between 1 and 1.5 years of age. If he’s still a perfect gentleman, then start leaving him for short periods of time and gradually walk your way up to leaving him for longer periods.

My philosophy is: If you want the perfect dog, why take unnecessary risks? Because if you let him learn he can destroy something in the house and get away with it, then you’ve undone months of work. But if you do it right the first time, he’ll be a joy for the next 15 years. Which is not to say that he won’t if he makes a mistake, but what’s the point in rushing the process? The dog is still young. In this case, it’s a lot like a child.

At 13 years old, a child MAY be mature enough to be left home alone for a weekend. But more than likely, you’re asking for parties, sex, alcohol, poor decisions… you name it. So, you instinctively know to wait until the child is a little older and a little more mature. It’s the same with dogs.

How to Use the Holidays to Improve Your Dog’s Training

Are you stressed about people coming over to your house for the holidays and your dog not behaving? Take advantage of this opportunity and use it to improve your dog’s performance. Many visitors means that your dog will be confronted with many distractions.

With my approach to dog training, new and different distractions are a welcome occurence. It means that you’ll get to proof your dog around all kinds of things that aren’t part of his normal routine. (Or part of your regular training regimen). Remember: Always let your dog make the decision: If he makes the right decision, then he gets all the praise in the world. IF he makes the wrong decision, he gets a correction (not punishment) … and then the change to make the decision again.

For example: “Lay down and stay,” … When Uncle Bernie comes in the house, it’s not the dog’s decision to stay down (as you commanded) or get up and be rude. Well, if your dog makes the right decision– then he gets nothing BUT PRAISE!!!! If he makes the wrong decision, he immediately gets corrected and put back into the down decision, and then is allowed to make his decision again.