Dog Health & More
Monday January 5th, 2009
1. Take time off to housetrain your puppy.
2. Start using a crate the day you bring her home.
3. Take your puppy outside for a bathroom break every one to two hours during the day.
4. Plan a middle-of-the-night potty run for young puppies.
5. Shower her with treats and praise when she does a good job.
6. Don't punish your pup for accidents you haven't seen.
1. Take time off to housetrain your puppy. Housetraining will be quicker and easier if you start as soon as your pup comes home, then stick to it 24 hours a day. That's one reason experts recommend taking off a week or two from work when you first get your pup.
2. Start using the crate the day you bring her home. Crate training helps dogs learn bladder and bowel control because they don't soiling their sleeping and eating areas.
The crate should be big enough for your pup to stand up, turn around, and lie down in comfortably, but no bigger. If it's too spacious, she may feel like she can eliminate in one corner and still keep her living space clean. Put the crate somewhere in your house where there's a lot of foot traffic to keep your pup from feeling isolated and get her used to the noise and bustle of your household. Or get a portable crate you can take with you from room to room.
Important: The crate should not be used to keep your pup "out of sight, out of mind." Give your puppy lots of breaks to stretch her legs and to play and bond with you; one or two hours at a stretch in the crate is all the time she should be spending there during the day.
3. Take your puppy outside for a bathroom break every one to two hours during the day. A general rule of thumb is that a puppy can hold it for as many hours as she is months old, plus one--for a three-month-old pup, that's four hours. But to prevent accidents in the crate, which make housetraining harder, as well as urinary tract infections, most experts recommend taking your puppy out every one to two hours during the day.
You should also give her a bathroom run after she eats or drinks, wakes up from a nap, or finishes a play session--all times when she's likely to go. She also be taken out first thing in the morning and last thing at night. And always watch for warning signs that she needs to go. Clues include whining, pacing, circling, or sniffing the ground. If you see any of these distress signals, take your pup outside right away.
4. Plan a middle-of-the-night potty run for young puppies. Puppies younger than four months will need a midnight potty break, so set your alarm. Keep nighttime bathroom runs calm and matter-of-fact, so your pup doesn't think it's playtime.
5. Shower her with treats and praise when she does a good job. Make sure the treats and praise come right after she finishes eliminating, and make the praise enthusiastic and the food treat top-notch. You want to make it crystal clear that eliminating outside is a great thing. Don't wait to get back to the house to give your puppy her treat; she won't connect the reward with what prompted it.
Important: Take your puppy for a walk or give her some playtime as a bonus reward. If she always comes straight back inside after eliminating, she'll learn to hold it to prolong her time outdoors.
6. Don't punish your pup for accidents you haven't seen. Clean up thoroughly so she's not drawn back to the same place by the smell of residual poop or urine. If you catch your puppy having an accident, startle her midstream with a shout or clap and then quickly hustle her outside to finish the job. Praise her when she's done so she learns that eliminating outside isn't just allowed, it's generously rewarded.
Bottom line: The keys to good housetraining include: