The key to housebreaking is consistency: taking a dog out at regular intervals, repeating short commands and praising his successes. Housebreaking a dog is a process that takes time, and it is important to remember that accidents can and do happen. To protect furniture and carpet, as well as reinforce appropriate elimination, some dog owners use a belly band, a soft cloth that wraps around a male dog's midsection to absorb urine.
Use the belly band only when the dog is indoors and not restricted to his crate. Using it between outdoor "potty breaks" to minimize stains and smell on furniture and carpet also discourages territory marking, as the dog will not be able to smell his scent after urinating.
Leave the belly band on for a bit after the dog has an accident. Most dogs dislike the feel of a wet pad against their skin and eventually learn to head outdoors to urinate instead.
Buy several belly bands so that a clean extra is on hand when others are dirty or in the wash.
Remove the belly band when the dog is outdoors.
- Some pet owners teach the dog to relate a command, such as "go potty," to the act of urination. This will help the pet owner encourage them to urinate in a place they typically do not. Owners of small dogs sometimes use this technique in conjunction with belly bands to encourage occasional indoor elimination in cases of bad weather, says the American Shih Tzu Club.
- Use the belly band only with supervision. Belly bands are not intended as a regular substitute for pet owners who cannot make it home in time to take their pets out.
- According to UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, attempting to punish a dog for urinating in an inappropriate place is unproductive and may even contribute to more severe behavioral issues later. Dog owners should, however, interrupt or redirect a pet who is caught in the act of inappropriate elimination.