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House Training

House Training Your Italian Greyhound

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for the new Italian greyhound owner is house training. It can often seem to be such an insurmountable obstacle that it leaves the owner thinking of relinquishing the dog as the only solution. Take heart, there are many reasons for the failure of house training, most of them being owners' mistakes. In the instances where the failure is due to the dog's upbringing, it is the owner's inexperience in dealing with the problem that they are left in a quandary, not knowing where to turn.

General rules for house training
Be consistent. Nothing is more confusing to a dog than inconsistency. They want to please, but they need to know precisely what you want and you should not change the rules on them. Confine the dog when you cannot keep an eye on him. You can use a crate, exercise pen or small room. You should use something dog proof and, if you use an exercise pen or room, put down papers to allow for elimination. Feed your dog at the same time everyday. This will help to keep your dog's
body on a schedule.

Do not scold your dog for a mess made that you did not see occur. If you can't watch your dog -- CONFINE him!

Never use a method of confinement as punishment. It is to be used as a training aid to keep an accident from happening.

Never give your dog too much freedom too soon. This often occurs from those individuals who boast that they housetrained their dog in 1 week and, at the end of day two or three of unsupervised freedom, they find a gift in an unwanted area.

The dog purchased from a responsible breeder
Boy are you in luck! Your puppy or adult dog has already been started with a good foundation. The breeder has made good use of the dog's desire to not soil his bed and made sure that the puppies had a place to eliminate away from their sleeping quarters. Even with this foundation, you need to realize that the puppy or dog was used to eliminating on the breeder's schedule; a schedule which might greatly differ from yours. Example: The breeder wakes up every morning at 4:30 am at which time the dogs wake up and they are let outside to relieve themselves. You, on the other hand, don't rise until 6:30 am or later; quite a difference from what the dog is used to. It is unfair to the dog to expect him to adjust overnight. Dogs are creatures of habit and they like schedules. Discuss what schedule the dog was on at the breeder's and adjust it gradually.

Decide in advance where your dog will be eliminating. Will you use papers or do you want the dog to go outside? Will you have the dog use papers in inclement weather but prefer that elimination takes place outdoors during pleasant weather? Whichever you chose, stick with it. Problems can occur when changing. When planning to allow your dog to use papers indoors during bad weather, make sure that your dog is first paper trained, then train him to go outdoors. This will usually require that you take papers outdoors to the spot you want your dog go. Since your dog is already accustomed to taking care of business on papers, he will probably be reluctant to go in the great outdoors. Using the papers as a transition point, will alleviate that obstacle.

As stated before, the biggest mistake made by pet owners is giving an IG too much freedom too soon. That coupled with the fact that cleaning up a mess made by an IG doesn't cause the emotional distress and displeasure caused by cleaning up a mess by a Great Dane may cause IG owner not to react to a housetraining relapse. An owner may not take the relapse as seriously as it should be taken, but rather tend to look on it as a one time occurrence. Unfortunately, these one time occurrences multiply quickly and it becomes very difficult for the owner to regain control of the situation. Consistency and confinement are of monumental importance in house training.

Pet shop dogs
Italian Greyhounds purchased from pet shops or obtained from less than desirable sources are not allowed to retain their inborn instinct to keep their dens clean. These dogs are either kept in quarters where they have been conditioned to soil their beds (they have no other place to go) or confined in areas that are not cleaned regularly and have grown accustomed to sleeping, playing and eating in their own excrement. These dogs are VERY difficult to house train and to do so takes extreme diligence, patience, and lots of time. These dogs should not be crated initially. They should be kept in an exercise pen with newspapers covering the entire floor. A crate with the top off should be used as dog bed. Due to the lack of human companionship these dogs have received during their formative periods, they should spend as much time as possible with humans and away from their pen unless it is nap time or they need to eliminate. Over time you can reduce the news papered area in the pen to just one area (this usually takes anywhere from 2-4 months depending on the individual dog). You can put a top on the crate and begin crating for very short periods of no more than a half hour twice a day (keeping the crate inside of the exercise pen to ensure that you will not stress the dog by moving it to a different environment). This time frame can be gradually increased. Once you effectively have the dog crate trained (this process can take an additional 2-4 months depending on the individual) you can open the exercise pen with the papers and crate inside and allow the dog the opportunity to go to the papers on his own when he needs to relieve himself. This is a long, tedious process but, with diligence, patience, and love, it can effectively be accomplished.

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
Release of the 2008 IGGY Ambassadors calendar November 23, 2007 6:37 PM Wendy H.
House Training April 28, 2006 11:33 AM Wendy H.
What is a crate, and why use one? April 28, 2006 11:36 AM Wendy H.
Interesting sites and health information April 30, 2006 11:53 AM Wendy H.
Italian Greyhound Resources April 28, 2006 11:26 AM Wendy H.
What's So Special About Italian Greyhounds? April 30, 2006 12:02 PM Wendy H.
An Introduction to The Italian Greyhound April 28, 2006 11:34 AM Wendy H.
About IGGY Ambassadors-Emerald City (Italian Greyhounds of the NW) March 7, 2008 1:30 PM Wendy H.

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