Helping to House Train Your Puppy
In order to reach the objective of having a house trained dog when it becomes full-grown (or sooner), you need to have complete control of your puppy’s time. That means 100% management of what your pup is doing 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We can hear a collective sharp intake of breath as you read this! Employing the use of a crate will ensure that you do not lose your mind and it will give you a realistic approach to achieving this level of control with your puppy.
If your pup has an accident in the house, it is your accident, not the puppy’s. To reduce the possibility of accidents, we strongly recommend the use of a crate. Crating a puppy allows you a break from overseeing what your dog is doing. At the same time, it ensures that your pup is safe.
Dogs are inherently clean animals. A mother dog will clean any soiled area of the nest. A responsible breeder will also be sure to keep the litter area spotless. This ensures that the puppy is accustomed to a clean environment and will carry over once you begin to crate the puppy. They are used to a clean space and they are naturally not going to soil in the confined space of their crate.
Crating is not a permanent setup. Once the dog he is reliably going to the bathroom reliably outside the house and he can be trusted to roam inside when you are absent or concentrating on something else, the crate is optional. When your dog is ready will depend on you, the dog’s breed, and how fast he matures.
It is valuable to maintain your dog’s comfort level with the crate throughout his life. It’s extremely helpful at the groomer, vet, and during travel
Why Structure is Important
Although the use of the crate is very powerful in teaching a puppy the right place to go to the bathroom, it is not the only reason we recommend its use. Puppies will learn bad habits if they are left to wander the house alone. Puppies will indiscriminately chew, they will indiscriminately bark, they will eat whatever appeals to them, and they will sleep in the most comfortable spot.
This in itself does not sound so bad until you consider that without your supervision, your pup would chew on your prized photo album collection, bark at friends and good neighbors, eat your child’s chocolate Easter Egg (toxic to a dog), and lie on your two hundred dollar duvet while eating it.
Another great reason for structure is motivation. If we give our puppies complete freedom and we let them have all of their toys, what are we left with? If we give them our undivided love and affection and yummy treats for absolutely nothing, we have lost a great opportunity. All of our great motivating tools have been squandered.
House training is a fairly simple process, all you need to do is prevent accidents in the house and reward elimination outside. But just because it’s simple, doesn’t meant it’s easy. Training requires patience, consistency, and absolute attention from the owner. The dog should be always be:
- Outside with you. OR
- Inside with your constant supervision. OR
- Confined in a small, puppy-proof space such as a crate or small room.
Outside With You
- Six to eight times a day, take your puppy outside to eliminate. Choose an appropriate spot to take the puppy immediately after it wakes up, after play sessions and 15 to 30 minutes after meals. If you take your puppy to the same spot every day, previous odors will stimulate it to urinate or defecate. Many puppies need 15 to 20 minutes of moving around and sniffing before they eliminate.
- Stay with the puppy the whole time. House breaking problems can result if you’re unsure whether the puppy actually eliminated and you let them return to the house too soon.
- The puppy needs to focus on the job at hand, so don’t play with it until it has eliminated.
- Use a key phrase while the puppy eliminates. If you repeat the same phrase (e.g. “hurry up” ) every time your puppy eliminates outdoors, it will learn that this phrase means that it’s the right time and place to eliminate.
- Once the puppy eliminates outdoors, immediately reward with a treat and praise. Just remember to reward right away. Otherwise, the puppy will think that it is being rewarded for coming inside.
- Wait at least 5 minutes before you go back inside the house. Now is a great time to play with your dog or start your walk.