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Making a Happy, Mess-Free Home for Your Dog

From walks in the park to cuddles on the couch, the joys of sharing your life with a dog are many. Somewhat less positive are the messes your dog can make while indoors. Dogs are intelligent animals, and there is always a reason for their behavior. From soiling inside to chewing the furniture, here are some common doggie disasters and ways you can avoid them.

House-train Your Dog

One of the least pleasant experiences as a dog owner can be to unexpectedly discover a soiled rug in a tucked-away corner. Instead of immediately scolding your pooch, ask yourself if you ever fully house trained your dog. Adult dogs can be even faster at house-training than puppies, particularly with the use of a crate.

Find a spacious crate to contain your dog for the training process, which could be as little as three days. Put your dog in the crate and give him at least six bathroom breaks a day (first thing in the morning, after breakfast, twice during the day, after dinner, and before bed). Always take him to the same spot to do his business -- dogs like regularity. After a day or two of this process, you can reduce the amount of breaks to four, the standard amount for an adult dog. Always show your dog love and affection afterward, and try rewarding him with treats or a walk as extra positive affirmation.

Check for Changes in Your Routine

If your dog is already house trained, there may be another cause for indoor soiling. Has anything changed in the household recently, even something as simple as leaving your dog alone an extra hour? Dogs experiencing anxiety may start to have less control of their bladder. Other forms of soiling are marking, submission, and excitement. Marking generally is seen with intact male dogs and is an attempt to claim their territory. While neutering your dog can help with marking, it can also be caused by household change or a new dog in the neighborhood. Submission and excitement urination are not so much decisions by the dog as reactions to external circumstances. Fear, and the threat of punishment, often lead to submission soiling. You can help prevent this by building up your dog’s confidence with affection, love, and treats. Keep your greetings even-keeled and make sure your posture is open and non-aggressive.

Proper Grooming and Cleaning Care

Tired of seeing your favorite couch or recliner covered in dog hair? If so, you might need to spend more time grooming your best friend to prevent unwanted shedding. To get started, purchase a quality brush and use gentle strokes, starting at your dog’s head and moving down the back toward the tail -- in other words, down and out. Instead of brushing vigorously to remove any tangles, which may cause your dog pain, try using a spray conditioner to loosen it.

Of course, your dog’s sheddings won’t magically disappear from your floors and furniture, so invest in a vacuum that’s designed for pet hair and dander. But here’s the problem: A loud vacuum can terrify animals, so consider picking up a quieter model to help alleviate unnecessary stress. Some of these quiet vacuums are also lightweight and battery operated, allowing you to carry them around the house to help eliminate dog hair wherever it gathers.

Exercise Your Dog to Prevent Boredom

Chewing is another common problem with a range of possible causes. Most often, chewing occurs when your dog is bored. This is easy to prevent by providing your dog with an assortment of fun indoor toys for them to occupy themselves with while you’re away from the house and by taking them on regular walks and playing with them frequently. Digging is a related issue that is a instinctual canine behavior. If your dog is digging in a place you’d like to keep pristine, instead of scolding them, redirect them to a spot you’d prefer them to dig, then join in with them and make a game out of it. By giving them their own digging location, you will have helped reduce boredom and keep your dog happy, to boot.

Often, all it takes to fix a problem with your dog is a little extra consideration. Your dog generally has a reason for his behavior -- and whether it’s due to anxiety, boredom, or clutter, it can always be prevented with care.

Photo Credit:

Tyler Evans

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