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Handling Long Nights

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The problem is characterized when the dog relieves himself on the floor. Usually near a door; particularly if the dog is kept in the kitchen overnight. It is not a coincidence that this is usually the spot where the owners left newspaper down during the first few weeks of housetraining if they had the dog since a puppy. So the problem has simply become habit where the dog wakes up some time shortly before the owner and feels the need to relieve himself. He moves away from his bed and sniffs around to locate the correct spot and then relieves himself, returns to bed and settles back down to sleep.

The first thing to establish is that the dog is fit and well and that there are no underlying medical reasons for the behavior. It is therefore advisable to have your dog given a thorough veterinary examination prior to implementing the procedures outlined below.

The type of food given to the dog can have some bearing. Some types of food result in the dog passing a large proportion of what they have eaten, which results in the requirement to pass motions much more frequently than dogs fed on a more digestible diet. It stands to reason that a dog that needs to relieve himself three times in every twenty-four hours is going to be much easier to housetrain than a dog that needs to go six times or more.

General points:

· Don’t use ammonia based cleaning agents to clean up afterwards. The smell often encourages the dog to use these areas again.

· Don’t scold your dog physically or try and rub his nose in the mess. This will have the effect of making your dog hide when he wants to go to the toilet thus making the job of housetraining much more difficult for you to accomplish.

· Only scold your dog verbally if you catch him in the act of going to the toilet.

· Keep a daily diary of elimination times, exercise times, your dog’s preferred toileting surfaces. This makes it easy for a behavioral specialist to provide you with a program that will cure even the most difficult housetraining problems.

· Always inform your vet if you notice any sudden change in your dog’s behavior.

· Be patient and try not to clear up any mess with your dog in attendance. This may have the effect of him learning to mess on the floor in order to gain attention.


To cure the problem simply restrict your dog in such a manner that it is impossible for him to move away from his bed. This is simply done by making use of a crate into which your dog is placed at night for a week or so.

Alternatively, he could be restricted to a sleeping area by using any kind of temporary barrier. The crate or area your dog is restricted to needs to be large enough for him to stand up and turn around and stretch but no more.

Accompany your dog on his last exercise session before you retire for the night so that you are in a position to reward him when he relieves himself. It is extremely important that your dog does actually relieve himself before he is placed in his sleeping area. Leave all the doors open between the room where your dog is and your bedroom, or use a baby alarm. This is so that if your dog makes a noise in the night to attract your attention, you will be able to hear and take him out to relieve himself.

What usually happens is that when your dog wakes up in the early hours of the morning and realizes he cannot get to the desired spot that he sees as his toilet area, he simply turns around and goes back to sleep. As soon as you get up in the morning, you must go and take your dog out, rewarding him when he performs.

If your dog wakes you during the night, then simply go and take him out into the garden and wait until he relieves himself. Do not praise him or give any attention otherwise your dog may use this tactic to get you to get up and go out and play all night long! As soon as you get back into the house, put your dog back into the sleeping area and then go back to bed yourself.

While you are retaining your dog, you will have to remove all traces of smell on the floor by treating it with either odor eliminator obtainable from your vet, or a biological washing powder in a solution of water, applied on a daily basis. If you do this, when you allow your dog his freedom during the night, all trace of the smell has disappeared, and will help prevent the habit from re-forming.

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