Helpful Dogs are instinctively clean animals.  They prefer not to soil their living quarters.  If the human is consistent about the process, housetraining a dog usually isn’t difficult. Your new family member may find moving to a new house confusing.  The layout of your house will be unfamiliar to him.  He doesn’t know which doors lead to the outside.  And he may or may not have been housetrained before.  Assume that any new dog, whether adult or puppy, needs housetraining.



Before entering your house, take your dog on a leash to the yard where you want his “bathroom” to be.  You may need to walk with him as he explores the area.  Once he takes care of business, praise him so he knows he has done the right thing.


When you bring the new Helpful dogs into the house, have his den (crate) ready for him or a small “safe” space defined for him that can be easily cleaned, such as a bathroom with a gated entrance or a fenced-off part of the kitchen.  Put his special bed, toys, and food inside his space.  Visit and play with him often and begin each visit with a trip out to his “bathroom” and lavish him with praise after he goes to the bathroom.


 Take your dog out to her “bathroom” area on a regular schedule.  Young puppies should be carried outside for their break every hour, as soon as they wake up from a nap and immediately after a meal.  If it is hard to keep track of the time, set an alarm clock or kitchen timer to remind you of when the next potty break should be.  Depending on the age and size of your puppy, you may determine that he needs to go out more often at first.  That’s okay. The time between bathroom breaks will expand as he gets older.  Stick to the schedule, even on weekends, and be sure to feed your dog on a regular schedule, too. 


 Watch for your dog’s signal to you.  Circling and sniffing are often indications your Helpful dogs needs to go out.  Some people like to teach the dog to ring a bell as a potty break signal. Hang a bell on the door and make a game of ringing it each time you take the dog out until he gets the idea to ring the bell himself. 


 Until you are sure your dog is housetrained, he needs to be supervised 100% of the time when he is indoors and out of his “den.”  He can be on a leash attached to you or a family member.  Wait until you are sure he is reliably housetrained before you let him have the run of the house.


 Scolding for mistakes can do more harm than good.  If you see a mistake happening, rush the dog outside and then praise him once he finishes his business outside. Be sure to clean accidents thoroughly to keep the area from smelling to your dog like it is the right place for the soil. Helpful Dogs, like people, learn at different rates.  There are days when your dog seems to understand where to go and other days when he can’t remember a thing.  This is a normal part of the learning process.  Invest the time and patience to properly housetrain your dog and your reward will be a lifetime of unconditional love from your furry family member.


Coyote Alert!
Living safely with the Wildlife that shares our City

Coyotes are wild animals and can pose a risk to people and pets. The goal of Los Angeles Animal Services is to educate the public fostering a relationship of mutual respect between wildlife and the community so we can live together safely.


Here are a few guidelines for how to have a safe community for you and for the coyotes:

  • Do not approach or feed wild animals, including coyotes. It is unsafe and a violation of the law.
  • Never leave small children and pets unattended outdoors even if your yard is fenced.
  • Remove pet food dishes when your pet has finished eating and do not leave food outside. Pick ripe fruit and clean rotten produce off the ground.
  • Walk your dog on a leash at all times, not only is it the law, but it will keep your pet safe. Do not allow your dog to interact or play with a coyote.
  • When you are walking your dog in areas known to have coyotes, you can carry a loud whistle of even an umbrella that you can open and close rapidly to scare them away. Unlike the approach with an aggressive dog, you can raise your arms above your head and stomp your feet while shouting at the coyote to scare them away.
  • Put all trash bags inside trashcans and keep all outdoor trashcan lids securely fastened on the containers. Ammonia or pepper sprinkled in the trash may also discourage a scavenging coyote.
  • Keep your property well lit at night especially when you go out with your dog for the last potty break before bed.
  • Trim hedges from the bottom and keep brush cleared to limit hiding places for coyotes.
  • Close off crawl spaces under porches, decks, and sheds. Coyotes use such areas for resting and raising young.