My Meridian Star Article: Go Outdoors, Not On My Floors!

Go Outdoors, Not on My Floors!
By: Ashley Owen Hill, guest columnist

So many new pet owners have experienced the joy of ruined carpets, floors, and furniture due to indoor potty breaks. Not to mention that lovely fragrance… quite similar to potpourri.

Housebreaking can be difficult, and most people are very misguided. Everyone has heard this advice: ‘When you see urine on the floor, stick their nose in it, pop them, and say No!’ Sounds brilliant, right? If brilliant means ineffective, then yes. It’s genius.

Why so? When you scold your dog after the fact, he assumes the punishment is for the mess itself. But he doesn’t understand that making the mess is the issue. Pets can’t make this connection. Your dog just thinks you are a neat freak who doesn’t like messiness. That’s why pups often look guilty when you notice their floor jewelry; they can’t comprehend that the problem is actually how those precious gems got there.

Focus on preventing accidents, not punishment after the fact. If your dog ruins your rug because you didn’t take him outside when he needed to go, it’s not his fault!

The trick is to catch your dog in the act. When you discover your dog eliminating inside, say ‘No!’ and immediately take him outside. Always give praise after your dog goes in the right area.

New dogs and puppies present the most challenges. When bringing a new dog to your home, first introduce him to the yard area that will act as his restroom. Wait for the dog to relieve himself, and give tons of praise when he does so. This will lay the groundwork for future bathroom behavior.

During training, take your dog out frequently. Go outside with him each time and give praise. I know the urge to be lazy is strong, but outdoor trips with your dog will reduce indoor cleanup. They won’t know what pleases you, unless you are there to tell them.

Important note, puppies don’t have bladder and bowel control. They eliminate frequently, and it’s not their fault. If you want a pee-free house, you must accommodate their needs. Set a bathroom schedule and stick to it. Take your puppy out first thing in the morning, after meals and playtime, and right before bed. Establishing a routine will help your dog understand when and where to go.

Crate training is a great housebreaking method. Most dogs won’t eliminate in their sleeping area, so crates are very effective in reducing cleanup while teaching them not to potty indoors. Always take your dog outside immediately after release from their crate, and give praise.

Puppy pads are very effective for some, but not all. I have a pup that uses the pads to make confetti. With this method, take your dog directly to the puppy pad when you catch them eliminating indoors, and give praise for pad usage.

As with all training, be consistent. It’s not fair to punish your dog if they don’t know what’s expected of them. Instead of spanking your pup for indoor surprises, you should spank yourself for not taking him out.

Ashley Owen Hill is the owner of Lucky Dog Retreat, 8659 Hillview Dr, Meridian. Email her at Ashley@luckydogretreatmeridian.com. Follow her blog at www.luckydogrescueblog.blogspot.com.


  1. Thanks for this, I am already putting this into practice with Jimmy 2 Shoes!

  2. Do you have any tips for potty training multiple dogs at once? We recently added 2 new about 1 year old dogs to our home and are having a hard time getting them trained. We have a schedule and take them out every 2 hours during the day, right away when they are let out of the crate in the morning, after they eat and before bed. They are getting better at night and will stay crated for about 7 hours at night which is a huge improvement from the 3 hours when we first brought them home, but we are still struggling during the day. It seems that no matter how often and how long they are out within 10 minutes of coming back in there is a mess. Any tips would be amazing or and if you have any tips for getting the smell out of hard wood floors that would also be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


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