Fri, 07/07/2023 - 9:00pm

Question of the Week

Do you have any tried-and-true suggestions for housebreaking?


Deborah Barrett

Birmingham, Alabama

All our dogs have always lived inside with us. Our Chows were practically born housebroken.

For all other breeds, we use the Monks of New Skete methodology and physically tether the dog to us in some way.  If we can't, they are in their appropriately sized crates. Of course, be sure to take them out at the usual times that every dog person knows. We don't use harsh correction or train for inside pottying, and use praise/toys/treats — whatever motivates them — when they go in a correct location. Then gradually shape the outside times to suit yourself, within reason: They all seem to have an excellent sense of time and will learn the appropriate schedule to remind you.

With our most recent baby puppy addition, we kept written records. There was only a six-week period when he made a few mistakes, after which he was perfectly reliable.


Susan Malampy

Chester Springs, Pennsylvania

What I have found helpful when bringing a new dog in, whatever the age, is having them eliminate outside as soon as they come to our home. That way they have their scent outside. Praise, praise, praise! Any time they do their business outside or in the chosen area, praise them! Pick up on cues and signals from the dog needing to eliminate; they often will communicate this to you.

Keeping them in the area we were in was also key. Sneaking off to another room to do their business can become a habit and the norm for a dog. Raising and training dogs, everyone has their special tips and tricks that work for them. Consistency is where most will have higher success, no matter their method. Of course, different size, breeds and age will always be a factor! 

Happy housebreaking! 


Pat Cunningham 

Brainerd, Minnesota

First the new owners should have the support of their breeder to help with problems. You should have the contact for a qualified AKC Puppy STAR instructor or class at a local kennel club or reputable training center. A good instructor will use their experience to lead the class and help the students with problems on a weekly basis. The STAR program addresses the basics of crate training, housekeeping, in and out schedules, and discipline. I firmly believe in the training from the STAR program and have used it for many years at our local kennel club and training center.  


Iva Kimmelman

Stow, Massachusetts

I have a great system. My puppies are able to access a dog door to outside as soon as they want to. They start discovery at four to five weeks after watching mom go back and forth.

By the time they leave my home at eight to nine weeks, they already understand going outside to eliminate.

I love hearing from my clients about how easy things go for them, even if they don't have a dog door. I do encourage they put one in, somewhere in their home, and most do.


Vincent Mulligan

Petaluma, California

Housebreaking Great Dane puppies has never been a problem. Why?

Over the many years we used the crate for crate-breaking puppies; Great Danes do not like to go potty in their crate. You need to be ready throughout the day and night to let the puppies right out to go potty. They learn very quickly what to do, and later on they stand by the door and bark to go potty. 


Elizabeth “Beth” Sweigart

Bowmansville, Pennsylvania

I am not qualified to answer this question: I have Affenpinchers, so that’s impossible, and I have Labradors, so it’s not necessary. They just know.



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