If you are planning on getting a puppy, you should learn how to housebreak him or her before you bring them home. You will save yourself so much added stress in your life. There are some important points to successful training and a strategic approach must be taken if you want to have a successful house training experience.
We learn from being on a schedule and having some structure in our lives. Well, dogs need to be on a schedule as well because they learn from repetition and consistency. They need to be fed, given water, and taken out at the same time, so eventually they let you know when they have to go out and you learn to read their body language. Also, you should confine your dog in a crate, playpen, or a small room during the house training schedule.
The crate is a safe place for your dog. It is the dog’s well protected home. The crate is comfortable to your dog because it is like his or her wild ancestors, the wolf, he or she instinctively seeks the safety and security of a “DEN.” The security of the crate is better than the confusing and sometimes frightening outside world.
You, as the owner, will eliminate many messes from the dog urinating or defecating all over the house. You will save plenty of money because the dog will not have the opportunity to bite and destroy furniture. I have seen some horrible destruction of the home caused by one dog.
By using a dog crate, the owner creates positive behavioral patterns, which enables the relationship between the pet and his or her owner to develop and grow. Most crates come with an extra metal piece that allows you to block off a portion of the crate. This is done because usually most dogs are clean animals and they don’t create a mess where they sleep or rest, so if they do have an accident then they have to lay in their mess. The dog has to have enough room to turn around and lay down.
If you are going to be gone for more than three hours in the beginning, you can get a doggie playpen or keep the dog in a small room because you cannot expect a puppy to hold his urine for a long period of time. Separate the playpen or room with his or her toys, chew toys (no rawhides because they are not safe), and a blanket or small bed on one side and newspaper or pee pads on the other side. Once the puppy goes to the bathroom in the morning outside, blot the pee with the newspaper or pee pad, so their scent is on it already and put it in the playpen or room. You can also leave some music on for them to feel more comfortable.
Think of your puppy as a baby. You would not leave a baby unattended for a certain amount of time, right? Well, that is why you should never leave a puppy alone either. The most important benefit to the pet owner, who utilizes crate training, is the control of the puppy or adult dog when it is alone at home. When dogs are left alone and allowed to roam too large of an area, they can become anxious, lonely, or bored.
When you are home, you should always have the dog on a watch or confine. When you can watch them, you should put the loop of the leash through a belt and put the belt on, so the dog is with you at all times. You can also put the loop of the leash under a heavy chair or table. You are able to read their body language to see when they need to go to the bathroom by sniffing around or turning in circles.
If the puppy or dog is not used to being on the leash, then put the leash on them and let them walk around with the leash dragging behind them. Please get a 6 ft. or 4 ft. nylon or chain link leash and not a retractable. Your leash is your tool and you have no control with the retractable. After about 2 days the dog should be used to the leash.
When you CAN NOT watch the dog, even if it is for a quick minute, put the dog in the crate. This is when the dog takes advantage and has an accident because he knows you are not watching. Also, it is peace of mind to you because you know that you are not walking out to find and have to clean an accident.
If you catch the dog in the act of having an accident, make as much noise as possible to stop them. If you do, then pick up the leash and take them out, so they can finish outside. Give them plenty of praise when they finish outside, so they realize that they did the right thing. If you do not catch them in the act and they had an accident already, as long as it is about 30 seconds afterwards, you can reprimand the dog. Walk the dog over to the accident, point to the nose then to the accident, and say “No, bad girl or boy,” then take the dog outside in the grass to show them where they need to go.
You can not yell at the dog after a minute of having an accident because their attention span is like a one year old. They live in the moment. Dogs react and cower after the minute because of your tone of voice and your body posture. DO NOT HIT THE DOG OR RUB THEIR NOSE IN IT!
Try and take the dog to the same spot every time to go to the bathroom, so they have their scent there. Every time the dog goes to the bathroom outside, give them plenty of praise. If the dog doesn’t go to the bathroom after 10 minutes, bring the dog back in and put them in the crate for 1 – 3 minutes then back outside, so you do not get frustrated waiting for 30 minutes or more.
During feeding time, feed your dog in the crate. This is done so that we start creating a pattern of going to the bathroom for the dog, as well as letting the dog know that when it’s feeding time, it’s feeding time and not play time. You’re making your dog concentrate without any distractions on EATING.
We’re basically giving the dog a no distraction environment, so that the dog realizes that there’s nothing else to do but eat. You should always feed a puppy two times a day and give them water three times a day. Remember to keep them on the same dog training schedule, so there is consistency. You cannot keep the water down at all times because their bladder is small and any kind of excitement and stimulation will make the puppy pee. If the puppy is running and playing outside, you can give them a small amount of water, so they do not get dehydrated.
- For every 10 pounds a dog should have 1 cup of water.
- Take your puppy out approximately 30 minutes after eating and drinking.
- Every single time the puppy wakes up they always have to pee!
- At first, when you are home, take your puppy out every 2 hours, then progress to 3 hours after you are for sure the dog can hold it for 2 – 21/2 hours.
- Keep a log of when your puppy is peeing and defecating to see the pattern on a daily basis. The same way you potty train a child is the same for a puppy.
The most important thing to remember is that dogs are creatures of habit and they learn from repetition and consistency. You must take the time to get your puppy on a schedule and PLEASE DO NOT GIVE UP ON YOUR DOG! It is trial and error, so give your puppy a chance and expect some accidents. PATIENCE IS KEY!