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House Training Adult Dogs


What NOT to Do

  • Do not rub your dog’s nose in her waste.
  • Do not scold your dog for eliminating indoors. Instead, if you catch her in the act, make a noise to startle her and stop her from urinating or defecating. Then immediately show your dog what you want her to do by running with her outside, waiting until she goes, and then immediately rewarding her.
  • Do not physically punish your dog for accidents. Do not hit her with newspaper, spank her or jerk her collar. Realize that if your dog has an accident in the house, you failed to adequately supervise her, you didn’t take her outside frequently enough, or you ignored or were unaware of her signals that she needed to go outside. Punishment might frighten your dog and could even worsen her house training problems.
  • Do not confine your dog to a small area for hours each day without taking other steps to correct the problem.
  • Do not crate your dog if she soils in the crate. This will just teach the bad habit of soiling the sleeping area and will make it even harder to house train your dog.
  • If your dog enjoys being outside, don’t bring her inside right after she eliminates or she might learn to “hold it” so that she can stay outside longer. Wait for her to eliminate and then go for a fun walk or briefly play with her before taking her back indoors.
  • Do not clean accidents with an ammonia-based cleanser. Urine contains ammonia. Cleaning with ammonia might attract your dog back to the same spots to urinate again. 

WebMD Veterinary Reference from ASPCA Virtual Pet Behaviorist

The ASPCA Virtual Pet Behaviorist specializes in the resolution and management of pet behavior problems only. Please do not submit questions about medical problems here. Only licensed veterinarians can diagnose medical conditions. If you think that your pet is sick, injured or experiencing any kind of physical distress, please contact his veterinarian immediately. A delay in seeking proper veterinary care may worsen your pet's condition and put his life at risk. If you are concerned about the cost of veterinary care, please read our resources on finding financial help.
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