Housetraining Issues With Dogs

What to do if your dog has an accident with housetraining

See also dog house training methods and dog separation anxiety cures

dog housetrainingWhile you are doing housebreaking training, there is a chance that you may have some housetraining issues with your dog

He might have a accident and do business where he's not supposed to.  Though you may be angry when this happens, stay calm and don't get discouraged. 

Every dog who eventually becomes housetrained has had an accident at one point or another. 

If there seem to be recurring housetraining issues with your dog, give it some time and stick to the methods.  Just like with children, it takes repetition for your dog to figure out the right action.

What should I do when my dog has an accident?

When your dog has an accident inside (whether during housetraining or afterwards) your first reaction may be to punish your dog, but DON’T DO IT. Don’t punish your dog and don’t let him know that you’re angry because of his mess.

There’s an outdated way of housebreaking dogs that involves “showing” your dog what he did wrong by pushing his face close to his mess. This will not help your dog become housetrained and it is likely to cause more housetraining issues with your dog. Your dog does not see a connection between the accident he had hours ago and your anger when you return home to his mess. Punishing your dog at this point only leads him to believe that you just come home in a bad mood.

When your dog messes in the house, you should greet him normally, immediately put him outside and then clean up the mess. If he uses the bathroom when he’s outside, praise him as usual. Continue with the housetraining methods and possibly give your dog more frequent potty breaks. 

Action to take if your dog is already housetrained and has an accident

dog housetraining issuesIf your dog is already housetrained but seems to be having recent housetraining issues, you may have to do some detective work to figure out the cause.  The first thing you want to rule out is illness, so make sure your dog is eating regularly and even take him to the vet for a checkup to be sure. 

Another possible cause for housetraining issues with your dog is a change in your household.  Have you moved to a new home or welcomed a new family member or another dog into your house?  These elements could be stressors that are upsetting your dog's routine.  Help your dog get back into housetraining behaviors by reinforcing his training with praise when the desired action is taken.

And a third reason for dog housetraining issues could be separation anxiety.  These are situations where your dog deliberately does his business in your bed or on objects that belong to you (like shoes.)  This could also be the cause if your dog keeps his housetraining when you're home, but reverts to bad behaviors when you leave him alone.  If this sounds familiar, see separation anxiety for solutions.