5 Tips For Housetraining Your Dog
There are few things as exciting as bringing home a new member of the family, including the furry ones! But with all the excitement also comes a lot of work. Puppies have much to learn, and it's up to their owners to teach them when and where to use the potty. Here are 5 tips for housetraining your dog.
Schedule & Consistency
Part of housetraining dogs is creating a schedule and keeping it consistent. Dogs typically need a potty break just after they eat. Because you can control when they're fed, you have, to a degree, control of when they relieve themselves. For it to work efficiently the feeding schedule should be the same every day and your dog should not eat between meals.
Just like with the feeding schedule, it's important be consistent with where you take your puppy to do his business. Puppies gravitate to the same spot to relieve themselves and when you take your pup to this spot it reinforces and encourages him to go in the backyard rather than on your carpet or floor.
Before your puppy learns bladder control, you will have no control over when and where he relieves himself. For about a month, you may have to take matters into your own hands. When you notice he's about to relieve himself, scoop him up and take him to his potty spot. If he doesn't quite make it, don't make a big deal of it; he needs some practice and negative reinforcement -- scolding and disciplining -- sets your dog back with the housetraining. But repeating the action of taking him to the same spot to do his business helps get the message across. When he starts heading to that spot on his own, give him treats as positive reinforcement.
While you're housetraining your pup, you probably won't be able to be with him every moment of every day to make sure he's doing his business in the right spot. While you're at work, school or doing errands, keep him in a puppy pen or in a confined area, like a bathroom, where you can move bath mats and rugs easily to clean up after him. When you are home and let him out of his confined space, limit his access to the house. Let him explore one room each day to reduce the risk of accidents until he's fully housetrained.
Crate training should be done cautiously. Dogs typically don't do their business where they eat and sleep. This is why people keep puppies in crates at night and while they're at work; it also keeps your family room furniture intact. However, if you use a crate rather than keep your dog in a pen while you're out, make sure he is let out of the crate every few hours; you may have to recruit a friend or hire a dog walker to help. Crates should be big enough that your dog can move around comfortably but it shouldn't be so big they feel comfortable doing their business in it.