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How Do I House Train My Dog?

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been asking Voyce blog readers to submit any questions or comments they have about health or behavioral concerns. Because of the great response we’ve received, I’ll be addressing at least one question each month in more detail.

If you have a question or topic you’d like me to cover, please send an email to


My wife and I adopted a two-year-old dog from a local rescue three weeks ago. We were told that he was housebroken but since we brought him home, he has been lifting his leg on everything. He’s great in every other way but we’re frustrated by this behavior and not sure what to do.


Congratulations on your new addition to the family! Luckily, the issue you are encountering is one that can be solved with a little patience and persistence.

The first thing to do, if you haven’t already, is to take him to your vet for a check-up. Inappropriate elimination can sometimes stem from physical issues such as bladder infection or urinary incontinence.

Once all medical possibilities are ruled out, it’s time to take a closer look at your new pup’s behavior.

It’s important to remember that dogs don’t typically generalize well. That means that they don’t always understand that something that’s off limits in one location or situation is off limits in all situations. Your dog may very well have been house trained in his foster home but does not yet understand that the same rules apply in your home.

Whether you’re house training a puppy or a newly adopted adult dog, you can set them up for success by starting with the basics.

Begin by thoroughly cleaning all areas where he has eliminated with a pet-specific cleaning solution and odor neutralizer. If necessary, hire a professional carpet cleaner. The key is to make sure all previous odors are entirely removed so that he’s not attracted back to the same spot.

Next, do not allow your dog to roam the house without you until you’re sure he’s 100% reliable. If you can’t be with him, consider confining him to a crate. This will give you the chance to interrupt him should he start to relieve himself. (Never yell at or hit your dog; this will only encourage him to go when you’re not looking.)

Take him immediately to an appropriate area, preferably one he has used before. The scent of his prior eliminations will “remind” him of what he’s supposed to do there. Once he relieves himself, reward him by being generous with both praise and treats.

Throughout this process, it’s essential to be consistent and keep to a schedule as much as possible. Always be sure to take him out first thing in the morning, after meals and before bed.

If you’re still having problems and your dog has a Voyce Health Monitor, it may help to track accidents in the “Notes” section of the Wellness Management Center. By logging the time of the incident and any other relevant information, you’ll be better able to identify certain trends or habits, making it easier to pre-emptively address those in the future.

Voyce is the wearable band that helps you monitor your dog's health and wellness. 

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Posted on Jun 04, 2015 by VOYCE Behavior & Training
Vets & Experts