How to Stop Dogs From Piddling

When dogs focus upward, they sit down to steady themselves.

When dogs focus upward, they sit down to steady themselves.

Housebreaking a dog is essential for the happiness of your pooch and the sanity of the owner. Dogs instinctively hate soiling their "den," but during the housebreaking process, it’s highly likely he’ll have accidents. The trick to successful housebreaking is preventing accidents and rewarding appropriate urination.

Teach the Sit Command

Conceal a treat in your hand and walk toward your dog. Move your hand toward his nose so he picks up the scent of the treat.

Move your hand behind your dog’s head slowly so he follows the scent with his nose. As you do this, say “sit” in a friendly voice. As you do this, your dog will reposition his body to get a better sniff. Eventually he’ll sit down in order to keep his nose on scent.

Release the treat as soon as his posterior hits the floor. Upon releasing the treat, give him lots of fuss and praise. With enough practice, your dog will learn that sitting action has a positive consequence. Repeat this exercise until he repeats the action out of habit. Eventually, you’ll be able to get rid of the treat and just your hand for guidance. Once he’s totally familiar with the command, tell him to sit without the hand movement. The sit command is a great distraction for when you catch your dog doing something he shouldn’t be doing.

In Practice

Monitor your dog’s routine. Make a diary of when he typically piddles. Keep a note of how long after eating, drinking and waking he goes. Also note the gestures and body language that he exhibits just before piddling. Typically, he’ll pace, circle, whine and possibly paw at the door. This information will enable you to be on hand to interrupt him before he gets a chance relieve himself.

Observe your dog. Use your understanding of his routine to anticipate when he’s likely to go.

Issue the sit command as soon as you think he’s about to piddle. This distracts him from doing what he was about to do. Once seated, give lots of praise then gently guide him into the garden or appropriate place for peeing.

Give a command for him to go to the toilet, such as “potty.”

Reward him for going in the correct place. The trick here is to time the command at the exact moment he begins to go. This way, he’ll build a strong and clear association between the command and the action. With sufficient repetition, he’ll learn that going in the spot you have chosen for him has a positive outcome. Eventually, he’ll learn to wait until he is in that spot. But until he figures this out, use the distraction technique to stop him from piddling where you don’t want him to.

Items you will need

  • Treats

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About the Author

Simon Foden has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He began his writing career after graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in music from Salford University. He has contributed to and written for various magazines including "K9 Magazine" and "Pet Friendly Magazine." He has also written for

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