What’s Missing From his House Training Efforts

Dear Adam: We adopted a one year old cocker poo from a shelter about 3 weeks ago. Our main concern with him right now is getting him housebroken. He has had 6-7 accidents on the carpet so far. We keep him in a crate at night and when we are away from home (no more than 4 hours at a time).

We have been trying to take him to the same spot in the yard to “potty” and then praise him when he goes. We feed and water him in the morning and evening, but he shows no regularity. It is noon today and he hasn’t peed or pooped since last night. Sometimes he will go first thing in the morning. I have been crating him when I bring him in from outside and he hasn’t gone potty, but feel sorry for him cooped up all the time.

Should I be doing this? How often should I be taking him out? HOw often should I expect him to go? I don’t know how to expect him to “tell” us that he needs to go out. We have not had a dog in about ten years, so we are really lost.

Thanks so much, Angi.

Dear Angi:

The one thing that you have not mentioned is the most important thing: Using the tab/short leash and training collar to correct your dog when he eliminates in the house.

Even if you do none of the rest, your dog will still understand the house training concept  as long as you create a negative association with eliminating in the house. All the rest is just icing on the cake that will speed up your results, but without correcting your dog, you are left hoping and praying.