The Key To Successful Housetraining
Is Prevention, Not Punishment
Veterinary Exam & Urine/Fecal Check
Your puppy's state of health will affect his ability to be successfully
housetrained (housebroken). Make sure your puppy is seen by a vet within 48
hours of his coming home from the breeder or animal shelter. If your puppy does
not receive a "clean bill of health", it is important that any physical
conditions that can impede successful housetraining (such as cystitis, bladder
infection, etc.) be properly treated. A fecal check will determine whether
worms or internal parasites are present. (There are several types of worms that
are not visible except under a microscope. Also, fleas can cause tapeworm.)
Feed Your Puppy A High-Quality Puppy Food
A consistent diet of a high-quality premium brand dry (kibble) puppy food
is recommended. Avoid feeding your puppy table scraps or changing brands
unnecessarily. If you should need to change your puppy's food for any reason,
do it gradually over a period of 4 to 7 days (by overlapping both the old and
the new puppy food together, until the old food is phased out completely).
[Note: Feeding your puppy lots of canned dog food can loosen his stool, making
it harder to housebreak him.]
Close Supervision Is Essential
Close supervision is essential any time your puppy is not crated indoors
(or confined to a small area covered with newspapers) . It only takes a few
seconds for your puppy to have a housesoiling accident, so watch for signs that
your puppy may need to eliminate, such as sniffing the floor, circling, or
running out of sight suddenly.
Confinement When Puppy Can't Be Supervised
Crate training or area
confinement are recommended for puppies and most adolescent dogs when left
unsupervised alone in the house. If properly introduced and used appropriately,
crate training is an efficient and humane way to prevent housetraining
accidents as well keep your puppy safe when you can not watch him (or when you
leave the house/apartment without him). The crate should not be used for
excessive periods of time and should not be used as a punishment (although
brief "time outs" in the crate are fine). Sufficient daily companionship,
interactive playtime and exercise are very important to all puppies and dogs.
[Note: Crate training and other forms of confinement must be balanced with
sufficient exercise and companionship. Excessive periods of isolation can be
very detrimental to your puppy, and can contribute to numerous behavioral
problems including hyperactivity, destructive behavior, digging,
self-mutilation, and excessive barking.]
Determine Puppy's Safety Zone, Grey Zone & Danger Zone
Keep a diary of your puppy's urinating and defecating times for several
days or more. Determine the minimum interval between elimination. Subtract
15-30 minutes from this period of time and that will be your puppy's temporary
"Safety Zone". This is the duration of time he can generally be trusted to hold
his urine after he is taken for a walk or has "gone" on his newspapers,
provided he does not drink a ton of water during this time. Make sure however,
that he is still closely supervised any time he is not confined to his crate or
Frequent Access To Newspapers, Backyard, Or Taken For A Walk If Fully Immunized
Puppies need to urinate shortly after the eat, drink water, play, chew, or
sleep. For most puppies over 10 weeks of age, that means somewhere between 5
and 10 times a day! Adolescent dogs (from 6 to 11 mths. old) will need 4 to 6
walks a day. Adult dogs need 3 to 4 walks a day, and elderly dogs need at least
3 to 4 walks daily (incontinent dogs will need more).
Do Not Return From A Walk Until Your Puppy Eliminates
If your puppy has been confined overnight to a crate, take him outside
first thing in the morning (before he's had a chance to soil indoors.) Be
prepared to stay outdoors with him until he eliminates. (This could take from a
few minutes to as much as several hours!) As soon as your puppy eliminates
outdoors, offer him lavish praise and a treat. If you take your puppy back
inside the house before he's fully eliminated, he will surely have an
housesoiling accident indoors!
[Note: If you absolutely have to return home before your puppy does his
"business", crate him, then try taking him outside again every 15-30 minutes
until he "goes".]
Early Interactive Socialization With People Is Important
Early and ongoing interactive socialization with lots of friendly new
people (including calm friendly children) is very important. If your puppy is
not immunized sufficiently to taken for a walk, make sure to have lots of new
people visit your puppy in your home. You can also carry your puppy outdoors to
public places to properly acclimate him to the sights, sounds and activities of
the outdoors (especially crowds of people and traffic noises) soon after he has
received at least two series of shots, provided he is not placed on the
sidewalk or streets, and he is not brought near other dogs (or anywhere other
dogs might have been).
Praise & Reward Your Puppy For "Going" Outdoors
Lavish paise, a trigger word (ie: "potty", "get busy", "business", "bombs
away", etc.) and a treat reward immediately following his eliminating in the
right place (newspapers, backyard, or outdoors) will help you to communicate to
your puppy that you are pleased with his behavior. Delayed praise is not
effective, so witnessing him going in the right spot is important.
No Access To Inappropriate Areas To Eliminate
Many puppies and dogs prefer certain areas or surfaces to eliminate on,
such as rugs, carpeting, etc. Keep your puppy away from risky areas or surfaces
whenever possible. If your puppy suddenly runs out of sight (ei: out of the
room), he may be looking for a secret spot to eliminate, so close doors to
rooms where he may sneak a quick pee or poop.
Neutralize Urine Odors With Enzyme-Based Deodorizer
Should your puppy have a few housesoiling accidents despite your best
efforts to prevent them, neutralize any soiled areas (carpet or floor surface)
with an pet odor neutralizer such as Nature's Miracle, Nilodor, Fresh 'n'
Clean, or Outright Pet Odor Eliminator. Avoid using ammonia-based cleaners to
clean up after your puppy's urine, as ammonia breaks down to urea, which is a
component of urine.
No Water After 9PM
Generally speaking, it is advisable to take up your puppy's water bowl
after 9 PM, unless he seems very thirsty or weather conditions are exceedingly
hot. (But a couple of ice cubes are OK)
Eliminate Worms and Parasites
Contact your veterinarian if you suspect that your puppy has worms,
coccidia, fleas, ticks, or other internal or external parasites.
Diarrhea Will Prevent Housetraining Success
Your puppy or dog cannot be expected to be reliable if he has diarrhea.
Loose, liquidy or mucousy stools will hinder any housetraining success.
After-The-Fact Discipline Does NOT Work!
Never ever discipline (verbally or otherwise) your puppy or dog
after-the-fact for housesoiling accidents that you did not actually witness.
(Even if you should see your puppy eliminate on the floor or carpet, harsh
physical punishment is never recommended.)
Never Discipline A Dog For Submissive Urination!
Submissive and excitement urination are completely involuntary, so never
discipline your puppy for this. Eye contact, verbal scoldings, hovering over,
reaching out to pet your puppy's head, animated movements, talking in an
exciting or loud voice, as well as strangers/ visitors approaching your puppy,
may all potentially trigger your puppy to piddle. Disciplining your puppy for
involuntary piddling must be avoided or the problem will simply get worse.
Housetraining Your Young Puppy
(Gwen Bohnenkamp, Perfect Paws)
How to Successfully Crate Train Your Puppy
A rolled up newspaper can be an effective training tool when used
properly. For instance, use the rolled-up newspaper if your dog chews up
something innappropriate or has a housebreaking accident. Bring the dog
over to the destroyed object (or mess), then take the rolled-up
newspaper... and hit yourself over the head as you repeat the phrase,"I
FORGOT TO WATCH MY DOG, I FORGOT TO WATCH MY DOG!"