When you get a new puppy for your family, you have to be patient because puppies chew on things, can keep you up at night barking, and cannot empty their bowels outdoors without a little training on your part. Although this training can seem complex and time-consuming, the fact is that it can be much easier if you abide by a few important tips.
Knowledge is also important when training a puppy. Once you learn why the puppy is not going outside when it should or the reason it may be having trouble learning to eliminate outside, it is a little easier to determine what to do next so that house-training can be effective. House-training also depends on two things to be successful: consistency and positive reinforcement.
Getting to Know Your Puppy
Smaller puppies have smaller bladders and, therefore, they may have to go outside more frequently than larger puppies. In addition, a lot of their training is dependent on what their living conditions were like before they came to you. You may have to break old habits and you may have setbacks occasionally. Neither of these is cause for alarm, however, because they are more common than you might think.
Puppies between the ages of 12 and 16 weeks train best. If they are younger than 12 weeks, they may not have learned how to control their bowels yet. Always learn the signs that your puppy needs to go outside and encourage the puppy in that direction. Afterward, always give your puppy a reward so it feels good about what it’s done. It generally takes four to six months to properly train a puppy; however, it can take longer if it was stuck in a cage before you got it and eliminated in that cage.
Keep in mind that with puppies of any age or breed, it could possibly take up to a year for them to be fully house-trained. Even with setbacks, however, you can still start over and continue with the training. As long as you’re patient, consistent, and always provide positive reinforcement, the training will eventually work the way it’s supposed to.
Getting Started: The Basics
When you first start house-training your puppy, it’s best to keep it in a defined space – for example, in a crate or on a leash. Once your puppy starts to go outside on a more consistent basis, you can gradually increase its freedom so it has more room to move around in bigger areas. To start with, always feed your puppy at the same time each day, and never let your puppy eat unless it’s meal time – no between-meal snacks!
In the beginning, you’ll be taking your puppy outside quite frequently. Start with taking it out first thing in the morning, then every 30 minutes to an hour after that. When your puppy wakes up from a nap and when it’s finished with its meal, take your puppy out then as well. Finally, your puppy should always be taken outside the last thing in the evening, before it goes to bed and is all alone.
When you take your puppy outside, take it to the same spot each time, and always stay with it until its business is done. Eventually, your puppy will recognize its own scent and learn to go a little quicker. Once your puppy is fully house-trained, you no longer have to stay by its side the entire time it’s outside. Finally, never forget to give your puppy a treat or some other reward each and every time it goes.
How Will You Know When Your Puppy Needs to Go Outside?
Fortunately, it is simple to learn the signs your puppy gives you when it needs to go outside. Signs it might need to go outside include:
- Scratching at the door (if it’s unconfined)
Your puppy may have different signs as well, but you’ll soon learn to recognize them. Most of these signs consist of some type of movement on their part or some type of noise. It will be something it rarely, if ever, does at other times, so you’ll immediately notice that something is amiss.
Confinement 101: What to Do and What Not to Do
If you confine your puppy during training and keep it in a crate, remember the following important tips:
- If you’re not at home during the day, make sure you get someone trustworthy to let your puppy out at least once a day; preferably for the first eight
- The crate should be big enough for your puppy to stand and lie down comfortably, but not so big that it’ll be tempted to go in the corner.
- If your puppy is consistently eliminating in its crate, stop using it. This could be a bad habit that it picked up when it was in the shelter or pet store before you got it.
- If you keep the puppy in the crate for two hours or more at a time, make sure it has plenty of fresh water at all times.
More than anything else, keeping your puppy in a crate allows you to keep an eye on it so you’ll recognize when it has to go outside. It also does something else important: it teaches your puppy to hold it in until you are able to open the crate and lead it outside.
Important Do’s and Don’ts When House-Training Your Puppy
Naturally, there are numerous tips and suggestions that can make house-training your puppy a lot easier and quicker. Some of these tips include the following:
- Never punish your puppy for having an accident. Accidents happen, and punishing it only makes it become afraid of you over time.
- When cleaning up an accident, don’t use an ammonia-based cleaner. Instead, use an enzymatic cleaner to eliminate most of the odors. This way, your puppy won’t be as likely to smell its own scent and return to the area to go again.
- If your puppy has an accident and you see it do it, clap loudly so it is interrupted, then gently take it by the collar and lead it outside to go. Afterward, don’t forget to give your puppy praise and a treat.
- Never get angry or rub the puppy’s nose in the urine or feces when it has an accident that you didn’t witness. Puppies don’t understand this type of punishment, and it might just make things worse and cause it to have more accidents.
- Whenever you can, stay outside with the puppy even after it does its It makes your puppy more comfortable with the process and more likely to do it right the next time.
In short, your puppy will have accidents – that is all but guaranteed. But it doesn’t mean it should be punished for them. Instead, continue with the house-training as you normally would. Be consistent and diligent, and never forget to reward it after each time it goes.
Some Final Thoughts
Even in puppies up to one year of age, accidents are common. If you continue with your training despite these accidents, it will eventually be successful. You have to consistently follow the rules and keep up with your positive reinforcement for things to work out in the end. During the training process, you and your puppy will get to know one another a little better, and this alone will add to the success of the house-training, not to mention the length of time it takes to be successful.