When you get your new puppy all you can think about is how cute and cuddly he is. He’s so much fun with his limitless energy, enthusiasm, and clumsiness. In fact, your puppy is nearly perfect except for one small thing… those puddles of pee and piles of poop he keeps leaving in the middle of the carpet!
One of the first things you will want to do with your new puppy is getting started on the house training. It can actually be an easy task if you know how to do it properly. Here are some things to remember in order to make house training less of a challenge for you and your puppy:
1. The first thing you must realize is that your puppy has a very small bladder. He cannot “hold it” for 8 hours or more while you are at work and expecting him to is just setting you both up for disappointment. If you cannot be home to take him outside every 2 to 3 hours, then you must provide him with access to a designated place to go inside.
2. House training your dog can take several weeks, or even months, and requires patience, persistence and consistency. Be prepared to provide all 3 for your puppy.
3. You can start training your puppy as early as 3 weeks old, but remember the younger your dog is the smaller the bladder, therefore the less time between potty breaks.
4. Never punish your dog when he has an accident in the house. Always reward your dog when he goes in the designated area. The reward must immediately follow the action or your dog will have no idea why he is being rewarded.
Like any other type of dog behavior training, house training involves following a certain series of steps to get your puppy to realize what is expected of him. Also like other types of dog training, you have to get your dog to perform the action so that you can reward him. Luckily this is easy with house training since your puppy will need to do his “business” many times a day; therefore you have a lot of opportunity to encourage the wanted behavior of going outside or in the designated area!
Here are some steps to take when house training your dog or puppy:
1. Observe your puppy and take note of his routine. He’ll probably need to go after eating and at certain times of the day. You’ll want to watch him very carefully at all times so you can “catch” him right before he goes. When you see him sniffing his favorite area, squatting or circling, it’s time to take action.
2. When you see your dog is about to do his business say, “outside” or some other word that you want the dog to associate with going potty outside. Say it in a firm and somewhat loud voice. You can use any word you want but it is important that you choose one word and use it every time and make sure it’s not a word you want to use for any other training commands.
3. This should interrupt your dog and you want to swoop in, pick him up and carry him outside.
4. Once you have him in the area that you want him to use as his bathroom say “potty” or some other command you want to use to get him to do his business. Again, be consistent with the word.
5. When he finishes his business, praise him and give him a treat to let him know that he did “good.”
It’s important to note that your dog will probably have accidents in the house and you should never punish him for these. If you do not catch him right before he goes then you’ll need to just clean up and wait until next time. If you stumble across an accident and punish the dog for it after the fact, he will have no idea why and you will not be helping your cause of house breaking. Contrary to what many people will tell you, rubbing his nose in it will not do anything.
Like every other dog training task, house training your puppy will require you to be consistent. Try to be around enough so that you can get him outside to do his business most of the time. Eventually he will get the idea and you will have a mess and odor free home from then on. Even after your dog is house trained he may still have accidents every once in a while. This is normal and should not be punished.
Remember that dog training is a never ending process and no dog will be perfect all the time!
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