How to be awesome at housebreaking a dog

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The first step in housebreaking a dog is realizing that housetraining a puppy is a ton of work. So before you take that cute little guy home, read through this and make sure you - and your carpet - are ready for it.


You mean you already have one of those wriggly, cuddly, fluffy-tailed creatures? Oh. In that case, realize this: you have no choice.

Guy Kantak, a Columbus trainer who goes by "The K9 Guy," can work magic with dogs. He says even new puppy parents can see results in the first week - and while you can teach an old dog new tricks, the earlier the better.

Now, let's follow an imaginary bulldog puppy, Winkle, through some training process tips.

1. Schedule.

Feed Winkle on a regular schedule, which will, well, keep Winkle regular.

2. Stare.

If you see Winkle sniffing and circling, it's usually a good clue he means business. But dogs have their own habits, so make sure you pay attention and learn his signals.

3. Spot.

Designate a special potty spot. Obviously, going outside anywhere is awesome. But when you step outside - using a leash to keep him focused - go to the same spot each time. Repetitive behavior is key.

4. Scream.

Here's a housebreaking tip that applies to any form of training: Praise (or scolding) must happen immediately, or he won't make the connection. And if an accident happens while you're at work, don't expect him to understand when you start yelling hours later.

5. Smell.

Which brings us to something pet owners often overlook. Carpet cleaner isn't enough to get rid of accidents for good. Clean up messes with an enzymatic cleaner that removes odors, because if Winkle can still smell it, he will return. And "even though you might not be able to smell it, they still can," Kantak said.