House training tips

Dachshunds are notoriously hard to housebreak. In fact, some have argued they in the top 20 of hard to housebreak dogs. Consistent crate training is mandatory. Sometimes a doggy door is necessary. And some owners never do get their Dachshunds fully housebroken.

Scolded Dachshund

If you happen to acquire a dog that is not house trained such as a puppy or a adopt an adult dog that for whatever reason, is no longer house trained, you will have to plan on the first 2 - 3 weeks of constant vigilance and taking extra precautions to make the house training successful.

House training is getting your dog to relieve himself outside or in a prepared place indoors. There are two commonly methods used to accomplish this goal: Direct Method and the Paper Method.

Use the Direct Method to train your dog to relieve himself outdoors which is appropriate for dogs that have fenced yards or if you want to walk him on his leash to go. The Paper Method is used predominately for indoor dogs that don't have easy access to outdoors.

Whichever method you decide upon, you'll need to watch for obvious signs that signal a dog needs to relieve himself. If your dog suddenly lowers its head and starts sniffing around, you need to act immediately. If you dog is in the room with you and then suddenly leaves the room, they probably are looking for a place to go. Again, you need to act immediately. What you do depends on which training method you're going to use.

Direct method

The objective of the Direct Method is to get the puppy to associate relieving himself outside with your praise. The following techniques will help you to teach your dog this method:

  1. Take your dog outside regularly, especially right after eating (go with him). If he urinates and/or defecates outside, then praise him right away. If he doesn’t go right away (within 10 minutes) then take him outside at least once every hour after that so he has every opportunity to relieve himself outside. Keep a close eye on him in between the outdoor trips. Act immediately if you notice any of the obvious signals already mentioned.

  2. If he defecates inside before you can get him outside, then scold him sharply, but don't smack, slap or punish the dog in any way. Immediately take him outside. Soak up the indoor accident with a newspaper and take that paper outside to the place where you want your puppy to relieve himself.

  3. Once outside, don't scold the dog, otherwise he may associate the scolding with going outside. When outdoors it is worth returning to the same spot of earlier defecation's and urination's so your dog associates those areas with proper outdoor defecation.

For the Direct Method to work quickly it's important not to let your puppy urinate or defecate inside at all. A dog associates relieving themselves in places where they have gone before. They know these areas by smell. If your dog has indoor accidents, clean them up thoroughly with special dog-odor neutralizers to spray on the soiled areas to remove all traces of the odors.

Paper method

If your situation is such that going outdoors is not practical, then the Paper Method of house training will be required. For this method to work correctly, you'll need to set aside a specific room for two to four weeks until you get the results you're after. The room should be small, and preferably one without carpet (carpet is harder to clean).

  1. Cover the floor entirely with newspapers. This will take a lot of newspapers initially, so if you don't have enough on hand, start saving before the dog comes home.

  2. After your eating, place your dog in the room on the papers. Stay in there with him. As soon as he goes, praise him.

  3. After he goes, remove all the newspapers and dispose of them except for one that was nearby where he went.

  4. Put fresh newspapers over the entire floor again, then place the one old paper on top of the new papers. Your dog will be able to sniff out the old sheet and should return to that spot when he needs to go again. You'll have to watch for the obvious signals to move them to the room. And as in the Direct Method, you'll want to move them to the room immediately after eating, rising, and before going to bed.

  5. In time he'll start reusing the same spot. Until then, gradually reduce the area of floor covered by papers until your down to just the one sheet. Just don't leave your daily newspaper laying about on the floor or it'll confuse your dog.

  6. As you reduce the area covered by newspapers, watch your dog so you can catch him when he is about to go. If he goes on the paper, praise him right away. If not then scold him immediately and lead him back to the paper.

  7. Once a dog has been paper-trained you can continue with this method indefinitely. Give your dog fresh papers, but if possible always leave a small scrap of the old paper on the new. The Paper Method can also be used in combination with the Direct Method.

Basic tips to help with house training

During the initial training it's critical that you not let your dog relieve itself in the wrong place. The more times he's allowed to go in the wrong place, the more he thinks it's ok to go wherever he wants. Good observation on your part is essential to preventing accidents. Watch for the obvious signals.

To help keep track of your dog you can loosely tie your dog's leash to yourself or something else close by to help with supervision process. This way your dog can't wander off without you knowing it. Never leave your dog tethered when you're not supervising him as he could easily choke on a tangled leash.

Regulate feeding and watering

Regulate your dog’s water and food intake during the day. You can then watch your dog closely for that critical hour after feeding to can catch him in the act. Most dogs will want to relieve themselves 15-20 minutes after eating. They're also more likely to go when they wake up in the morning, just before bed time and after playing or going for a car ride.

For water, give your dog fresh water in the morning so they'll have water immediately after eating. Then take up the water dish so they don't have access to it throughout the day. When feeding, leave the food out for no longer than 20 minutes and, if it is not eaten remove it. The idea is to train the dog to eat and drink at one sitting. This will give you a better idea of when they are likely to go.

Rewards for good behavior

Praise your dog immediately when he goes in the right place. Show him just how pleased you are that he's done the right thing. Positive reinforcement is the best way for your dog to associate that he's gone in the right place. Rewards are best delivered immediately after the good deed.

Restrict access inside the house

If you have to leave your dog inside alone make sure he stays in a defined space. Don't give your dog full run of the house during this training period. Running free is an open invitation for mistakes. Confine him to one room, preferably the one that has his crate or kennel and one that doesn't have carpeting.

Stay with him when he goes outside

Go outside with your dog to do his business. Some dogs may feel anxious about being left alone outside and won't be able to go until they come back indoors where they feel safe under your protection. Being outdoors with them also gives you the opportunity to serve up some well deserved praise when they do go successfully.

Vocal support pays off

Whenever your dog is in the right location and you see your dog's about to relieve himself, use a command such as “good potty” or whatever you feel comfortable saying out loud, so your dog forms an association between this command and his actions. Soon you'll be able to give the command and he will know that it's time to take care of business.

Persistence is the key

To fully grasp what is not allowed will take quite a period of time for your dog to grasp. Your dog may still be leaving the occasional “present” for you when he is six to twelve months old. Hence you must be realistic about your dog’s progress, meaning you must be patient and alert for opportunities to teach good behavior.

Correcting bad behavior

Correcting bad behavior is best done when you can catch your dog in the act—not even 5 seconds later. The best way that I have found to correct this behavior when caught in the act, is to startle him by sharply saying “no!” If you have a squirt bottle at hand, squirt a stream of water at the same time you give the command. After this corrective action is administered, wait 5 minutes then redirect him to the area where you want him to go. The corrective action usually interrupts the elimination process and your dog will still have to go. When he does go reward him with praise.

Punishment never works

Never rub a dog’s nose in its mess. This does not help correct the situation. Rubbing the nose in the mess only makes your dog fearful of you. It may stop him from going in your presence, but it won’t stop him going in the wrong place. I know sometimes in difficult situations you can't hold back your rage, but you have too.

Unless you correct bad behavior within a few seconds of it occurring it is pointless to take any corrective punishment. Your dog won't even know why you're rubbing his nose in it.

Never hit your dog with a newspaper or your hand, in fact, never hit your dog with anything. It does nothing but make your dog afraid of you and not trust you, making future training even more difficult.