If Fido sometimes leaves you wet and smelly surprises on the floor, he might not be fully housebroken yet. To avoid constantly cleaning the carpet, teach your pet companion to use easy-to-discard puppy pads when he can't get to his outdoor potty and Mother Nature calls.
Place a puppy pad in a small, easily accessible area of the house, such as the kitchen, laundry room or bathroom. Use a room with a tile or linoleum floor that's easy to clean in case Fido has an accident. Avoid placing the pad near his feeding area, because his instinct will tell him not to relieve himself there.
Show your dog the puppy pad and observe him as he roams the room. Use a baby gate to limit his access to the rest of the house. Don't let him out of your sight.
Pick Fido up if you notice him sniffing or circling profusely in an area away from the puppy pad. This behavior indicates that he's about to relive himself. Bring him to the puppy pad and place him on top of it.
Tell your pet companion to "go potty" and patiently wait for him to relieve himself on the pad. Always use the same command so he associates it with the desired action.
Overwhelm Fido with hugs and give him a treat within three seconds after he's done doing his business on the puppy pad. Don't wait too long to praise him -- you want him to associate the outpouring of love and attention with his successful use of the puppy pad.
Tie your dog to a long leash if you want to grant him more access to the house. Attach the leash to your belt or to a sturdy piece of furniture. Ensure the leash isn't too long to the point where you can't observe his every move.
Stay consistent and keep repeating the same process -- stop Fido in his tracks before having an accident, bring him to the puppy pad and reward and praise him after relieving himself. Over time, your dog will start realizing what's expected of him and will start using the puppy pad on his own.
Move the puppy pad closer to the front door if you want to fully housebreak Fido. Bring him to the pad if he doesn't already go by himself and lavishly reward him after using it.
Move the puppy pad to a designated outdoor potty area and bring him there each time he needs to go potty. Remove the puppy pad after your dog consistently uses the outdoor potty area.
- Put your dog on a regular feeding schedule so he's more likely to relieve himself at the same times each day.
- Use a bacterial enzyme odor eliminator to clean up indoor accidents. This eliminates any scents that might trigger your dog's urge to relieve himself again in the same spot.
- Never scold or punish your dog when he has an accident. This only makes him fear you and he might continue the unwanted behavior when you're not around. Simply clean up the mess and put the soiled paper towel on the puppy pad. It will help him recognize his potty location.
- While housebreaking your dog, place him in a confined area or in a crate if you're unable to watch him.
- Consult your veterinarian if your dog keeps having indoor accidents -- a medical condition, such as kidney failure or a urinary tract infection might be causing the behavior.
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.