House training pets

Lisburn Dog Behaviour specialist Dr Tara Cooper gives some top tips for house training your pet.

Scamp is an 18 month old Jack Russell terrier cross who is full of energy, he may be a little dog but hes got bundles of personality! It can take time for Scamps true colours to shine, so he is looking for patient and understanding owners who will take things at his own pace. If you think Scamp is the dog for you, visit Dogs Trust Ballymena at 60 Teeshan Road, Ballymena, Co Antrim, BT43 5PN or call the centre on 028 2565 2977.

First – the smell must go! It might seem like the smell has gone to our human noses but to the dog’s supersensitive nose, it’s probably still there.

We clean our homes with a range of products to keep it fresh and hygienic. Unfortunately, some disinfectants and bleaches only serve to enhance the smell of dog waste. Many contain ammonia (the same chemical in urine). Wash the area with a measure (tbsp) of biological washing powder in warm water to neutralise the smell.

Scent is key – The scent you have neutralised in your home is the scent you want in the garden. Choose somewhere you want your dog to toilet and take them there at key times (when they wake up after a nap, after eating, first thing in the morning, last thing at night and at regular intervals throughout the day). When they use their new toilet, reward with a high value treat, such as a small cube of cheese, and praise. If there is an accident, clean it up – that’s it. Punishment or harsh words will NOT work and can create more problems (e.g. your dog may try to hide the mess from you).

Expect and ignore accidents, house training can take time. Your dog is learning and wants to please you. Stay patient and consistent. This makes it easy for your dog.