Housebreaking Your New Puppy
Puppies are cute and cuddly but housebreaking your newly acquired best friend may pose quite a challenge. The most important thing to remember is - don't give up and be consistent!
One of the best and well known methods in teaching your puppy when and where to eliminate is by keeping it confined to a small area such as a crate or small room. If you are using a crate be sure the crate is the proper size - having a crate that is too large will only allow your pet to eliminate in one area and sleep in the other. Most dogs do not want to eliminate where they live so this approach can help speed up the process. In the beginning, do not keep anything at the bottom of the crate in case of accidents. At regular intervals, remove your puppy from the crate and take it on leash outside and lead it to the area of the yard you wish for him to 'do his business'. Begin by saying 'do you want to go outside?' or something to that affect. This will train your dog to recognize the word 'outside' and know when you say that word it's time for them to go outside and eliminate. Once outside, use words such as 'do your business' or 'time to go potty'. Praise them in a cheerful tone when they are done.
Once your puppy has eliminated outside, it has earned freedom from the crate for a short period of time. Your puppy will soon associate freedom from the crate with going outside and eliminating. Do not make the mistake of leaving your puppy unsupervised as accidents still do happen. A rule of thumb to figure out how long your puppy can remain in a confined area without going outside is to take their age in months and convert it to hours. For instance, if your puppy is 4 months old, it can probably remain in a crate for 4 hours without the need to go out. Many adult dogs can remain indoors for 12-13 hours without the need to go outside.
Establishing a routine also helps your puppy learn the rules. Whenever there is a change in activity such as waking up from a nap, after play time, or a walk, take your puppy outside. If you see your puppy circling or sniffing, this is a good indication they are looking for a place to eliminate. Try to anticipate their needs before accidents happen. If an accident does happen, say a sharp 'No' or clap your hands. Do not scare your dog, which only makes your dog fearful. You must catch them in the act to discipline them, once the deed is done if you try to discipline them they will not know what they are being punished for.
Crate training is just one way to housetrain your puppy, and is one of the more popular methods. Talk to your Trainer or Vet for other possible alternatives and do what works best for you.
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