The Secret to House Training Puppies
The three P’s – Prevention, Praise and Perseverance!
Puppy House Training Rule 1 – Prevention
Just like a brand new human baby needs diapers for the first few years of it’s life, puppies need a place to pee and poop until their little puppy bladders can hold it like an adult dog. Puppies have poor bladder and bowel control – having to pee every few hours, and poop several times a day. Keeping your puppy in an area with quick access to newspapers, a puppy litter box, puppy pee pads or the back yard is essential in the first few months of your house training regimen. Accidents are inevitable, so don’t let puppy romp unsupervised in areas where cleanup is difficult.
Play with puppy where there is no carpeting or furniture that can be soiled – areas where flooring is linoleum, tile or well-sealed hardwood are best. NEVER give puppy free reign of the house – even when supervised. Watch carefully for signs of impending peeing or pooping such as sniffing the floor, moving in circles, or sudden disappearing acts.
If you catch puppy in the act – DO NOT SCOLD! – simply move puppy outdoors or to his designated “bathroom area” – then clean up the soiled area, using an enzymatic cleaner specially created for pet odor cleanup. You must completely eliminate the odor – or puppy may smell it later and think it’s a good place to go again. If puppy finished doing his business where he is supposed to, praise him lavishly! You can also offer him a tiny tidbit of his regular kibble food as a reward.
Always feed your puppy a high-quality puppy food, and stick to the same food at all times. Feed your puppy on a regular schedule, and avoid giving puppy table scraps or other such tidbits and treats intended for humans. Don’t switch between brands of food – puppy’s tummy is sensitive and delicate. Human food or sudden changes in diet will likely give puppy diarrhea, which will make your house training attempts very difficult.
After puppy eats, take him outdoors to the area where you want him to eliminate. Come up with a command that you will use when you want him to do his business. Whether it’s “hurry up”, “Let’s do it”, “Do your business”, or whatever you choose, be consistent and use the same command every time. If possible, remain there until puppy completely eliminates, then follow with lots of praise and a small treat of his regular puppy kibble.
If you haven’t already done so, your new puppy should be taken to your veterinarian for a well-puppy check up. This will ensure that your puppy is in good health and is free from conditions that might hinder your housebreaking efforts, such as a bladder infection, parasites, fleas, etc. Your veterinarian will likely want to vaccinate and de-worm your puppy (unless your breeder has already done so) and put him on a regular schedule of vaccinations, de-worming, flea protection and heartworm preventive medications.
You should spend as much time with your puppy as you possibly can, but when you can’t directly supervise your puppy, you should confine your puppy to a comfortable crate or small pen. You should also place puppy there at night when the family is asleep. Your puppy’s crate or pen should be his oasis – NEVER use a crate or pen as punishment.
DO NOT confine puppy for excessive lengths of time. Puppies thrive on human companionship and can suffer greatly from separation anxiety, which can occur when you leave him alone too long or too often. In addition to being cruel, long periods of isolation can cause your puppy to misbehave by chewing, digging, barking excessively, hyperactivity and even harming himself.
The puppy’s crate should be used for dog naps, overnight and for short periods of time when you must leave the house. If you have to be away all day, you can hire a caring pet sitter to drop in on your puppy to provide a break for play, companionship, elimination and exercise. Better yet, consider putting puppy in a Dog Daycare during the day where puppy can play with other dogs and people. Many Dog Daycares and Pet Sitters will assist in the early training process for your puppy – be sure to ask!
Give puppy plenty of outdoor exercise! It’s good for both you – and puppy – and gives your puppy lots of opportunity to pee and poop outdoors, where you want the activity to eventually be limited to. Weather permitting, your puppy should be taken for a short walk or to play in your securely fenced back yard at least twice a day for 20 minutes or more. Family members can take turns exercising your puppy, or you can all participate at once.
Puppy Housebreaking Rule 2 – Praise
Your puppy loves you and wants to make you happy. You are his world! Lavish him with praise when he does good, and you’ll soon have a do-gooder puppy! When it comes to house training your puppy, a little praise can go a long way. Whenever puppy eliminates in the right place, make sure he knows that you are very proud of him. Say “Good Dog”, “Way to Go”, “Woo Hoo”, “Yippee” or whatever you feel comfortable with – and do it with feeling!
Give puppy a tiny treat of his regular dog kibble at the same time, and be sure to reward him IMMEDIATELY after he does his business. Don’t worry what the neighbors will think of you jumping up and down and whooping like a goofball – THEY don’t have to shampoo your carpets! This goes for any behavior you want your puppy to repeat. Praise and a small treat are a great way to positively reinforce your puppy’s behavior.
Puppy House Training (Housebreaking) Rule #3 – Perseverance
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your puppy won’t be house trained in a week. Give it time and be consistent. Make sure all members of the family have been trained in the art of puppy housebreaking, and make sure everyone follows the plan to avoid confusing your puppy.
In the event that you are unable to successfully house train your puppy, despite your best efforts, please consider consulting a professional dog trainer or dog behavior specialist. They can help you determine where your efforts are going wrong, or suggest and help you implement other more intensive methods for housebreaking your puppy.
Remember the commitment you made to your puppy when you invited him to become a part of your family. You wouldn’t give away a baby or child for peeing on the carpet, so why should your “baby” be any different? Puppies and even older dogs CAN be housetrained! It just takes time, effort and consistency from every member of the family.
- Supervise your puppy at all times and keep him out of areas you do not want him to go.
- Take him outdoors frequently to do his business.
- Clean up accidents immediately and thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner specially formulated as a pet stain and odor remover.
- Confine your puppy to a crate or pen when you can’t be with him.
- Give puppy lots of companionship and exercise.
- Feed a quality puppy food on a tight schedule and don’t alternate or change his brand of food.
- Praise your puppy lavishly when he does good!
- DO NOT SCOLD HIM if he has an accident.
- Be patient and consistent. Your puppy is worth the effort!
- If all else fails – consult a professional dog trainer for assistance.
If you follow these tips and give it enough time, you’ll have a house trained puppy that will provide your family with many years of love, joy, laughter and companionship!
New puppies are a wonderful addition to any family; Regardless of his color, breed, or whether he’s smooth or fluffy, a new puppy seems to possess this uncanny ability to wiggle his way right into the heart. Getting a new puppy is exciting too, and there are always so many things to decide. What do we feed him? Where will he sleep? When should he get his shots and how do we go about housebreaking him? Deciding to become a new pet owner requires a great deal of responsibility and, if you aren‘t prepared, it can really make your head spin. Before you start to feel overwhelmed by the puppy pandemonium, here are some helpful reminders and hints to keep in mind:
Before You Purchase or Adopt a Puppy
There are several key things that should be taken into consideration before you go out and get a puppy. While they may seem like common sense, they are commonly overlooked in the excitement and worthy of note. If you haven’t gotten your puppy already, be sure to think over the decision carefully and try to follow these simple steps:
1. Make sure that the decision to get a new pet is a family decision. A new puppy should never be brought into the home unless everyone in the home is in agreement. Sadly, there are a large number of people in the world who have allergies and have to avoid certain pets; be sure to be considerate and talk it over with everyone first.
2. Look at your lifestyle. Remember that puppies don’t possess magic qualities that will transform a couch-potato into a marathon runner, an English Bulldog doesn’t make the best jogging partner, and , if you tend to have a very busy lifestyle, high-maintenance beauties like the Yorkshire Terrier or Maltese may not be a wise choice. Be sure that, not only are you ready for a pet, but that you choose a pet that will compliment your lifestyle, just as you compliment his.
3. Familiarize yourself with the breed. This is especially important if the dog that you plan on getting is a purebred. Not only do you need to familiarize yourself with your puppy-to-be so that you can make a wise choice, but it’s also important to learn about the breed for health conditions. Is the breed prone to any genetic defects? Is hip dysplasia common? What about allergies? Some dogs do extremely poorly under anesthesia while other breeds are very susceptible to chemicals in flea treatments. Take the time to do a little research and read up on the kind of puppy you’d like to get.
Bringing Your New Puppy Home
So the big day is here and it’s time to bring your new puppy home. Congratulations! By now, the puppy panic might be setting in, but never fear – these important steps and reminders should help to ensure that nothing is forgotten and that the transition should be as easy as possible for both you and your puppy.
First off, you need to figure out transportation for your puppy. Please don’t think that you can take a new puppy and just set him down beside you on the car seat, as this can be very dangerous, not only for you but also for the puppy. Remember that this is probably one of his first car rides and he’s bound to be frightened and curious. Leaving him free roam of the car puts him at risk from tumbling off the seats or, worse, crawling under the driver’s legs and risking an accident. Of course, it’s not a good idea to have someone hold your puppy either – remember that, when puppies get scared, it’s not uncommon for them to piddle or get sick to their stomach. For your puppy’s safety, as well as your own, be sure that you have a crate to transport him properly.
Taking Your New Puppy For A Veterinary Exam
Before you bring your puppy into your home, you will want to swing by the veterinarian’s office first. While you may be able to tell great deal from your puppy’s appearance, a vet can check him for more serious conditions, as well as administer any vaccinations that your four-legged friend may require. Do this right away, especially if you have other pets in the home. Also speak with your veterinarian regarding feeding your puppy; how much should he be eating and how often. Some breeds, such as Yorkies, can develop hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) if they go too long between meals.
Introducing Your New Puppy To Other Family Pets
Once you get home, carry out introductions with any other pets carefully and with constant close supervision. It’s easy for other pets to feel apprehensive or jealous towards the new puppy, so it’s important that you take the time to introduce him to the other pets. Some places will even allow you to carry out introductions before you even adopt your new pet, giving you the chance to see how both animals will react together when on neutral ground. This is the ideal way of introducing the two, as it prevents the established pet from feeling that he has to defend his territory, but whether you perform introductions at home or not, be sure to take it slow and be patient. Always praise your old pet and make just a big a fuss over him as you do the newcomer.
Puppy-Proofing Your Home and Yard
Puppy-proofing your home and yard is also essential. Take the time to get down to his level and look your home over, top to bottom. Tape down any electrical cords to ensure he cannot chew on them or apply a product, such as Bitter Apple, to discourage chewing. Check your home for toxic houseplants and any chemicals that puppies may get into (anti-freeze is especially tasty to pets and very deadly). Also be sure to block off any stairs that a puppy can climb up or tumble down, as puppies tend to be very clumsy for the first few months of life. Even once your house is puppy-proofed, however, remember that puppies are like children and should have constant supervision. Always be watchful when your puppy is on the prowl.
Housebreaking Your New Puppy
House training puppies is always a major concern and, in truth, there is only one way to housetrain a puppy: through observation and patience. Puppies are creatures of habit and so, by feeding him at the same time every day and by observing your puppy, you will learn when he needs to be taken outside. Most puppies need to go outside after eating or drinking, when they first wake up from a nap, or right after vigorously playing. Do not yell at your puppy, if he does have an accident, as this just teaches him to be sneaky. Instead, calmly take your puppy outside every two hours and spend time with him, telling him to “go potty,” regularly, until he learns what it is that you expect of him.
What Will Your New Puppy Need?
Important items to have on hand for your new puppy should include at least a week’s supply of the food that he was originally being fed at his old home (mix it in with his new food gradually, if you plan to change him over), some teething and chew toys (rubber bones and rope pulls are much safer than rawhide, which is hard for them to digest), and your new puppy should have a crate that is large enough to accommodate him comfortably as an adult dog.
Welcoming a new puppy into your home is an exciting event. If done properly, you and your puppy are sure to make the necessary transitions with ease and will soon be on the path to enjoying a long and happy life together. Hopefully these tips will help keep everyone smiling and tails wagging.