Finding ways how to house train a dog for free isn't really a financial challenge, but more of a time consuming task. Housebreaking a dog can be a frustrating task, but the rewards of your hard work will pay off greatly when you don’t have to clean up messes every day. The best way to house train a dog for free is to use your creativity with plenty of patience.
Typically, pet owners will house train puppies instead of older dogs, but occasionally – especially when a senior dog is adopted – pets might not have been properly house trained in the past. It usually takes a little longer to house train an older dog, but with perseverance and consistency it can definitely be done nonetheless.
Some pet owners often opt in for investing into dog grass litter boxes to housebreak puppies; however, those come at a price. If you want to do this completely free of charge, then the most common way to house train a dog is to teach him to do his business outside.
How to House Train a Dog for Free
Where to begin housebreaking the dog?
The first step is to teach the dog that he is expected to go outside. Spend a significant amount of time with your dog outdoors, and chances are it won’t take very long for him to sniff the right spot and get the urge to go.
Once he uses the bathroom outside, be sure to praise him and give him plenty of pats. You can even incorporate some tasty dog treats for positive reinforcement. Let your dog know that you are pleased with him when he goes to the bathroom outside. This process will need several takes.
RELATED: How to Housebreak a Puppy Effectively
The next step is to teach him that it’s not okay to go in the house. During the housebreaking process, you should be constantly supervising your dog while he is inside until he is fully housebroken. Watch what he eats and drinks so you’ll have a good idea of when he needs to go.
If you see your Fido looking for a place to do his business, make sure to reprimand him and bring him outside. Once he goes outdoors – praise him, and give him a treat. Before you know it, he will begin to understand that going inside the house is not acceptable.
Potty paper training for housebreaking
Another common form of house training a dog is called potty paper training. Some people need their dogs to learn to use the bathroom in a certain spot in the house. This is most common when people live in apartments and don’t have adequate space outside for their dog to go whenever they need to.
For these specific cases, the mentioned grass litter boxes for dogs are often very useful, as well as potty training pads. See below for the article on which one's better. However, if you want to house train a dog for free, it's completely possible without buying any of the above products.
RELATED: Grass litter boxes or housebreaking training pads?
In addition to housebreaking dogs with the potty paper training method due to the lack of backyard, it is also common for elderly or disabled pet owners to use this house training technique. This is because they may not be able to take their pet outdoors multiple times during the day, so using tools like potty training pads are often helpful.
Potty paper training is very similar to teaching your dog to go outside. The only difference is that you put him on your self-made potty training pads, or whatever you put down for him to go on, instead of taking him outside. The concept of house training remains the same.
Crate training a dog to help with potty training
Crate training a dog is another common form of house training your pet. Dogs naturally will not go to the bathroom where they need to sleep, so if they are trained in a kennel, they learn very quickly to hold it in until they can go outside.
Kennel training certainly isn’t for everyone or every dog, but it is a very effective method. It also benefits pet owners with dogs that chew or misbehave in the house when left alone. Using dog crates with your pooch will also prove useful in the future for many different reasons.
Some pet owners believe kennel training is cruel, but that is not true in the least. If done correctly, your dog will begin to think of his kennel as a safe, den-like place where he is comfortable. Dogs absolutely love their crates. He’ll probably even end up laying in the kennel when you are home and the door is left open.
If you want more advice on different housebreaking and puppy training techniques, check out the below articles:
- How to Train a Puppy in 3 Simple Steps
- You’ve Adopted a Puppy. Now What?
- Puppy Training 101: Basic Walkthrough
- Adopting a Puppy? You WILL Need This
- Low-Calorie Superfood Secret To Training A Dog
What if he doesn’t catch on?
When your dog doesn’t seem to be picking up on any of the potty training methods, it doesn’t mean that you are doing it wrong. As long as you are consistent, your puppy should begin catching on within the first few weeks.
It's possible that he won't though. If that happens, don’t get angry. It’s certainly frustrating, but it might not be your dog’s fault. If his bathroom habits are sporadic and he doesn’t seem to be catching on at all, he may have a medical issue that makes it impossible for him to hold it. The first thing you should do is take him to the vet to rule that out.
“Diabetes, kidney disease, and Cushing’s disease (overproduction of steroids) are some of the problems that will need to be ruled out. Dogs that urinate more frequently or have discomfort when urinating might have a bladder infection or bladder stones. A puddle of urine where your dog has been napping or sleeping may indicate incontinence, while urine leaking when the dog is excited or frightened might indicate conflict induced urination.” – VCA Animal Hospitals
If there is no medical issue holding him back, it may just be that your puppy is a bit more stubborn than most. Some breeds, like toy dog breeds, are harder to house train than others. Mainly because their bladders are smaller and they can’t hold their urine as long. However, when you’re staying consistent and you adapt your schedule to meet your dog’s needs, you shouldn’t have a problem.
If your dog consistently soils your carpet or furniture in the same spot, purchase an enzymatic cleaner that will remove the odors that are attracting him to that particular area. These cleaners can be found at most pet stores and in the pet section of many department stores.
No matter which way you decide to train your dog, consistency is key.
Keeping your dog on a consistent feeding schedule will allow you to know his bathroom patterns. If you take him outside, or put him on his potty pad consistently, he will learn a regular bathroom schedule.
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Once your dog matures enough to hold it for longer periods of time, you will be able to loosen the program, but until he gets house training down pat, it is crucial that you keep a consistent schedule.