Shana Bohac is a local veterinarian who writes a column about animal issues.

Shana Bohac

Shana Bohac

House training your dog can be a frustrating task. There is nothing more taxing than letting your puppy outside for an hour and him coming in the house, squatting and urinating.

You can easily teach your dog to eliminate in appropriate areas (outside, on a potty pad, etc) with a little determination, time, attention and positive reinforcement.

A key part of training your puppy is to not allow him to wander around your home without direct supervision. You will need to keep a close eye on him and recognize signs that he is about to eliminate. These signs include sniffing the ground and circling.

If you do notice these signs, quickly and calmly take him out to the designated area for elimination purposes.

You will also want to begin a regular routine. Feed your dog at the same time every day. Once your pet is done eating or after an allotted amount of time, pick up the food bowl and take your dog out to potty. This will help teach him to eliminate after meals.

It is also important to remember that puppies like to eliminate not only after eating or drinking, but also after playing, resting or being confined.

It is helpful to take your puppy to the designated area after each of these events in order to prevent accidents.

Puppies are unable to control their bladder; therefore, you need to take them out every 30 to 60 minutes. Each time you take your pet out to potty use verbal cues such as “go potty” so that he knows this is what you want.

When your pet does eliminate in the appropriate area, praise him, pet him and reward him with a treat immediately. This is called positive reinforcement and is a key part of house training.

Part of your regular routine should include confining your new puppy to a small area or kennel when you can’t directly observe him. This area will be your pet’s “home” when you are away from home. As he gets older, the desire to eliminate in his home will decrease.

Prevention is key with house training. If you can catch your pet before there is an accident then you will be able to show your pet where the appropriate location to eliminate is and you can positively reinforce the good behavior.

If you do not catch your pet in time, it is best not to scold him. Simply clean up and deodorize the area so they will not associate that area with eliminating.

Consistency and praise are key ingredients to successful house training. Make time to appropriately train your dog.

The earlier you can house train the more likely you will be successful. It is never too early to get your pet into good habits.

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Dr. Shana Bohac is a veterinarian and the owner of Navarro Small Animal Clinic.

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