A dog or puppy is either housebroken or not. If your dog is sneaking off into another room and having an accident, you will have to take some of his freedom away until you can solve the problem. The longer you allow this type of behavior to exist, the harder it will be to modify. Unless you can catch him, it really does no good to drag him off to the site of his mishap and try and punish him. Keep him in sight if he is bold enough to try something in front of you, say “no”, get his attention and take him outdoors quickly so he can finish eliminating in the appropriate area. Remember, it is your house. He has to earn his freedom through good behavior and this is your responsibility.

Start by establishing an elimination spot outdoors. In the morning, clip his leash to his collar and take the dog outdoors to his spot for elimination. State commands like “go potty” or “hurry up.” After he does his duty, bring the dog inside for food and water. About 15 to 20 minutes after the meal, take the dog outside again for elimination. Take your dog to his “spot” at each elimination time. Maintain a regular feeding, drinking, and elimination schedule.

One of the most commonly made errors in housebreaking is rushing too quickly ahead of your dog. Too much freedom too quickly can cause confusion. If your dog experiences an accident or two, you will have to back up and slow down. Marking should not be confused with housebreaking problems because marking is deliberate. This behavior will arise in dogs who may be trying to vie for the role of the leader in the household; marking is a way of claiming territory. It is advised that if you should notice this behavior indoors or out, you strengthen all obedience commands immediately. This will remove all doubts as to who is in charge around the house.

Providing your dog with a crate that is way too large may allow him to relieve himself in one end and sleep in the other. Placing food or water in his crate will allow him to fill up his bladder and bowel and he will have no choice but to relieve himself in his crate. Make sure you take your dog or puppy outdoors to eliminate on a regular schedule and especially prior to being left alone for long periods of time.

If you have tried all of the above and are still experiencing what you believe to be “territorial marking,” consult you veterinarian. Your dog/puppy may have a bladder infection and its always better to be safe, not sorry. If your dog/puppy is not spayed or neutered you may want to talk to your veterinarian about this procedure. It usually has a very positive effect on this type of behavior problem.

Even well-trained dogs sometimes have accidents. Clean this accident area with a pet odor neutralizer so your dog won’t be tempted to repeat his mistake. Here are some tips to help prevent accidents:

Do not make sudden changes in his diet.

Avoid giving your dog late night snacks.

Make sure to spend enough time outdoors.