Getting a new puppy is always an occasion for joy, but for first-timers, it can also be stressful. Of course, you need to get everything right, so that you and your new best friend can enjoy many happy years together, and that means training your puppy to become a good canine citizen. Before you begin on obedience training, though, start with house training.
You might think that house training will take forever, but the truth is that if you follow these twelve basic steps, you will find the job done quickly – probably in just a couple weeks.
- Be Consistent
There is more than one way of house training a puppy. Just be certain that whatever approach you take, you stay with it.
Dogs are happiest when they know what to expect, and what is expected of them. So set specific times for meals. Then, about half an hour after your puppy has eaten, put him outside, and wait until he’s done his business. Then bring him back in.
- Be Watchful
Puppies need to be closely supervised, particularly during house training. You ought to keep your puppy with you, and keep an eye out for signs that he wants to go potty (walking in circles is a tip-off).
- Don’t Ask for Too Much Too Soon
A puppy is not going to be able to control his bladder or bowels for very long. In fact, when you first bring your puppy home (usually at about 8 weeks old ), you can expect that he’ll have to go outside every couple of hours. As he matures, he’ll have more control.
- Strategy for Frequent Trips Outdoors
If you are able to take your puppy outside hourly, at least for the first few days. This way, you will dramatically reduce the chances of accidents in the home, and you will also be increasing the number of opportunities you have to reinforce the idea that you need him to do his business outside.
Don’t hang around outdoors after the potty break is over – bring the pup inside straight away. You can go back to play in a few minutes if you prefer, but what you are trying to do is reinforce the notion that the lawn is where he’s supposed to feces and urine.
- Pick a Spot
You’ll have greater success if you choose just one place in the yard for potty trips (it will make cleanup easier, too). Always lead the puppy to one spot. His nose will inform him that this is the right location.
- Pick a Phrase
When you take the puppy to the spot you’ve chosen, tell him”Go potty,” or another phrase you have chosen. Eventually, he’ll go to his special spot in the lawn just by being told, without having to be led.
- Make Good Things Happen
Praise your puppy and give him a treat as soon as you’re back in the home – not while he’s doing his business in the yard. You don’t want him to think he is being praised for peeing or pooping; otherwise, he’s not likely to understand why he is not praised when he does it in the house. What you’re teaching him is that if he does his business outside, something good will happen when get gets back inside.
- Do Not Feed Before Bed
Two hours before it’s time to turn in for the night, take away the water dish, and don’t offer any treats. This way, the odds of accidents during the night can be reduced.
- Use a Crate
When you can’t be at home, put your puppy in a crate. Just make certain that the crate isn’t so large that the puppy decides that one area is for sleeping, and yet another for removing. Before crating, be sure he gets a potty trip out to the yard, and when you get back, take him out again.
- Never Punish
Don’t punish your puppy for accidents.
The Final Word
House training a puppy takes a little bit of time and effort, but it needs to be done.