A lot of people believe a hunting dog belongs in the yard, on a chain or
in a pen, or even just running around. We have several who live happily outside, but some
of our favorites are also well-mannered house dogs.
We have also noticed with our hunting dogs that the indoor dogs have bonded with us better
then the dogs that do not live indoors and give us more in the woods, respond better to
verbal commands, and understand what we want of the more quickly and easily.
As a dog trainer, it amazes me how few house dogs are truly, reliably house trained. In
addition to our Feist and Cur addiction, we also raise and train Dobermans, many going to
guard and protect luxury homes, and it would absolutely unacceptable for them to have
Contrary to popular belief, rubbing their noses in their mess is NOT the answer. It
teaches them they CAN mess in the house, but we need to teach them that they can't.
Teaching a dog or pup that messing in the house is "bad" is a step sideways.
Teaching them that "outside" is where they must go to relieve themselves allows
us to avoid correcting them for something they are going to do regardless as well as to
avoid correcting a young pup we are trying to bond with and have learn to respond to us
The key to success is not allowing the accidents to happen, and preventing the start of an
unacceptable behavior in the first place. Here is how to do it;
First, go buy a crate! A size "400" should be appropriate for just about any but
the very largest of Curs, and a "300" is appropriate for all adult Feists. You
may prefer to start with a slightly smaller crate for a pup as they are less likely to
soil ion a more confined area.
A crate is not cruel.
The puppies feel safe having a "den" of their own, especially when going to
their new homes. (Human babies are put in playpens. This is comparable. No baby can safely
have complete access to the entire house.)
Crates double as "indoor doghouses" in many ways, and getting your puppy used to
a crate will prove to be a wonderful convenience in the future. And the dogs LIKE having
their own private space. Many of ours retreat to their crates voluntarily, especially in
the evenings to sleep.
Here are the rules to follow to successfully house train your puppy;
1.) Remember that puppies under 12 weeks are not likely to be able to control themselves
even if they don't like to soil their crates!
2.) Lock your puppy in the crate at night and when you are not at home.
3.) When you wake up or come home, take the puppy out of the crate and carry
it outside to an appropriate area. When it "goes", praise it, show it what it
did, and praise it some more. Bring it to the same area every time. Once it has the idea
you can lead it on a leash, but to start out, pick it up so it has no opportunity to make
4.) Assuming it does 'go', bring the puppy in and offer food and water.
5.) Take it back out in 15 minutes. If it "goes" again, you should be safe for
about an hour. If not, retry every 15 minutes until it does. Be sure to lock it in the
crate if you have to take your eyes off of it even for a minute! A lot of pups prefer to
relieve themselves in private and will wonder off to a secluded corner to do so.
6.) The puppy must be taken out every hour if it "goes" and every 15 minutes if
it doesn't, AND be crated if you can not watch it closely. The success of this method
relies upon the owner not allowing the puppy to make any mistakes.
7.) Always allow your puppy the opportunity to relieve itself before being crated.
8.) Do not give your puppy any water for at least 2 hours before being crated for any
length of time or overnight. (We pick up the water at 5:00 P.M. in the winter and at 6
P.M. in the summer.)
8.) Understand that if your puppy soils the crate repeatedly at first, that it probably
was unable to wait and is still too young to control itself. (It should be able to by
about 10 to 12 weeks.) Do not punish or discipline the puppy if it soils the crate. Act
surprised (NOT angry!) that it would do such a thing, and carry it to the appropriate
9.) Do not ever leave your puppy in the house unsupervised until it can be trusted!
"Trust it" overnight before trusting it "home alone". Remember, they
chew and teeth,
too. It is reasonable to expect your puppy to be house trained acceptably by approximately
6 months. However, I still crate them when I will be gone until they are done teething!
Generally, this is prior to one year of age with Feists and Curs (and 18 months or so with
10.) Do not leave your puppy in the crate for very long periods of time. Overnight is
fine, but if you must also leave for work in the morning, make sure the puppy has at
least a full hour of exercise in a fenced in area in between eating and being recrated.
If possible, try to come home at lunch to take the puppy out, or have a friend or
neighbor take the puppy out for you. If you can not arrange that, leave it outside until
you come home.
11.) Let your puppy learn that being in the house is a privilege,
not a right, and teach them to appreciate the privilege. Puppies will go potty when they
need to, but you can teach them where is appropriate and where is not. This is similar to
teaching them not to chew. Puppies WILL chew, but they can easily learn to chew on their
toys, not yours!
If you follow these steps, house training your puppy will not be difficult. Do not
allow it to make mistakes, and it won't. I have NEVER had anybody tell me that they had
reliably and conscientiously followed this method and not been successful.
Remember, it is much more difficult to correct an improper behavior than to teach a proper
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