Puppy House Training Help and Information
House Training Overview
Puppy house training or housebreaking functions to teach a puppy that the indoors, the house, is his den, and not to potty in it but rather outside. Dogs naturally don’t like to make a mess where they eat and sleep thus it’s really not that difficult to house train a puppy. It does take some dedicated patience and consistent behavior modification – but once they are house trained, you will be happy you made the commitment.
When house training puppies, there are several ways of approaching the task, one of the is called housebreaking – which somehow implies to some that one needs to use force by rubbing noses in their mess, using rolled up papers etc; this is not the correct way to teach a dog and can even take longer. If the trainer is stuck cleaning up a mess it really suggests that the trainer broke the rules – by not paying attention to the puppy – we’ll get to the rules in a minute.
The best way to housetraining a puppy is by using a dog crate – sometimes that means crate training at the same time which will actually make it easier for everyone involved. See more on crate training here:
If you don’t have, or choose not to use a crate, that is entirely ok, but you will have to be a bit more observant of your puppy. Well be talking about both methods throughout this article.
House Training Introduction
To properly house train your puppy you need to understand him or her. There are several things we’ll mention here but every puppy is unique and you will have to be alert his or her way of doing things. In no time as you bond and get to know the dog, you will pick up on their body language and understand for instance, if the puppy is pacing and sniffing around, whether or not he or she is simply smelling around, or scouting for a place to potty. Obviously, when they’re scouting, its off outside we go.
Understanding your Puppy
Understanding more about your puppy and dogs in general will help you understand better what they are capable of and what you can generally expect out of them. In the early months of a puppy’s life, they have very limited bladder control. At 3 months, they need to go out at least every 2 hours during the day. For the first few days of house training, you will have to wake up a couple of times during the night to let them out, however, puppies usually get the hang of sleeping through the night and you wont have to worry for too long. Just keep committed, he will be house trained! At 4 months of age, they normally need to potty every 4 hours. 5 to 6 months, about 6 to 7 hours. All dogs regardless of age need to relieve themselves every 8 hours or they could develop bladder infections. For those that work during the day, that might mean hiring a dog walker.
Puppies always need to potty first thing in the morning when they wake up and following any naps they have throughout the day. Anytime he or she wakes up, first things are first – and that’s to go outside.
Puppies will also need to go out after eating. After they have breakfast it’s on to go potty before they start the rest of the day – which is usually going right back to sleep. They sure do have the life. Finally any excessive emotional moment such as the puppy getting scared, hurt, or a super rowdy rough play session, make a short trip outside for good measure.
Make sure you remain consistent that he or she gets a chance to potty outside every 2 hours, as this is critical to successful house training.
Praising for House Training
One of the most important things understand about your puppy when house training is the power of praise and it’s effect on your puppy’s outcome. Dogs are man’s best friend because they choose to be – they also choose to go above and beyond when they can and it’s because they want to please you. The best reward for a dog is your loving attention – and of course whatever you’re eating :) When they experience praise, they get all giggly inside and want that reward again and again. Praising them highly while endearing them will bring you faster results and more of them then hitting, yelling, or overly punishing them will ever do. It’s ok to punish your puppy but it has to be done tactfully i.e. punishing the poop, not the puppy. Such a punishment is felt without scarring your dog. Dog’s don’t have the mental capacity to link what they have done, to a punishment they are currently receiving. It will only confuse them and cause them be uncertain of you. Hurting your dogs physical well being, or it’s mental well being will further cause unpredictable behaviors and consequences down the road.
Puppy House Training – Making it happen
You might have spotted a pattern above and that is the routines that puppies and all dogs have. If you understand this you can use it to your advantage in house training by scheduling every moment of your puppies day. You may need to meet your puppy half way when it comes to developing a schedule, like waking up when he gets up, and starting your day. Feed your puppy breakfast at the same time every morning. Put him in his crate after the morning play session. Nap-potty-play, nap-potty-play. Dinner, again same time of the day. Potty then play. Again you’ll learn your puppies needs as you get to know each other.
Using the Crate when House Training
When house training the crate is used to help shape the puppy’s pottying behavior and is achieved by regulating his schedule. Earlier we talked about scheduling every moment of the puppy’s day and using a crate helps by filling in the gaps between eating, playing and pottying, and the next round.
Dogs are den animals that don’t like their home soiled with potty goodness, or rather badness.. goodness just sounded better. Mother dogs will even clean up feces and urine that her babies produce to keep a clean and healthy environment. It is to our benefit that dogs come prepared with this behavior, however we do need to show them the new boundaries. When it comes to their crate, they almost from the start don’t want to go potty because this is their little den, as they eat and drink in there, sleep in there, and often times have their favorite little toys in there. So when we use the crate for those in-between times, we are guaranteeing a few moments to ourselves where we can do other tasks in the homes and trust our new puppy won’t poop in the house.
Once you have setup your crate, make sure that it isn’t too large – it is fine if you purchased one to grow into but make sure you purchase or fabricate a separator to divide the crate into a smaller part. Too much room in the crate and the puppy will designate a bathroom on the other side. So try to reduce the space he or she has to a minimum while allowing a nice level of comfort. Be sure that there is a water bowl, or a large rabbit watering system particularly for water dogs as they might just want to take a dive. Be sure the good toys are in there and a sleeping pad.
Using No Crate when House Training
When house training, you can get the same results without a crate by using a confined area using a wire mesh dog pen – be sure you reduce the area enough so that it will be effective in shaping his pottying behavior. You can also use a gated system – as long as the area of the home is small.
House Training Bathroom Basics
Before you do anything with your puppy, lets take him to the bathroom to potty. Introduce him to the yard or grass he will be relieving himself on. Make sure this first experience is on the grass when you bring him home as he’ll immediately remember the place with the familiar smells, the grass between his toes etc., to do his business the next time. This is important in the conditioning process of his behavior as every time he relieves himself, it will be a successful adventure. If he relieves himself on the carpet, he will associate that feeling and environment, along with your correction as the big no-no. If your puppy doesn’t relieve himself, try to remain as persistent as long as you can, for up to 20 minutes. If he has produce take him back in and try again in 5-6 minutes. It’s coming – and you don’t want it to be on the carpet. House training at this point is really about your perseverance so stay with it.
Now when your puppy first produces a mess on the grass, you want to praise him or her like no other Pick up your puppy, endearing him and talking about the great job he did. After rewarding with love and affection, bring out the other secret weapon –play time. This part is different for everyone – play ball, get on the floor, wear each other out. When play time is over, nap time usually begins shortly so let the puppy cool off then make your way back outside. You want to be sure your puppy has everything out and is ready to hold it for a couple of hours. Once he has gone, praise and pat but this time you’ll take him back inside and lead him to the crate. Lure him in with toys or perhaps a treat and let him know that it’s nap time.
The Housetraining Schedule for the New Puppy
Next define your schedule, but understand you’ll have to meet him half way on a few things for the first month or so, i.e. waking up early, perhaps a trip outside during the twilight hours etc.
Start your schedule at rising and be sure to take your puppy outside first thing in the morning. Take him to the potty spot and wait until your puppy has produced the potty. Repeat the praise and rubs for the job well done and reward with play time again.
Next give your puppy it’s first meal of the day immediately following with going potty outside. After the puppy has produced, take it back to the crate for it’s nap.
Immediately following the pups wake, lead him outside to potty. At this point he is learning that “hey, every time I’ve pottied, it’s been outside!”
Follow with play time, lunch and treats, potty.
Play time, potty, nap time.
You’ll notice every other step is going outside and it’s tough – you’ll be worn out in the end but you yourself will be rewarded not having to clean up carpet. Going outside is cake compared to cleaning up soggy puppy poop. Accidents do happen, but most learn quickly to prepare early by observing your pup any time they are outside their crate and watching their body language.
Typically the house training process should take about 2 weeks – if you’re particularly vigilant, you might just have a fully house trained puppy inside a week. This is certainly possible if you have the ability to take the week off or don’t have a typical 8-5 job. If you can’t take a week off but want to accelerate your house training, consider talking to your boss and let him or her know about the new family member and that you need to run home a few times a day for the first week. If that can be accommodated, you’ll have all the tools you need for speedy training.
When Accidents Do Happen
Accidents do happen and usually occurs because the puppy caught you off guard – they’re great at appearing content with a toy and while you run to the kitchen, they run off to a corner, particularly, if they smell urine in a spot that may have been used before. Dogs have such a keen sense of smell that most household cleaners and even those made to clean up dog stains, can not completely remove the traces and residue left behind.
When your puppy does happen to catch you off guard, do not reprimand him, rather put him at your side in front of the mess and be sure he is paying attention to you. Scold the poop – tell it no. Do not scold your puppy, as we mentioned before he absolutely will not understand the connection. But he will understand that the poop shouldn’t be there.
If you catch your puppy in the act, say “No” loudly. While repeating the “No”, move swiftly and without letting him finish, scoop him up and race him outside. Immediately place him on the grass and tell him “Potty Here!” As he finishes, praise your puppy wildly with words and affection. Your puppy will immediately understand the mistake, more than ever now, and want to correct it next time.
How to Clean Up Accidents and Urine Odor in Carpet
It is important to clean the urine odor in carpet as your dog may revisit the spot and be inclined to reuse it. Also if you have guest pets over, they will also be encouraged to use the spot for territorial marking. Simple soap and water will not remove the smells and odors that your dogs can smell so it is important to eliminate it all-together.
To clean the accident and stain there are several products on the market – some work, and unfortunately some don’t. First try using club soda and blot the carpet until you can lift the stain. Towel pat the treated area until dry. You can apply baking soda directly to the area to dry to lift some of the surface odors, then vacuum. If you choose to take this step, be aware you’ll want to repeat this as a final step. Next mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water – you can vary this a bit but be careful not to replace an odor with a stronger one. Vinegar will neutralize the urine smell as well as the imperceptible scent that your dog will smell. Again blot the area making sure to treat the entire length of the fiber from the base to the surface. The final step – apply baking soda throughout the area and allow to dry. Once dried, vacuum it up and you should be set.
A couple of products you might want to look for:
Nature’s Miracle (liquid & powder)
It shouldn’t take any longer than two weeks (plus or minus a couple of days with certain dog breeds) and you’ll have a fully house trained puppy– never again to potty in the house if he can help it. There are those times where they might get sick and have no other means of escaping but generally they will hold it as long as they possibly can. Anyway, just remember that the training is more about perseverance than anything. If you remain fully committed, with an unfailing consistency, you’ll have it made in no time!
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