Is there a way to provide a solid foundation to housetraining a puppy? There sure is. The first step that any pet owners should do is to start the training as soon as they bring the puppy home. The easiest method in this training process is to use a crate.
Simply put, housetraining involves these basic steps:
- Take some time off to housetrain the puppy.
- As soon as you bring your puppy home you should start using a crate.
- Take the puppy outside to go to the bathroom every couple of hours during the day.
- For young puppies plan on getting up in the middle of the night to take your puppy outside for a bathroom break.
- Praise your puppy every time it does good.
- Don't punish your puppy for things that it's done if you didn't catch it in the act.
Now that you know the basics of housetraining your puppy, let's dive a little deeper into each step or process of the training program.
1. Take some time off to train your puppy:
Experts in the dog training industry agree. Pet owners should take a couple of weeks off from work to start training their puppy. This is often easier said than done. My recommendation is to only plan on getting a puppy when you start your vacation. This training process should start the day you bring the new puppy home. And stick to the training plan and objectives. Consistency is a must for puppies.
2. Start using a crate the day your puppy comes home:
Using a crate will help your new puppy to learn bladder and bowel control. The reason for this is that no dog likes to soil their sleeping areas. And that includes puppies.
The crate itself should be only big enough for the pup to stand up, turn around, and lie down in comfort. It should not be big enough for the pup to roam around. You should also keep the crate in a area where there is constant traffic. Puppies will feel isolated if they are in a crate that is in an area where nobody hardly goes.
The crate should only be used to let your puppy take a break or a nap. It should not be a permanent place for it to stay. Try to limit the time that the puppy stays in the crate to two hours at a time during the day.
3. Take your puppy outside regularly for a bathroom break:
There is a rule of thumb for how long a puppy can hold it before it needs to go to the bathroom. Generally it is one hour for each month of age plus one hour. That translates to 4 hours for a three month old before you need to take it outside. This means that throughout the night you will need to get up at least once to take the puppy outside for a bathroom break. During the day, however, you should be taking the puppy outside at least every two hours.
And don't forget to take the puppy out after every meal, after it takes a drink of water, after it wakes up from a nap, and after playing. And when you wake up in the morning this should be the first thing you do as well as the last thing to do before going to bed.
4. Plan to take your puppy out in the middle of the night:
Puppies, just like babies, don't sleep a throughout the whole night. They tend to wake up every three or four hours. For the pet owner this means a middle-of-the-night bathroom run for the pup. You should expect to continue these outings until the puppy is about four or five months old.
5. Give lots of praise and treats for jobs well done:
This is an area where a lot of pet owners tend to fall short in. Most owners believe that this will spoil the dog (which there is nothing wrong with this). You need to keep in mind that dogs tend to learn much quicker on a reward system. It doesn't take long for any dog to realize that they get something that they want if they are good or do something that you want them to do. So keep some treats in your pocket and when you puppy relieves itself outside reward her immediately with a treat and some words of praise.
The reward system works only if the animal is rewarded immediately after doing a good job. Don't wait because the puppy has a short memory and will not associate the treat with the good deed.
6. Don't punish the pup for accidents that you don't see them doing:
This is something that a lot of pet owners get wrong. Especially new pet owners. Remember that a puppy has a short memory. So punishing them for something that they were not caught in the act of is a waste of time. The puppy will have no idea as to why you are punishing her. Only scold the puppy when you catch them urinating or pooping in the house. Not after.
When you see a mess on the floor you need to clean it up right away. The best products to cleaning such messes contain live bacteria or enzymes to break down the mess. Other cleaners like Pine sol or Lysol tend to only mask the odor a bit with fragrances. Also, do not use any cleaners in the house that are ammonia-based. These smell like urine to an animal and tend to encourage them to do their business in that spot.
Some Basic Guideline For Using A Crate
Many pet owners don't fully understand the use of a crate for housetraining. This also means that they tend to use the crate improperly during the training process. Below are some things to keep in mind when housetraining your puppy.
- Keep the confinement periods short. Don't keep the puppy in the crate for more than a couple of hours at a time during the day. If she is in the crate for longer periods she is likely to go to the bathroom in her crate. And once that happens you have just made the housetraining process a hundred times harder.
- Use the same area in your yard as an elimination station. Dogs need a routine and having them relieve themselves in the same area each time will give your dog some consistency. It will also make your cleanup chore a lot easier.
- Don't distract your puppy. Keep quiet and still until your puppy has found the right spot to relieve herself. As soon as the puppy begins to go to the bathroom give her a command to go. For instance, every dog that I've ever had understood the commands "Go Pee" and "Go Poop." As the dogs got older, and me too, these commands came in handy when we were in a deep freeze in the middle of winter.
- Re-crate the dog if it doesn't go to the bathroom within five minutes. If the puppy hasn't gone to the bathroom after five minutes you should re-crate the puppy and try again in 15 to 20 minutes. Continue this until she goes. And once she has gone let her know that she can now stay out of the crate for at least a couple of hours.
Housetraining your puppy can be a rather simple and enjoyable process as long as you are consistent with the training process. Use of a crate will help to prevent accidents in the house and will also encourage the pup to relieve itself when it is taken out of the crate and straight outside.
Constantly reward the puppy when it does good. As soon as she relieves herself give her a treat, some gentle pats on the head, and plenty of encouraging words. Dogs love to please. And when they get this kind of attention they know that they've done well.