One of the first challenges you’ll need to address after bringing a new puppy home is housetraining. Your pet needs to learn when and where to eliminate. Unfortunately, a lot of owners take a hands-off approach. They place old newspapers in a spare room, expecting their young canines to understand what to do with them. When accidents occur – and they usually do – these owners become angry and scold their pets. There is a much more effective way to housetrain your pup.
Housebreaking your puppy requires attentiveness, time, and patience. Moreover, you must be willing to provide consistent guidance to avoid confusing him. In this article, we’ll present the step-by-step approach professional trainers recommend for housetraining puppies. It’s simple and fast, and will minimize the number of accidents your pet has along the way.
Establish A Schedule (And Be Consistent)
Puppies learn most effectively when following a routine. For this reason, setting a potty schedule is the first – and arguably, most important – step. As a rule, a pup can hold his bladder for as many hours as his age in months. If your puppy is eight weeks old, he can hold it for approximately two hours. Forcing him to do so longer will result in an accident.
Choose a small area outside your home, and designate it as your pet’s soiling spot. Take him to this area every couple of hours, or whenever he switches activities (e.g. awakening, eating, etc.).
Also, provide his meals at the same time each day. This will help him adapt to the elimination schedule you have created for him.
Be Aware Of Your Pet’s Indoor Activities
Keep your eye on your puppy whenever you’re indoors. Even if he has just eliminated, he may still have an accident. Watch for signs that he needs a potty break. He may begin sniffing the floor, or pacing in a circle. If he has already learned to use his elimination spot outside, he might alert you by barking. Place his leash on him, and take him to his designated area.
If you’re doing something that pulls your attention away for a few moments (for example, loading the dishwasher), place your pup’s leash on him, and keep him in view. Otherwise, he might roam to another room, and have an accident.
What To Do When You Must Step Away
There will be times when you’re forced to divert your attention for longer than a few minutes. For instance, you might need to take a shower or visit the grocery store. This is a good opportunity to help your puppy grow accustomed to a crate.
Dogs quickly learn to consider their crates to be their personal living spaces. For many of them, it is where they sleep, eat, and relax. They are reluctant to eliminate in them. If you need to step away for an extended period, confine your pup to his crate.
Observing And Reacting To Accidents
The most important rule for housetraining a puppy is to refrain from punishing him if he has an accident. Many owners will yell at their canines, or physically hold their noses to the site of the elimination. Such reactions are counterproductive. They do little more than teach the animal to fear his owner.
If you observe your pup urinating or defecating indoors, immediately pick him and position his tail between his legs. Take him to his designated spot, and allow him to finish. As he finishes outside, praise him and give him a treat, so he’ll understand that you are not punishing him.
Be sure to carefully clean the site of the accident inside your home. Dogs are drawn to eliminate in areas that contain the scents of elimination. Consider buying a product designed to get rid of such scents prior to bringing your puppy home for the first time.
On a last note, praise and treats should play important roles in housetraining your puppy. Both provide encouragement, and let him know he is doing things correctly.