Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How to Potty Train Your New Puppy

You have brought your new puppy home and now it’s time to start potty training it. In reality, if your puppy is under 16 weeks old, it is more a matter of it training you. Puppies are much like small children and don’t have much control until they are about 4 months old.

The first thing that you will need for a young puppy is a crate. If your pup is young and is going to be staying in his crate while you are at work for some hours, his crate should be big enough to house his bed and a small area to use as a potty. Puppies younger than 16 weeks should not be expected to hold it for 8 hours a day. Some breeds may but generally if your young puppy can, you should celebrate.

I personally use a playpen the size of the portable ones for babies. I put his bed in half and newspaper in the other half along with their water. Dogs, as a rule, do not like to go potty in their bed so eventually they will be able to wait until you get home. When you take him out, immediately take him to his assigned potty place and wait for him to go.

Even though your pup might not be ready to be totally trustworthy in the house, the time to start house training is now. You want him to develop good habits. You are going to spend the first several weeks observing your pup and trying your best to get him into his assigned potty place when he is ready to go. I bet you are asking, “How am I supposed to know when he has to go potty?” It’s actually pretty easy once you start watching him.

Signs and Times That Your Pup Has to Go…. NOW!!

  • Waking Up. Unlike babies, puppies don’t go in their sleep so as soon as they wake up, it is a pretty safe bet that they will have to go. When you wake your pup up, take him outside right away. Don’t talk to him or play with him until he has gone potty.
  • After Eating. Within a few minutes to a half hour after eating, most pups will need to go. Again, once he has finished eating, take him out and wait for him to go. Potty time is not play time so wait to play until he has finished his business.
  • Circling: If you watch your pup outside when you take him out for a potty break, you will notice that almost all dogs run or walk in circles while sniffing just before going potty. You might notice that he doesn’t come when he is called when he is thinking about ‘going’ and the circles may get smaller and smaller until he finally goes. If you see him sniffing in circles in the house, it’s time to go out. Some young puppies don’t sniff but you will notice them doing the circling behavior.
  • Going Away: Another behavior you might notice in your pup is that they will disappear into another room when they have to go. This is common once he has made a mistake or two and you have yelled or gotten upset with him. If you notice your normally attentive puppy suddenly withdrawing or going into another room, it is probably time to take him out.

More Housetraining Hints

Use the same command every time you take him outside. It is a better idea if the command is short; perhaps a word or possibly two. “Go Potty” “Hurry Up” or even just “Potty” will work. Use whatever command you are comfortable with because you will want to say it each time you take him out.

If you are consistent and pay attention, you will have a housetrained puppy by the time he is old enough to really control it. If you are not consistent and the puppy makes frequent mistakes in the house, you are making a habit that will stick with him forever and be difficult to break at a later date.

When he makes a mistake indoors, don't make a big deal about it. Clean it up with a solution of vinegar and water to remove any odor and take the pup outside. If you do not use some sort of solution to clean the odor out, he will return to this spot again and again. This is why they prescent housetraining pads.

If you have a small dog and you choose not to take him outside to potty, you can use the same technique with housebreaking pads or newspapers. Instead of taking him outside, you would take him to his pad and gently keep him on it until he goes. The important thing with a puppy is not to yell, spank or otherwise reprimand him if he makes a mistake. This will only drive him to find that quiet spot behind the living room chair to go where you can’t see him.

Be consistent, be kind and remember not to scold him. It is your responsibility to get him to his potty place when it is time to go.

I hope you have enjoyed this and if you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment or email me. I am always glad to help out. I will be posting a follow up about how to house train an older dog or older puppy at a later date.


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Dog Service Network said...

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For more information, please visit http://www.dogservicenetwork.com/thepetloo/general_info.html