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HOUSETRAINING FOR PUPPIES 101

 

Contrary to popular belief, housetraining a puppy requires vigilance, patience, and plenty of commitment. By following the procedures outlined below, you can minimize house soiling incidents. The more consistent you are in following the basic housetraining procedures, the faster your puppy will learn acceptable behavior.

 

Establish A Routine:

Like babies, puppies do best on a regular schedule. Take your puppy outside frequently—at least every two hours—and immediately after he wakes up from a nap, after playing, and after eating or drinking.

Praise your puppy lavishly every time he eliminates outdoors but remember to do so immediately after he's finished eliminating so he can associate the praise with the action.

Pick a bathroom spot near the door, and always take your puppy to that spot using a leash. Take him out for a longer walk or some playtime only after he has eliminated. If you clean up an accident in the house, take the soiled rags or paper towels and leave them in the bathroom spot. The smell will help your puppy recognize the area as the place he is supposed to eliminate.

Put your puppy on a regular feeding schedule and feed a high-quality diet to make housetraining easier. Depending on their age, puppies usually need to be fed three or four times a day. Feeding your puppy at the same times each day will make it more likely that he'll eliminate at consistent times as well, and that makes housetraining easier for both of you.

 

Keep Your Eyes Peeled

Don't give your puppy an opportunity to soil in the house; keep an eye on him whenever he's indoors. Watch for signs that he needs to eliminate, like sniffing around or circling. When you see these signs, immediately take him outside to his bathroom spot. If he eliminates, praise him lavishly.

 

Confinement

When you're unable to watch your puppy at all times, he should be confined to an area small enough that he won't want to eliminate there. The space should be just big enough for him to comfortably stand, lie down, and turn around in. You can use a portion of a bathroom or laundry room blocked off with baby gates. Or you may want to crate train your puppy and use the crate to confine him. (Be sure to learn how to use a crate humanely as a method of confinement.) If your puppy has spent several hours in confinement, you'll need to take him directly to his bathroom spot as soon as you let him out, and praise him when he eliminates.

 

Oops!

Expect your puppy to have a few accidents in the house—it's a normal part of housetraining. Here's what to do when that happens:

When you catch him in the act of eliminating in the house, immediately take him to his bathroom spot and praise him if he finishes eliminating there.

Don't punish your puppy for eliminating in the house. If you find a soiled area, it's too late to administer a correction. Just clean it up. Rubbing your puppy's nose in it and scolding him will only make him afraid of you or afraid to eliminate in your presence.

Clean the soiled area thoroughly. Puppies are highly motivated to continue soiling in areas that smell like urine or feces.


It's extremely important that you use the supervision and confinement procedures outlined above to prevent the number of accidents. If you allow your puppy to eliminate frequently in the house, he'll get confused about where he's supposed to eliminate, which will prolong the housetraining process. A puppy under six months of age cannot be expected to control his bladder for more than a few hours at a time. If you have to be away from home more than four or five hours a day, this may not be the best time for you to get a puppy; instead, you may want to consider an older dog, who can wait for your return.

The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of a trained professional. Always consult a trained professional regarding any behavioral issues or problems with your pets.