Dogs are basically clean animals; they don’t like to spend time where they’ve urinated or defecated. Some dogs adopted as adults may need a refresher course in housetraining. The same rules apply to re-training an adult dog and training a puppy.
Before putting this housetraining problem in place decide where you want your dog’s “toilet” to be. It can be in the backyard-anywhere- or it can be in a specific place in the backyard. Once you and your family understand where the puppy’s bathroom is going to be; you can begin teaching your dog where she will be allowed to go.
Steps to Successful Housetraining
Establish a schedule. Keep meals and water on a schedule and provide potty breaks accordingly. For small pups, 15 minutes after eating or drinking…out they go. Also, take your puppy out immediately following naps and play sessions.
Go out with your puppy. When the pup gets to the designated area and goes, praise, praise, praise! ( After all, better on the lawn that on your carpet..)
In the house, watch the pup at all times, If you can’t confine your dog to a crate. Pups don’t like to soil in the “dens” so they aren’t likely to use there crate as their “toilet.” Take the pup out of the crate at regular intervals and directly outside. Praise them if the go potty; if not, bring them back inside and keep a close eye on them or put them back in the crate for a little while longer. Then back outside. Watch for sniffing and circling… that usually means the pup is ready to go. If you are inside and you see your pups sniffing/circling, rush them outside to the designated bathroom. If you are already outside, begin your praising routine.
Following these steps should make it relatively easy to housetrain your pup. Remember, the keys are consistency, keeping an eye on your pup, crate training, and sticking to a schedule. Don’t expect your pup to “ask” to go outside. Just keep comings and “goings” on a regular schedule, appropriate for your pups age and ability to control her bladder.
What Happens If…
What happens if the first few times I go outside with my puppy she goes right away, but the after a few days she starts stalling and won’t “go”?
When I bring her in she immediately urinates on my carpet. What do I do?
A couple of things. First, don’t forget about your crate. If the pup won’t “go” outside, as soon as she comes in…she is put into her crate. Give her 15 minutes to half an hour and try to take her outside again.
Also…during housetraining, try not to join your pup outside. Wait until they eliminate and then immediately bring her back in (not fun for the pup). Some pups will hold off on going to the bathroom to keep you outside with them a bit longer. To avoid that, once they pup urinates or defecates, then go outside and praise, praise, praise and spend a few extra minutes playing with them in the yard. This teaches her that going to the bathroom does not end your fun time outside with her.
What happens if my puppy goes to the bathroom in its crate?
For starters, make sure your puppy has plenty of opportunities to go outside. Don’t expect a 10-week old puppy to be able to “hold it” for much longer that 3-4 hours.
Dogs don’t like to lay where they’ve eliminated, so your crate should be just big enough for your dog to stand up, turn around and lay down comfortably. If the crate it to big, your pup my “go” in one corner and lay in the other. Also, as tempting as it is to put a nice soft blanket in the crate, this should be avoided during the training period. Your dog may learn to eliminate on the blanket and push it in the corner…there, all clean!
What happens if I have an 8-week old puppy and I work full-time?
A puppy is not physically able to hold urine in his bladder for eight hours until her is four months old. If you have a puppy younger than that, either come home mid-day and let him out or arrange for a friend or family member to let the dog out. This will be temporary, just until your puppy reaches four months of age.
If you cannot arrange for someone to let you pup out, housetraining may take a bit longer since your puppy in learning to eliminate in then house and you will have to break them of that habit later. In the event that you are forced to leave your young pup alone for a full day, you will need to give him enough room to get away from it so he doesn’t get in the habit of laying in his own urine and/or feces. As you can see, this is contrary to what was earlier suggested as the ideal, hence the reason it takes longer to housetrain.
What happens if I turn my back (even though I know I shouldn’t) and catch my puppy “going” on my living room carpet?
If you actually catch your puppy “in the act” or sniffing/circling, you must act swiftly and let her know you don’t approve. Timing is everything. For most pups, a loud hand clap, or slapping the wall or a table is enough to startle them and interrupt “the flow.” Then get them outside and if they finish out there: praise, praise, praise.
If you notice that your puppy has finished eliminating in the house there’s no point in yelling or in holding a grudge because the pup will not understand it. Be sure to clean the area thoroughly to remove odor and watch your pup carefully.
Never physically punish your dog for inappropriate elimination. Your dog will associate you with punishment and not want to “go” in front of you, You may ruin your chances to praise your dog for “going” in the correct area because the pup in now afraid to eliminate in front of you.
I’d like my pup to use our yard as a bathroom and not the neighbors’ yard during walks. Can I do this?
Sure. While you’re going through the housetraining process, assign a word (“busy” or “hurry” are popular) to the act of your puppy eliminating. Simply say that word while he is going and praise upon completion. Then simply ask your dog to “go” in your yard before your walk.
Information provided by Michigan Humane Society Rochester Hills, Michigan
Behavior Help Line (248)650-0127