Whether you have a new puppy or you’re trying to “teach an old dog new tricks,” having an obedient four-legged friend makes dog ownership easier for everyone. If you’re trying to teach your dog good behaviors or how to go outside to go to the bathroom, though, you might find the process more taxing than you expected!
On average, it takes about 4-6 months to train a puppy to go potty outside. However, if you take your dog outside for a few hours each day and remain consistent with your training, some can learn in just a few weeks.
Spending all of that time outside, however, can cause your puppy or dog to wreak havoc on your lawn. Dogs are instinctive diggers, some breeds are known to get bored easily, and they often have a lot of energy to burn! On muddy days, after playing outside for hours, they might even track dirt and mud into your house or on your furniture.
So what can you do to effectively train your dog while keeping your lawn looking great and protecting your home — inside and out?
Understand Your Dog’s Behavior
When your dog digs up the grass, has an accident inside, or makes a mess with mud, they’re not doing it because they’re “bad.” They’re not doing it to get back at you or to make your life harder. They’re just being a dog!
But it’s easy to get angry and frustrated when things like this happen, which can cause some people to discipline their dogs the wrong way.
While there are many different training and behavioral techniques you can try with your dog, one thing to keep in mind is to stick with positive reinforcement as much as possible. It’s okay to discipline your dog if you’re “catching” them doing something wrong (not after the fact). But it’s equally important to reward them for the things they’re doing right.
Dogs are often food-motivated. Giving them something extra special like pieces of banana or blueberries can get them even more excited to do a good job! But, they also will adore your praise, affection, and attention. Make a big deal out of it when they go potty outside, or when they spend several hours out in the yard without digging. When they associate that praise with a certain action, they’re more likely to keep it up.
Laying Down the Law on the Lawn
Dogs dig for a variety of reasons. It’s instinctual, as a way to protect food or items from other animals. Some dogs dig out of boredom or because they have a build-up of energy. No matter the reason, digging can create big problems for your lawn.
While it may not be possible to completely prevent digging, there are some tips and tricks you can include in your training process that will make it less likely for your dog to destroy your yard with its fast and furious paws, including:
- Giving them more playtime/exercise
- Getting rid of rodents in the yard
- Giving them things to chew on
- Blocking off certain areas
- Creating a designated ‘digging’ area in the yard with extra sand or dirt
You’ve probably heard the expression “a tired dog is a well-behaved dog,” and there’s a lot of truth to that. If your dog is digging from boredom, giving them some extra playtime, going on long walks, or even playing fetch can tire them out and reduce the appeal to dig out of boredom. As a result, your yard can stay intact while you train them.
Keeping Your Home Safe
Training your dog can create problems inside the home, too. Some dogs are more prone to chewing than others, and it could cause issues with your furniture getting ruined. Often, dogs going through potty training will have accidents. Some dogs even might cause damage in the home because they have a lot of energy and run around in small spaces. So how can you keep your home protected while you’re training your pooch?
Again, one of the best ways is to wear your dog out. Behaviors like chewing are also often done out of boredom, or even curiosity. Puppies, especially, are a lot like toddlers! They want to explore their new surroundings.
But keeping your home safe can also help to keep your dog safe. There are plenty of dangers within the home that your four-legged friend could get into if they’re not being watched, including everything from cleaning supplies to certain plants, foods, or electronic devices.
Having pet-resistant floors installed is a great way to protect your hardwood from overly-excited pups, but even sealing your floors or getting them refinished can make a difference in scratches showing up on the wood.
If your dog tends to be a chewer, one of the easiest ways to change their behavior is to get their attention when they’re chewing the wrong thing (like a piece of furniture), give them an acceptable chew toy, and praise them when they start chewing the toy.
It all goes back to the techniques with which you discipline your dog, and how you praise and reward them. When you understand the root of their behaviors, training will become a lot easier, and you’ll be able to protect your home and lawn in the process.
About The Author: Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but lifestyle and home improvement topics are his favorite. When he isn’t writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.
Photo by John Price on Unsplash
- Additions and New Construction
- All Exteriors
- Customer Service
- Customer Stories
- Design & Planning Show
- Educational Resources
- Extreme Makeover Home Edition
- Fashion Show
- General Remodeling
- Green Living
- Handyman Home Services
- Home Decor
- Home Entertainment
- Home Improvement
- Home Improvements
- How to Tips
- In The Community
- Off-the-Wall Remodeling Stories
- Social Media
- Tips & Tricks