House-training dogs, why getting the right advice is necessary! A complete guide to effective house-training and why!

Why is this important?

“Adult elimination problems represent a significant source of distress for both owners and dogs.  …incomplete house training is the leading cause given by dog owners for relinquishing their dogs to the uncertain fate of the animal shelter…underscoring the importance of preventing and resolving house-training problems” (Lindsay, 2005).

Why teaching “bell ringing” signal might be a problem! 

Teaching puppies to give a signal to go outside is a common, but questionable, house-training practice. While appearing reasonable and useful at first glance, encouraging puppies to give such a signal may conflict with the objective of training them to hold and eliminate in accordance with an arbitrary schedule.

Effective bowel and bladder control require that puppies learn to endure some amount of discomfort-an aspect of house training this is not necessarily served by training puppies to perform a signal to get outdoors on demand.

Such need-to-go signals depend on the owner being present to respond-a state of affairs that can rarely be maintained on a consistent basis.

An unfortunate outcome of such training is the development of common elimination problems later.

Unable to get the owner’s attention with the elimination need-to-go signal, a dog may go to the door and after a moment just turn around and eliminate nearby or run off to another room before eliminating…reflecting the pattern previously established in association with the need-to-go signal, viz., give signal and then eliminate.

The following three articles explain house-training in-depth, answering questions why, how to and what to do when cleaning up is necessary.

House Training

One of the leading causes for giving up our dogs to the uncertain fate of an animal shelter is incomplete house training. According to several studies, elimination problems are the second most common behavioral complaint made to behavior consultants with aggression leading the list. There are several problems associated with eliminative behavior that require careful diagnostic review by a qualified behavior consultant or board certified veterinarian behaviorist.

Housetraining, using a signal indicating need to eliminate

Unsuccessful housetraining is a leading cause why dogs end up in shelters. House training is not an individual process, all dogs benefit from the same housetraining strategies. However, dogs may independently learn, depending on breed, size, early exposure to acceptable substrates beginning at the breeding location. I am discussing training a new puppy, not an adult dog with incomplete housetraining and/or poor training methods.

Housetraining ~ Do Dogs Learn to Wait? Wait for What?

This post is actually a sequel to Housetraining, using a signal indicating need to eliminate. The main point, dogs have cognitive ability to learn to “hold it” using simple associative learning and opportunity to learn housetraining correctly.


Lindsay, Steven R.  Handbook of applied dog behavior and training.  3 Vols.

Iowa:  Blackwell.  2005.  Vol. 3.


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