Perfect Puppy Training Book – Chapter 4 – Housetraining
Chapter 4 – Housetraining
Housetraining is one of the most common complaints of new puppy owners. It can be very frustrating to find puddles on your carpet or poop under the dining room table. The most common problem with housetraining actually boils down to communication. Let’s cover a few now:
- Puppies don’t have a clue that you want them to potty outside. They are not born knowing that they shouldn’t pee or poop on your carpet or floors. Also, puppies don’t understand human language, so you need to teach them in terms that they can understand.
- Most new puppies will not give you a signal when they need to relieve themselves. In fact, many people are surprised that their puppies do not run to the door or bark or paw at it when they have to potty. (If you do have one of these puppies, you’re lucky!) If you want your puppy to give you a signal, you have to train her to do so.
- Using multiple methods of housetraining will confuse your puppy. For example, don’t use newspapers or potty pads and ask your puppy to also relieve themselves outside. With all these choices, how is she supposed to learn? It is not recommended to use indoor training methods (for an extended period of time) to housetrain puppies because it teaches them that it’s okay to relieve themselves in your home (not to mention, the pee pads can be very unsanitary and off-putting when company is over).
This guide’s goal for housetraining is to teach your dog to potty outside and only outside. It’s best to start this program the day you bring your puppy home. The more accidents your puppy has indoors, the more she is practicing relieving herself in your home. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to change this habit as your puppy grows into an adult. You want her to practice relieving herself outside your home so that this becomes her habit instead.
Your first steps are to set up a feeding schedule and realistic daily schedule for your puppy. Try hard to keep to this schedule every day. Dogs respond well to routines. You may soon learn that your puppy tries to keep you on schedule! The more that you can stick to a daily routine, the faster your puppy will learn housetraining.
In general, puppies need a potty break when they wake up (even from a nap), after they eat, after they play, and after a bath. They also need a potty break after the “zoomies”—when their eyes glaze over and they run around like crazy animals. (That’s a typical puppy behavior. They usually outgrow it, but it can be startling the first time you see it!)
Puppies cannot hold their bladder and bowels all day. They must have a lunchtime potty break. This can be difficult if you work outside the home, but it’s part of having a puppy in your life. It won’t be forever, just for about the first six months. Don’t be fooled if your young puppy manages to “hold it” for longer periods of time. These puppies can be prone to developing urinary tract or kidney infections. Don’t take the chance! Also, don’t skip the midday break and just accept that your puppy will soil her crate (or the floor, if you’re not using a crate). This will teach her that it’s okay to relieve herself indoors, and it will take much longer to break this habit.
Either hire a pet sitter, get a neighbor or friend to come over, or arrange to come home at lunch for the first six months. You will have a much better chance of successfully housetraining your puppy for the rest of her life.
When you’re creating your schedule, factor in your dog’s type, age, and activities. Toy breeds do seem to need more potty breaks than do larger puppies. Also, the younger the puppy, the more potty breaks you should take. If your puppy is very playful and active, she may need as many as seven potty breaks a day!
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