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Lockwood Vizslas;

Mailing Address:

PO Box 445

Veradale, WA   99037

(509) 429-0698

Cathy Eylar

Email Vizsla


Physical address of our facility:
91 Okanogan Cemetery Road
Okanogan, WA  98840

(509) 429-2218 

Donita Lockwood

Help with Housebreaking

If you're trying to correct a problem with an adult dog, start retraining from scratch. Start with a check-up to be certain there is no physical cause. Get a good enzyme-based stain and odor removal product (Nature's Miracle, Pet Stain Remover, or similar). Treat her crate or safe area and all her bedding. Thoroughly treat any areas where she has urinated. Treat an area at least twice the size you think should be treated. Follow the directions on the bottle religiously. Then put a chair, some aluminum foil or something similar over the area to keep her away from it. Just be sure the area is completely dry or that the object you use will allow the area to dry. If the problem has occurred in a crate or safe area, feed her in the area and leave her dishes in that area.

If the problem only occurs when you're away, it may be related to separation anxiety or you may be leaving her alone for longer than she can control her bladder or bowels. Ask your veterinarian for guidance or for a referral to a trainer.

If you're starting with a new dog regardless of age, the basics are the same. Most dogs naturally want to keep their dens clean. Dogs don't generalize well so it is our job to teach them to treat the whole house as their den. Some dogs catch on quickly. Some dogs have to be taught room by room. Dogs who are allowed to sleep in your bedroom often adopt the bedroom as part of the den very easily. Just because she can go all night without messing in the bedroom, doesn't mean she's house trained. Teach her what you want one room at a time.

Give her food and water on a regular schedule. Remove her water ten minutes after you remove her food. Give her a last drink about two hours before your bedtime. If you're going to be gone more than two hours or if you're in a warm climate and do not have air conditioning, teach her to drink from a water bottle and attach it to her crate. Or simply leave several ice cubes in her water dish.

Get a small notebook or one of those magnetic boards you can put on the refrigerator. Keep a journal for at least 7 to 10 days. Record when she eats, when she drinks, and when she eliminates. After a week to ten days, see what patterns emerge. Schedule your trips out accordingly or rearrange her feeding/watering schedule you accommodate yours.

Take her out-don't just open the door and let her out if you have a fenced yard-same goes for tying her out-you can't reinforce good behavior if you aren't there to see it. When you open the door say outside so she learns to associate a word with the activity. When she squats, calmly say a word that tells her what you want (take a break, go potty....). When she assumes the position and there is no possibility that she can change her mind, use your reward marker to let her know this is what you want.

Treat and praise her immediately when she has finished. It's important to deliver the treat immediately, so carry your treats into the yard with you. Here's where a reward marker is handy if you goofed and forgot the treats.

Make your rewards memorable-a tiny piece of leftover chicken, a run in the yard (if it's fenced)-something that is REALLY rewarding so she'll want it to happen again. Mix these up so it's not always the same reward. And there is nothing that says you can't give her a treat and take her for a walk. Do not take her for a walk to take care of business. Let her learn to use a portion of your property or some other specified area-then take her for a walk. The walk is part of the reward for doing it right. Some dogs quickly figure out they can extend the walk by not getting down to business. When we're in a hurry, we end up bringing them in too soon and the carpet (and ultimately the dog) suffers.

Prevent accidents. If she can't be trusted out of sight or out of reach, manage her environment. You can't crate her twenty-four hours a day (actually, crates shouldn't be used for more than a few hours at a time). If she needs more management, a safe area is a better way to go (a dog-proofed kitchen or laundry room, for example). When you're home, tether her to your waist. Simply fasten her leash to your belt or a belt loop. She can't get out of sight or out of reach if she's tethered.

DO NOT correct or punish mistakes unless you actually see them begin to occur. Punishment for house training problems tends only to make the dog afraid to go when you are watching. Punishments are more difficult to use correctly than rewards and shouldn't be used without a clear understanding of how they work and how to use them. I recommend against them. If you see her start to squat, take her by the collar and calmly command outside. No only tells her you're upset, it doesn't tell her what it is you'd like her to learn. Take her by the collar and lead her outside. If she finishes outside, reward her although she started on the carpet. Clean surface immediately with an enzyme cleaner.

If you are managing your dog, there should be no opportunity for accidents. Whenever the dog has eaten, awakened from a nap, played, had a training session, or otherwise gotten excited, she needs to be taken out. Until you've gone three months without an incident, do not leave her unattended or unconfined.

If you eliminate free feeding, manage your dog to prevent accidents, and establish a strong reward history, you'll see significant progress in just a few days.


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Last modified: 08/08/17