PUPPY LOVE: Volunteer puppy raiser offers tips on housebreaking Fido

Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 02:15 PM.

Reward positive behavior

"Every step of the puppy's training should be positively reinforced," Birdsell said. "One common mistake people make is they allow their dogs freedom of the house too soon and they come home to a mess or a puddle on the floor.

"The instinct is to punish the dog when you notice he has made a mistake. The problem is the dog does not associate the punishment with the mistake he made two hours before. He associates it with you coming home.

"If you are in a situation like that, where you find a problem, the only thing you should do is clean up the mess. Don't punish the dog, because from the dog's perspective, you are punishing him for coming to greet you when you come home."

Birdsell said this is one of the reasons she advocates constantly monitoring a new dog. Puppies, like infants, shouldn't be left unattended.

"The time to catch that mistake is when you are keeping your eye on the puppy," Birdsell said. "The time to correct it is when it's happening. Most of the time, you just have to yell at the dog. He will stop and that will give you time to scoop him up and take him outside.

"Then reward him when he does his business where he should."

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