Getting a new puppy is always an occasion for joy, but for first-timers, it can also be stressful. Needless to say, you need to get everything right, so that you and your new best friend can enjoy many happy years together, and that means training your pet to be a good canine citizen. Before you get going on obedience training, though, start with house training.
You might think that house training is going to take forever, but the reality is that if you follow these twelve basic steps, you’ll find the job done quickly – probably in just a couple weeks.
- Be Consistent
There’s more than one way of house training a puppy. Just make sure that whatever approach you choose, you stay with it.
Dogs are happiest when they know what to expect, and what’s expected of them. So set specific times for foods. Then, about half an hour after your puppy has eaten, put him outside, and wait until he’s done his business. Then bring him back in.
- Be Watchful
Puppies have to be closely supervised, particularly during house training. You should keep your puppy with you, and watch out for signs that he wants to go potty (walking in circles is a tip-off).
- Don’t Request Too Much Too Soon
A puppy is not going to be able to control his bladder or intestines for very long. In fact, when you first bring your puppy home (usually at around 8 weeks of age), you can expect he’ll have to go outside every few hours. As he matures, he’ll have more control.
- Strategy for Regular Trips Outdoors
If you can, take your puppy outside hourly, at least for your first few days. By doing this, you will dramatically reduce the odds of accidents in the house, and you’ll also be increasing the number of opportunities you need to reinforce the idea that you want him to do his business outside.
- Separate Potty Time from Play Time
Don’t hang around outdoors once the potty break is over – bring the puppy inside right away. You can go back to perform in a few minutes if you prefer, but what you’re trying to do is reinforce the idea that the yard is where he’s supposed to feces and urine.
- Pick a Spot
You’ll have greater success if you choose only one place in the yard for potty trips (it will make cleanup easier, too). Always lead the pup to a single spot. His nose will tell him that this is the ideal location.
- Pick a Phrase
When you take the pup to the spot you’ve selected, tell him”Go potty,” or another phrase you have chosen. Eventually, he’ll go to his special spot in the lawn just by being told, without needing to be led.
- Make Good Things Happen
Praise your puppy and give him a treat as soon as you’re back in the home – not while he’s doing his business in the lawn. You don’t want him to think he’s being praised for peeing or pooping; differently, he is not going to understand why he’s not praised when he does it at the house. What you are teaching him is that if he does his business outside, something good will happen when get gets back inside.
- Do Not Feed Before Bed
Two hours before it’s time to turn in for the night, take away the water dish, and do not offer any treats. This way, the chances of accidents during the night can be reduced.
When you can’t be at home, put your puppy in a crate. Just make certain that the crate is not so large that the puppy decides that one area is for sleeping, and yet another for eliminating. Before crating, be sure he gets a potty trip out into the yard, and when you get back, take him out again.
- Never Punish
Do not punish your puppy for injuries. Some dogs take a bit longer than others to house train, but if you punish, you run the risk of the pup trying to hide his mistakes from you.
The Last Word
House training a puppy takes a little bit of time and effort, but it needs to be done.