When you are watching your puppy:
Remember that puppies respond to very basic reflexes with regards to their toilet habits. Take advantage of these very basic reflexes and turn them into house training. There are certain times when puppies naturally will have the call of nature.
After Eating – After Drinking – After Napping – After Playtime
Remember to go outside with the puppy. Pick up the pup and go outside with him/her. If you put them outside by themselves they will be so upset about being separate from you that they will not go on their own. Make a big fuss over the puppy when it goes outside. They will learn to urinate outside just to please you. Watch your puppy. Pups do not just squat and urinate. They search out for just the right spot thereby giving us ample warning.
The Umbilical Cord Method
This method of house training is best used with the other techniques detailed above. Attach you pup to a long leash that is tied to your wrist or waist. This allows it a certain amount of freedom while ensuring your constant supervision over its activity. The pup cannot wander away to have an undetected “accident” and you can anticipate the pup’s need to potty, taking it directly outside.
When you are not watching your puppy:
A very natural instinct in the dog world is the instinct to not soil its own space. We can take advantage of this natural instinct with crate training. If a puppy is left in a crate it will be faced with a decision. It can either hold it or sit in it. Most puppies will try to hold it. If you allow them too much space of course, they will sleep in one end and urinate in the other end. Block off larger crates into smaller areas and once he has been good for a few days, slowly increase the amount of space that he can have.
The best and most reliable way to house train your puppy is to provide frequent opportunity to eliminate in an appropriate place and to reward this behaviour immediately as it occurs. To do this, walk your puppy on a leash at regular intervals and at least twice every day.
Puppies require more frequent walks until they are able to reliably control their bladders. This usually occurs by 6 months of age. The best method of house training is to take your puppy out within several minutes after each meal and each nap. These are predictable moments during the day when bowel and bladder are most full. Feed your puppy at scheduled mealtimes and avoid snacks between feedings. Allowing you puppy continuous access to food makes house training more difficult.
It is best to leash walk your puppy within 15 minutes or sooner after each meal. Continue to walk, incorporating play to make it fun, until the puppy has eliminated. If your puppy is too young to walk on a leash, carry it outside to an enclosed, safe area. Stay nearby and play with or pet it. If your pup is slow adjusting to leash walks, be patient. Avoid pulling the leash and allow your pup to take its time. When the pup prepares to eliminate, begin praising it in a happy and light tone of voice. Continue your praise until the task is completed. Immediate encouragement is necessary for your pup to learn to eliminate in an acceptable area. As your dog eliminates, pleasantly say something like “hurry” or “do it” and give abundant praise. This teaches the pup to void on command so that you won’t freeze unnecessarily on a cold winter night while the pup leisurely looks for just the right spot. If your pup is initially afraid of the leash, leave the leash on indoors for brief period without holding onto it. When the pup becomes more accustomed to the collar and leash, take the pup for brief leash walks indoors before graduating to walks outside. Daily leash walks through out a dog’s life help maintain good elimination habits.
Paper training is not the method of choice, contrary to popular opinion. Paper training encourages the pup to eliminate on newspapers spread over the floor in a designated area of the home. This can lead to several problems. The first is that you may confuse your pup by teaching it twice what it needs to learn only once. When, and if, the pup has learned to void on the newspapers, it must then be retrained to eliminate outside. The second problem with paper training is that you may unintentionally teach your pup that it is acceptable to eliminate inside your home. Though some puppies stay on the paper, many more miss the boundaries set for them. Instead, it may learn that soiling in a variety of unacceptable areas in your home is acceptable.
Another problem is the practice of punishing the pup for eliminating in the house and then taking it immediately outside. Punishment is often followed by whisking the puppy outside into a big and scary world, where the irritated owner impatiently waits for the puppy to “go”. Your puppy may begin to fear you and fear eliminating in your presence.
It is pointless to punish your dog at any age for “accidents” that occur in your home. This is particularly true when there is any delay between the act of soiling and your discovery of the mess. To be effective, punishment (and praise, for that matter) must closely follow our pet’s action. No matter how frustrated you may be, clean up the mess and concentrate on the steps to prevent another one.
Crate training can be a very effective housebreaking tool, it can also help to reduce separation anxiety and prevent destructive behaviour (such as chewing furniture), to keep puppy away from dangerous household items and to serve as a mobile indoor dog house which can be moved from room to room whenever necessary.
Toys and Treats: Place your puppy’s favourite toys and treats at the far end opposite the door opening. Toys that provide entertainment for long periods of time are great. A few great ideas are the KONG or NYLABONE or a BALL.
Water: A small hamster-type water dispenser with ice water should be attached to the crate if your puppy is to be confined for more than 3 hours.
Bedding: Place a towel or blanket inside the crate to create a soft, comfortable bed for your puppy. Most puppies prefer lying on soft bedding while some may prefer to rest on a hard, flat surface and may push the towel away.
Whenever possible, place the crate near or next to you when you are home. This will encourage the pup to go inside it without his feeling lonely or isolated when you go out.
In order that your puppy associate his/her kennel crate with comfort, security and enjoyment, please follow these guidelines:
Occasionally throughout the day, drop small pieces of kibble or dog biscuits in the crate.
In the beginning, praise and pet your pup when he enters. Do not try to push, pull or force the puppy into the crate.
You may also play this enjoyable and educational game with your puppy: without alerting your puppy, drop a small dog biscuit into the crate. Then call your puppy and say to him, “Where’s the biscuit? It’s in your room.” Use only a friendly, encouraging voice, direct your pup toward his crate. When the puppy discovers the treat, give enthusiastic praise. The biscuit will automatically serve as a primary reward. Your pup should be free to leave its crate at all times during this game. Later on, your puppy’s toy or ball can be substituted for the treat.
It is advisable first to crate your pup for short periods of time while you are home with him. In fact, crate training is best accomplished while you are in the room with your puppy. Getting him used to your absence from the room in which he is crated is a good first step. This prevents an association being made with the crate and your leaving him/her alone.
Please note: Puppies under 4 months of age have little bladder control and will need to eliminate very frequently. Adjust the crate times accordingly.