Getting a new pet puppy is an exciting experience that can quickly turn sour if you’re not prepared for the next challenge: house training. Not many pet owners can cope with a pup whom you have to constantly clean after, especially when you have a day job to think about as well. If you don’t want to end up frustrated by the whole house-breaking experience, you should try out these tried-and-true methods for training your pup.
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When you still new to your dog, you probably won’t warm up to the idea of confining her in a crate. However, crate training brings many benefits including convenience during travel and vet visits, as well as ensuring your dog’s own safety. Dogs, being den animals, actually love seeking out corners for security, which makes crate training easier than you think.
Dogs are also very clean animals who don’t like living in spaces littered with poop any more than humans do. Using a crate, therefore, compels your pup to go outside when she needs to relieve herself; just make sure the crate isn’t so large that she can pick out a corner to do her business in. The right size of crate according to the AKC is one that’s “enough for the dog to lie down, stand up, and turn around”.
But you shouldn’t stop there. Monitoring your pup for warnings that she needs to go is equally important, so you know when to let her out. When she feels the urge, your pup will normally give you signs that can range from circling and sniffing around, to scratching and walking with stiff hind legs.
It’s important to have a regular schedule for bathroom visits because puppies have tiny bladders which can’t hold the pee in for too long. To figure out how frequently you need to let your pup out use an interval of one hour for every month of her age. That means if she’s four months old, she’ll probably go every four hours or so. But keep in mind that the timing will vary to some degree depending on the individual puppy, after all every canine has their own peculiar potty habits.
You should generally let your pup out first thing in the morning and last thing at night, but also after she’s fed, after playing and if she’s been in her crate for a while. You may want to consider having someone around to let them out when you’re away at work, or hire a dog walker to help you with this task.
Most pet owners would love it if they could teach their pups to hold it indoors and only eliminate when they’re outdoors. However, this may not be feasible if you’re not there to supervise your dog during the day. That’s where paper training comes in – puppy pads give your furry friend the option of relieving herself in an approved spot at home.
Here’s how you can make your own indoor potty area for your pup using paper towels:
Once your dog has matured you can always teach her to go outside to eliminate. The only problem with this method is it requires a new round of training when she has to go outdoors.
Apart from the methods above, it’s important to create an environment where it’s easy for your pet to potty train. However noble your training methods are, they can only work if you:
Do: Rewarding your puppy when she “goes” at the right spot is a good way of securing her cooperation. Make it a habit to offer her plenty of praise whenever she does this. For example, you can have some puppy treats on hand to treat her when she when she squats to pee, and crown it all by showering her with praise.
Don’t: Yell at your pup if she makes a mess or, worse yet, rub her face in it. Some people erroneously think that rubbing a puppy’s nose in the mess they’ve made or reprimanding them will teach them not to eliminate while in the house. However, punishing your puppy when she has an accident can wind up doing more harm than good. She’ll only become scared to relieve herself in your presence because she’ll think you’re punishing her just for answering a call of nature. Some dogs go as far as pooping and trying to hide the evidence just so they don’t get punished (e.g. by eating their poop) – the direct opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.
No one knows for a fact why dogs eat their own poop; there are suggestions that dogs use this gross habit to replenish depleted nutrients in their system, while others suggest that it’s just their way of keeping the den clean. Whatever the case this is a habit that can be hazardous to your health and it’s in your best interests to put a stop to it at once.
Here are some methods you can employ to put an end to this problem:
Potty training your pup can be relatively simple, or difficult depending on her age and where you got her from. Some puppies have a head-start by virtue of having been trained by the breeder before coming to you, while others – say, from a shelter – may not be so lucky. What is important is to always keep in mind that even the best-mannered puppies will have the occasional accident, and you need to have the patience and temperament to bear with them. Using the methods discussed in this article you should be able to turn your pup into an independent, potty-trained companion that’s a joy to live with.
When not being widely appreciated and acknowledged for his outstanding contributions to the dog blogging community, Andy likes to spend his time filling out social profiles and writing about himself in the third person