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Housetraining Your Pup

Housetraining Your Pup

If your pup makes a mess in the house – You didn’t do your job, and that’s in no way the dog’s fault. You let him down. Clean it up and start's OK.

Successful house training takes advantage of a rule of dog behavior:

*A dog will not generally eliminate where it sleeps if at all possible.

To me, that means using a crate and using it correctly.

Please recognize that there are always exceptions to this rule of dog behavior, such as:

  • Puppies that are in crates that are too large (so the pup can eliminate at one end and sleep at the other end)

  • Puppies that have lived in small cages and have had to learn to eliminate in the cage

  • Puppies that have blankets or other soft, absorbent items in the crate with them

  • Puppies that are left for too long in the crate and cannot hold it any longer

To housetrain a pup using a crate, establish a schedule where the dog is either outside or in its crate when it feels the need to eliminate. The crate is crucial because the dog will “hold it” while in the crate. In addition, the dog must always be supervised in the house, so he has no chance to make mistakes.

Tip: If you can’t keep your pup supervised without help, tether him to you with a string or leash. That way, he can’t “wander off”.

Housetraining is relatively simple with puppies. The most important thing to understand is that it takes time. Young puppies, just like human infants, cannot wait to go to the bathroom. When they have to go, they have to go NOW. Therefore, until they are about four or five months old, you can only encourage good behavior and try to prevent bad behavior. This is accomplished by the following regime.

Rules of housetraining:

  1. Puppies have to go to the bathroom immediately upon waking up and about every 3-4 hours while awake (until 4-5 months old).

  2. Puppies have to go to the bathroom shortly after eating and drinking.

  3. Puppies have to go potty after heavy play.

  4. Puppies have to go potty right before bedtime and until they are 4 months old, probably 4 hours after bedtime.

By observing your puppy's behavior, you will quickly learn the ques your puppy gives you when he needs to go potty. Some pups will start sniffing the ground and circling, others will whine and then others will just squat and pee with no notice.

There is no way around MUST confine your pup or watch him to prevent accidents until he is fully housetrained.

Tip: A word about Your puppy's crate... It is a safe place for him to sleep when he's tired of playing, a place where he's safely confined when you're not watching him, and a place where children or other animals cannot bother him. It is a safe place and must not be used as punishment.

Now read through the rules of housetraining again and picture yours and your puppy's routine:

  • #1: In the morning, take your pup out and let him do his stuff and praise him.

  • #2: After he's fed and immediately after he wakes up from a nap at any point during the day, take him out to eliminate.

  • As in rule #4, please understand that a puppy (just like a human infant) cannot go all night without eliminating, so when he cries in the night, you must get up and take him out and wait until he goes. Then enthusiastically praise him and put him back to bed.

Remember, potty time is not play time, but understand that puppies get pretty excited about things like grass and snails and leaves and forget what they came outside to do! Use the same spot each time if you can, as the smell will help your puppy remember what he's there to do, especially after 12 weeks of age.

To make life easier for you later on, use a key phrase just when the puppy starts to eliminate. Try “go potty,” “let’s go,” or some similar phrase (pick one and use it every time you take him out). The puppy will begin to eliminate on command, and this can be especially useful later, such as making sure the dog eliminates before a car ride or a walk in the park.

When you come back in, DON'T let a young puppy loose in the house. You must watch him extremely closely for signs that he has to go. The key to housetraining is preventing accidents. If no accidents occur, then the dog never learns it has an option other than going outside and your diligence will be well-rewarded. When you are at home, “tether” the puppy to you — use a six foot long leash and tie it to your belt or stick the end in your pocket. That way, he can’t get out of your sight in the house and go in the wrong place. You can also make use of a playpen for your puppy. This is an indoor playground for your pup so that it can enjoy the comings and goings, sounds and sights of the household without being under foot.

As the pup ages and becomes better able to control himself, you may give him more and more room, starting with first one room and then adding another and another until he has full roam of the house (as long as there are no accidents and you can supervise).

Happy tails!

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