Category Archives: Housetraining

Back to Schedule

It’s that time again: time to go back to school. Parents everywhere are rejoicing while kids everywhere are groaning. But really: why the difference in emotions? Why do parents long for this time of year? Are parents really that anxious to get rid of their offspring for a few hours a day? Let’s delve into this topic for a moment.

All joking aside the real reason is because we are now back on a schedule and though a lot of us adults don’t want to admit it, we love our schedules and routines. Wake up at 5:30. Take a shower. Get dressed. Make coffee. Wake the kids. Eat breakfast. Feed the dogs. Pack lunches. Adios! See you at 3:00. Work. Home at 5:30. Eat dinner. Homework and entertainment. Kids in bed at 9:00. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. What’s not to love about that? You can plan your life!

When you first have kids, there are only pseudo schedules. Bedtime is flexible because there is really no reason to need to be up early. Lunch time varies on your morning activities and dinner can happen whenever because…why not? School forces a child’s schedule to be upheld much the same way that work does for adults.

Why are we talking about adults and kids when this is about dogs?

Now that the rest of the family is on a schedule our pets should be on one too. Dogs are pack animals that thrive on routines, schedules and work. If they lack structure they are more likely to act out and have bad manners. Our schedules are pretty cut and dry and are largely put in place for us without the need to do much thinking about it. Our places of employment determine our hours of work during a day and our commute determines when we get home at night and when we need to leave in the morning. The school’s hours dictate when our children must arrive at school and when they leave and their bus schedule says when to be ready to leave and when they’ll arrive at home. Perhaps it would help to give our dog’s lives some of the same structure by providing a daily schedule for them. While they do not have the demands on their time that we do they still crave structure but lack the means or ability to give it to themselves, so it is up to us to lend them a hand, or paw.

Begin by making their meals a part of your morning routine: pour your bowl of Cap N’ Crunch…I mean…Total, and then give them their meals for the morning. Before leaving for the day give them a raw bone in their crate or if they have free run of the house, perhaps a stuffed Kong, Bob-A-Lot or some other Prolonged Release Interactive Food Dispensing Device. If you think to yourself that you would like to get your dogs to daycare try to make it a habit of coming on the same day. Many of our clients have specific days that they come for daycare and have made that part of their dog’s lifestyle and routine. Believe it or not after a while they’ll start to know which day it is and wait by their door to come to play with their friends.

Daycare is a great option for providing structure, exercise and social interaction for our dogs. While visiting daycare at Misty Pines dogs are able to participate in a variety of activities that include obedience training, agility work, nature walks, afternoon snacks and more. Though the benefits of daycare can largely speak for themselves there cannot be enough said about the importance of giving your dog extra activities to break up their day and help keep them mentally sharp. Even a 15 minute training session can go a long way towards shoring up their manners and giving them some much needed mental stimulation. After all, it can’t all be playtime.

Much like our children we love to see our dogs playing and having a good time but there comes a time when they need to take a break from the play and refocus. At Misty Pines we give each dog a break from playtime while they are here for daycare but that break is really not a substitute for a good, well suited activity. If your dog loves to fetch and play ball, then a session of play ball time would be the best option for your dog. Or maybe your dog enjoys running on a treadmill or agility or sniffing through the woods; no matter what your dog enjoys we have a program that they’ll love.

Beyond just daycare, think of incorporating your dog’s needs into your families evening routine as well. Get the family together for a few minutes of fun obedience work, such as fetching objects and returning them or a game of hide and seek to work on recall. Evening walks can be used for more than just letting Scruffy check his “pee-mail,” you can incorporate behaviors that you have learned in your obedience classes such as; easy, heel, this way, pull or even sniff. Challenge your dog’s minds by making them heel through portions of the walk and make random stops to make them sit. Frequent direction changes with a “this way” cue will keep them alert and keep their minds sharp. If you would like to give them a work-out, have them “pull” you up a long or steep hill. There are ways to include training into everything you do with your dog, just be creative.

Most of our evenings end with personal grooming before bed: brushing hair, brushing teeth, showers, cutting nails and so on. Don’t forget that your dog needs groomed as well. Take 10 minutes to brush out your dog’s coat each evening as a calming down time before bed. Use this time to examine ears, nails, feet and all your dog’s parts to make sure they’re healthy and staying clean. Dogs often need help keeping up with their ears, so this is a great time to clean their ears as well. A simple cotton ball with some wintergreen alcohol will remove the waxy build-up and leave their ears smelling nice and fresh. If you’re comfortable and have had some practice you could even cut their nails. If you’re not up to that particular task feel free to bring your pup to Misty Pines and we’ll get those nails trimmed in no time. As a matter of fact, Misty Pines can handle all your grooming needs but even our professional groomers can’t make up for the daily brushing and care of your dog’s skin and coat.

    Let’s recap how to include your dogs into our daily lives and give them a schedule to provide a stable routine:

  1. Include your dog’s feeding into your morning routine.
  2. Provide mentally and physically stimulating activities such as Interactive toys or bringing the dog to daycare.
  3. Feed the dog during or around your dinner time.
  4. Incorporate your dogs into your evening family time with fun obedience games.
  5. Include training into your walks to provide mental stimulation and keep your leash handling skills sharp.
  6. Provide for your dog’s grooming needs with evening brush outs and examinations.

If you have any questions regarding how to help your dog have a schedule or how to incorporate your dog into your lifestyle please e-mail or call Misty Pines and our professional staff will be happy to give you suggestions. While speaking with our staff you may also schedule daycare or grooming visits.


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Housebreaking and adult dog or puppy is easier with a crate. With the use of a crate, you can housebreak quickly, naturally, and humanely. Take your puppy out to the toilet area first thing in the morning before he stirs and barks, and last thing at night. Also, take him out approximately every two hours during the day. A younger pup will need to relieve himself more often, whereas an older pup can wait up to four hours to go out. Designate an area in your yard as the “potty area”. When making trips outside the area, use a command like Potty or Hurry Up. Stay there until the puppy has done his job. This should take no longer than ten minutes. Reinforce him during and after he relieves himself.

Play outside or take Scruffy back into the house to play only after he uses the potty area. Do not play with your puppy before he relieves himself because he will postpone relieving himself for more play. Playing with your puppy after he relieves himself is very important. If he anticipates play, he will hurry and do his job.

As your puppy becomes housebroken, gradually increase his time out of the crate and begin to eliminate some of the trips to the potty area. Look for signals from Scruffy, such as sniffing or running to the door, that indicate he needs to go out. Let him drag a short four-foot leash from his collar to facilitate a quick whisking out to the potty area. On your way out, talk to him saying, “Let’s go out to potty.” Once Scruffy is housebroken, he can be sent out to the potty area and expected to relieve himself. In the house, you will be able to leave the crate door open and let Scruffy come and go as he pleases. The sooner your puppy can be with you, following you through the house and yard, and accompanying you on errands, the better.

We do not recommend that you paper train your dog. Paper training (other similar versions involving “wee-wee pads” or litter pans) teaches your dog to relieve himself in the house, thus complicating “housebreaking”, and housebreaking should be your ultimate goal. If you have started paper training, put your mind to housebreaking now! Start by making the paper area that Scruffy uses smaller and smaller, until he is using only one page of a newspaper. Get him accustomed to using a potty area outside by moving a soiled paper to a spot in your yard. Get him on a regular potty schedule like the one described below. Praise him and treat him for relieving himself outside and gradually eliminate the paper in the house.

Sample Housebreaking Schedule

A good rule of thumb is that a puppy can “hold it” one hour for every month of age. That is, a 4 month old puppy can be expected to hold it for up to four hours. Take the puppy out every one to four hours, depending on his age.

    7:00 AM

  • Take Scruffy to potty area on leash and reinforce for eliminating.
  • Integrate feeding, play, and training.
  • Take to the potty area and praise.
  • Crate Scruffy and reward.
    9:00 AM

  • Take Scruffy to potty area on leash and reinforce for eliminating.
  • Integrate feeding, play, and training.
  • Take to the potty area and praise.
  • Crate Scruffy and reward.
    11:00 AM

  • Take Scruffy to potty area on leash and reinforce for eliminating.
  • Integrate play and training.
  • Take to the potty area and praise.
  • Crate Scruffy and reward.
    1:00 PM

  • Take Scruffy to potty area on leash and reinforce for eliminating.
  • Integrate feeding, play, and training.
  • Take to the potty area and praise.
  • Crate Scruffy and reward.
    4:00 PM

  • Take Scruffy to potty area on leash and reinforce for eliminating.
  • Integrate play, and training.
  • Take to the potty area and praise.
  • Crate Scruffy and reward.
    7:00 PM

  • Take Scruffy to potty area on leash and reinforce for eliminating.
  • Integrate feeding, play, and training.
  • Take to the potty area and praise.
  • Crate Scruffy and reward.
    8 – 9 PM

  • Remove food and water.
    10:00 PM

  • Take Scruffy to potty area on leash and reinforce for eliminating.
    Crate for the night.

If you are continuing to have an issue in this area of training, please contact our trainers and/or purchase the book “Way To Go” which is sold at Misty Pines in our retail area.


Upcoming Specialty Classes

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Sat 24

Agility Class

Saturday, October 24, 2020 @ 8:00 am - 8:45 am
Sat 31

Therapy Dog and Service Dog Training

Saturday, October 31, 2020 @ 8:00 am - 8:45 am