The #1 Reason Why Most Owners Have Difficulty Housebreaking Their Dog

Published:  05/09/2023

I have consulted hundreds if not thousands of owners that are having difficulty housetraining their puppy or older dog.

There are often various reasons why the owner may be having difficulty, but most all untrained dogs have one thing in common:

The dog is not receiving adequate supervision inside the home. 

Anytime I consult a house training problem, there are 2 questions that let me know that lack of supervision is the problem.

  1. How many accidents is your dog currently having inside the home per week on average?
  2. Of those accidents, how many times to do you witness the dog in the act of going?

If your answers to these questions differ greatly in number, you are not going to have a housetrained dog anytime soon.

For instance, if your dog has an average of 10 accidents per week and you only catch them in the act of going twice during the week, then your dog is not receiving appropriate feedback from you 80% of the time. This is a sure way to never reach your housetraining goals.

Now if your dog has 10 accidents on average per week and you catch them 8 of those 10 times, then you are doing pretty well.  100 percent would be better, but many dogs are able to become fully housetrained at this percentage especially if they are young puppies.

In a perfect world, you are not having any accidents in the home because you are being diligent about taking the dog out, but it is very common for young puppies to make lots of mistakes in the beginning stages. However, if you are not there to witness the accident and give your dog feedback, it is not an accident at all from the dog’s point of view.  In fact a dog that is not being properly supervised will learn to seek out areas away from the owner when they feel the need to relieve themselves.

The quickest way to housetrain any dog is to follow this 4 step protocol:

  1. Schedule feed to regulate digestion.
  2. Give the dog ample opportunities to eliminate in the correct area.
  3. Confine the dog to an area such as crate or play pen when unable to supervise.
  4. Praise the dog lavishly when they eliminate in the correct area.

This formula will always work unless there is a medical condition that needs veterinary attention such as a urinary tract infection.  

If you keep finding accidents in your home, you are not supervising appropriately. It is that simple.

If you find it difficult to supervise your dog, it will help to start incorporating baby gates, tethers, and keeping your dog on leash at times.  The majority of free time inside the home should only occur right after the dog has went to the bathroom. Remember, the quicker you get the dog housetrained, the more freedom you will be able to provide.

Quick Tip
When you do catch your dog in the act of going, you should interrupt your dog by clapping or saying “No,No,No”. You do not want to go overboard and scare your puppy with your tone of voice. Calibrate the interruption to your dog’s sensitivity level so that it only gets the dog’s attention. Praise your dog heavily when they go in the correct spot outside.