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Healthy Dogs

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House Training Adult Dogs

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Paper Training

Paper training your dog is not recommended unless there is a specific reason to do so. For instance, you might want to paper train your dog if you live in a high-rise apartment and your dog can’t “hold it” until you get her outside, or if you have an untrained dog and you have mobility problems, or if you have a dog who refuses to eliminate outside. If you do choose to paper train your puppy or dog, keep in mind that paper training leads to a period of confusion should you attempt to switch to outdoors. A paper-trained dog learns that it’s acceptable to relieve herself in the home, and she might develop a preference for eliminating on a specific surface, such as newspaper, house-training pads or adult diapers. So if you ever plan on having your dog eliminate outdoors, it’s best to teach her to do that from day one.

Training a puppy or dog to use a papered area in your home is accomplished in much the same way as training her to go outside. Confine your puppy or dog for a period of time, and then take her on a leash to the paper or pads. Wait until she goes. Praise and reward her with treats for going in the right place. At the same time, treat accidents anywhere but on the paper just as you would if you were training your dog to eliminate outside. Clap to startle your dog if you catch her in the act, carry her or take her by the collar to lead her, and run to the paper so that she can finish in the appropriate place. Restrict your dog’s access to a small area of your home so that you can always monitor her whereabouts. Her tendency to return to the papered area will increase if you gradually increase her access to new areas of your house. Until your dog is house trained, if you are unable to keep an eye on her, confine her to a crate or a small area where she will not eliminate.

Some dogs are a bit careless about keeping within the boundaries of the paper. Make sure papers are replaced frequently so that your dog is not forced to move off the paper to avoid getting her feet soiled. You can help your dog understand where you want her to eliminate if you can somehow outline the space visually. Low garden fencing can be set up to surround the potty area with an opening for your dog to move through. Another option is to provide your dog with a commercially available indoor bathroom, such as the Patio Park ( This product holds a two-by-four-foot section of grass, which is kept alive by a self-irrigation system. A white picket fence surrounds the grass, with a yellow fire hydrant in front. The sod needs to be sprayed regularly with odor neutralizer and replaced monthly. A less attractive but highly effective alternative is to place a plastic tarp on your balcony and cover the tarp with grass sod. (In order to try this option, you must have an enclosed, secure balcony to ensure the safety of your dog.) The benefit of using sod inside is that your dog will develop a preference for eliminating on grass, so she should be equally comfortable going outdoors.

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