When bringing home a new puppy, one of the primary concerns for many dog owners is housebreaking. It’s a process that requires dedication and effort. If you’re tired of constantly following your pet with a piece of newspaper, there are effective tips and advice to make the housebreaking journey smoother.
Establishing a routine is crucial for successful housebreaking. Dogs thrive on consistency, so set a schedule for feeding, bathroom breaks, playtime, and sleep. This regularity helps your puppy understand when and where they should relieve themselves.
Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in housebreaking. Whenever your puppy eliminates in the designated outdoor area or on their training pads, provide praise, treats, or a favorite toy as a reward. This positive association helps them understand that going to the bathroom in the right place leads to positive experiences.
Monitoring and supervision are vital during the early stages of housebreaking. Keep a close eye on your puppy to catch any signs that they need to go outside. By closely supervising them, you can quickly redirect them to the appropriate spot, preventing accidents indoors.
All the News That’s Fit to …
In many urban areas, puppies are not permitted to go outside until they have received all their necessary shots. If you find yourself in a city setting, you’ll need to paper-train your new puppy. Paper-training involves teaching your puppy to go on newspaper within your home for the first few months of their life. Later on, you can transition them to go outside. While this intermediate step may seem challenging, it doesn’t have to be an insurmountable obstacle.
To facilitate a smoother transition, you can make the newspaper an incidental factor in the process. Whenever you take your puppy to the designated paper area for urination or defecation, put them on a leash and collar. This approach helps your puppy associate going to the bathroom with specific cues: being with you and wearing their leash and collar. Over time, they will learn that these cues indicate the appropriate time and place to eliminate.
By consistently reinforcing this association and providing guidance during the paper-training phase, you can lay the groundwork for successful housebreaking training in the future. Once your puppy has completed their necessary vaccinations, you can gradually shift their training to focus on going outside. Patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement will be key to achieving the desired outcome.
Listen to the Rhythm …
The second step in the process of dog house training involves incorporating a verbal cue or chant. Every puppy owner needs one. When you observe your puppy squatting to eliminate, begin saying a chosen phrase such as “pee pee,” “potty potty,” or any other phrase that resonates with you. By doing this, you create an additional constant that your puppy will associate with going to the toilet.
As your puppy hears the verbal cue consistently during the paper-training phase, it becomes ingrained in their understanding of the elimination process. When the time comes to transition to outdoor training, the association with the verbal cue will make the transition easier. Instead of becoming confused and searching for the paper indoors, your puppy will recognize the familiar cues: being on the leash and collar, being near you, and hearing the familiar chant.
This familiarity will help your puppy understand that it’s time to go to the bathroom, even though the setting is different. They will connect the dots and recognize the routine, facilitating a smoother transition from paper-training to outdoor elimination.
By incorporating a verbal cue and maintaining consistency throughout the training process, you set your puppy up for success in understanding the appropriate time and place to eliminate, both indoors and outdoors.
Where’s the Bathroom Today?
Another way to make the newspaper incidental in the paper-training process is to keep moving the paper to different spots in your house or apartment. For instance, one day you might place it in the bathroom and the next near the refrigerator in the kitchen. The point is for your puppy to get used to going to the toilet when with you, when on the leash and collar, and when he hears his “potty” cue—no matter where that may be. If your pet knows only to aim for the newspaper, training him to go outside will be all the more difficult.
Don’t Give Her Any Privacy
Treats Are for Training
When engaging in house-training or any form of skill training with your puppy, it’s beneficial to temporarily halt the use of treats. By implementing a moratorium on treats, you can enhance their value and effectiveness as rewards. Reserve treats specifically for instances when your puppy successfully eliminates in the designated spot or correctly responds to your commands.
By withholding treats during the training process, you create a stronger incentive for your puppy to perform the desired behavior. They will associate the treats with the specific actions you’re targeting, reinforcing their understanding and motivation to comply. This approach can be particularly effective in reinforcing proper bathroom habits during house-training.
When the time is right and your puppy successfully exhibits the desired behavior, reward them with a treat. The reward will carry more significance, further reinforcing the positive connection between the behavior and the reward. This method helps to strengthen the association and encourages your puppy to continue performing the desired actions.
Remember to use treats judiciously and ensure they are appropriate for your puppy’s dietary needs. Additionally, continue to provide verbal praise, petting, and other forms of positive reinforcement alongside the occasional treat, as these forms of affirmation are also valuable in reinforcing desired behaviors.
By using treats strategically as rewards during training sessions, you can maximize their impact and effectiveness, creating a stronger motivation for your puppy to excel in their training endeavors.
Familiarity Breeds Content
Know Where to Go
If you decide to designate a specific spot in your yard as your puppy’s toilet area, you can make it more appealing and memorable by leaving a few small bits of their feces there consistently during the training process. This helps establish a familiar scent that the puppy will recognize and associate with the appropriate bathroom behavior.
However, it’s essential to strike a balance and ensure that the designated area doesn’t become overly dirty or unclean. If the area becomes too unsanitary, your puppy may avoid it rather than being attracted to it. Maintaining cleanliness in the designated spot is crucial to creating a hygienic environment for your pet.
Similar to how a puppy tends to urinate in the same spot on a rug repeatedly, they will be naturally drawn to the same area in your yard if they recognize the familiar scent. This association helps reinforce their understanding of where they should go to eliminate, making the training process more effective and consistent.
Remember to regularly clean up the area, removing any accumulated waste promptly. This ensures a clean and hygienic environment for your puppy while still maintaining the scent association in the designated spot.
By leaving small bits of feces in the designated toilet area while maintaining cleanliness, you provide your puppy with a recognizable scent that encourages them to use that spot consistently. With time and reinforcement, your puppy will establish a strong association between the scent and proper bathroom behavior, further aiding in successful house-training.
It’s as if She Laid the Golden Egg
Praise plays a crucial role in both paper-training and encouraging your new puppy to go to the bathroom outside. When your puppy successfully eliminates on the designated paper or outside, it’s essential to provide genuine praise and rewards to reinforce their good behavior.
As soon as your puppy hits the paper or goes to the bathroom outside, offer enthusiastic verbal praise. Use an uplifting tone of voice to express your satisfaction and approval. This positive reinforcement helps them associate the act of eliminating in the right place with a positive experience.
In addition to praise, rewarding your puppy with a tasty treat further strengthens the positive association. Choose small, bite-sized treats that your puppy finds especially appealing. By providing an immediate reward following successful elimination, you reinforce the desired behavior and motivate your puppy to repeat it.
Consistency is key in using praise and treats as rewards. Be prompt and consistent in delivering praise and treats every time your puppy demonstrates the desired behavior. This helps them understand that their actions lead to positive outcomes, reinforcing their understanding and encouraging them to continue with the appropriate bathroom habits.
Remember to use treats in moderation, taking into account your puppy’s dietary needs and ensuring they receive a balanced diet from high quality dog food overall. Pair verbal praise with treats to create a well-rounded approach to positive reinforcement during the training process.
By utilizing genuine praise and tasty treats, you provide valuable feedback to your puppy, reinforcing their good behavior and encouraging them to consistently go to the right place for elimination. This positive reinforcement contributes to successful house-training and helps build a strong bond between you and your furry companion.
He Needs On-the-Spot Correction
Housebreaking accidents will happen, so don’t rub your dog’s nose in it. If you happen to catch your puppy making a mistake, all you need to do is say “No” in a stern voice and either put him on the paper or take him outside right away. It does no good to correct the puppy if you come home and find that he soiled the floor an hour earlier. Even if you show him the spot, the puppy will not understand why he’s being corrected.
How often does a puppy need to go to the bathroom? It depends on how old she is. Up to around 12 weeks, most pups have to go constantly—every 20 minutes or so when active. Count on having to take a slightly older puppy out or to the paper about 30 minutes after she eats or drinks, anytime she wakes up (usually once during the night), and always during and after playtime.
Put Him on a Schedule
Around 16 weeks of age, puppies generally develop better muscle control, allowing them to hold their bladder through the night. You can help expedite this process by carefully timing your puppy’s evening routine. Here’s a suggested routine to encourage successful overnight bladder control:
- Provide your puppy with their last meal of the day around 6:30 or 7:00 p.m. This allows ample time for digestion before bedtime.
- Engage in vigorous play with your puppy to help tire them out physically and mentally. This helps expend energy and encourages relaxation.
- Take your puppy to their designated toilet area before bedtime to encourage them to eliminate before settling in for the night. Allow them sufficient time to relieve themselves.
- Avoid giving your puppy any food, water, or treats after around 8:30 p.m. This minimizes the likelihood of them needing to eliminate during the night.
- Establish a lights-out time by 11:00 or 11:30 p.m., following another trip outside. This ensures your puppy has an opportunity for one final bathroom break before settling down for sleep.
- Be prepared to take your puppy outside first thing in the morning as soon as they wake up. This reinforces the routine and allows them to relieve themselves after the overnight period.
Consistency and patience are key during this phase. While every puppy is different, following a structured routine and gradually increasing their overnight bladder control can contribute to successful house-training. As your puppy continues to mature, their ability to hold their bladder throughout the night will improve, reducing the need for nighttime bathroom breaks.
If you find yourself holding your puppy and notice that they suddenly become restless, squirming, and displaying signs of panic to get off your lap, it’s a strong indication that they need to go to the bathroom. Puppies naturally avoid urinating on their human companions and will make an effort to get down from your lap if they need to eliminate. Recognizing this behavior is crucial in promptly responding to your puppy’s needs.
When you observe your puppy squirming and displaying signs of discomfort, take it as a cue to act quickly. Safely and gently release your puppy from your lap and immediately guide them to the designated paper area or outside. Responding promptly to their signals allows them to relieve themselves in the appropriate location.
By paying attention to your puppy’s cues and responding promptly, you establish a positive communication system and reinforce the association between their physical signs of needing to go and the appropriate action to take. This helps avoid accidents indoors and supports successful house-training.
Remember, consistency and patience are key throughout the house-training process. By attentively observing your puppy’s behavior and responding promptly to their cues, you can build a strong foundation for effective communication and facilitate successful bathroom habits.
He Doesn’t Have to Hold It
Many pet owners complain that even when they take their animals outside frequently for potty and play trips, the puppies urinate in the house soon after coming back inside. It makes sense if you think about it from the dog’s perspective. It’s not unusual for an owner to send a dog out to the yard to play and go to the bathroom, then call or bring the dog in as soon as the animal “does his business.” After going through this drill 10 or 12 times, the puppy starts to think, “Gee, I’ll have to go inside right after I pee. I’m going to hold it as long as I can so I can stay outside longer.” The owner thinks, “Well, I guess he doesn’t have to go.” So the dog comes inside and urinates on the carpet.
You can prevent that kind of behavior right from the start if you set up a routine. When you let your pet outside, take the animal directly to the toilet area without allowing any exploring or playing. When he’s done, give him a treat, then release him to play and explore. You’re teaching him that (1) nothing fun happens until he goes to the bathroom and (2) the faster he does it, the sooner he’s free to play and explore.