House Training a Puppy: Three Steps to Success
House training a puppy can push new pet owners to their wits’ end. The process takes time, patience and – above all – consistency.
Some pups seem to figure out potty training by themselves, especially if you have other house trained dogs in the home. Others, however, seem to resist every effort to teach them the appropriate time and place to answer nature’s call.
The American Kennel Club cites house soiling as one of the most common reasons that dogs end up in shelters. For a lifetime of happiness and harmony, follow these three critical steps to house train your new pet.
Step No. 1: Establish a Consistent Routine for House Training
Above all else, dogs respond to consistency in any type of training. Establishing a consistent routine and schedule helps your new pet understand what is expected of him.
Puppies can hold their bladders for about one hour for every month of life. For example, a three-month-old pup can “hold it” for approximately three hours. Demanding more of your pet will inevitably lead to failure and frustration, so be sure you or a family member can let the pup out on a regular schedule. Your puppy will also need to go out first thing in the morning, last thing at night and shortly after a meal.
Select a designated spot in your yard for your pet to relieve himself. Using a leash, take him to that spot each time. Once he has done his business, reward him with a treat and effusive praise.
If you want to take your pet outside for play, wait at least 5 minutes after potty time to return outdoors. This separation teaches puppies to relieve themselves quickly and not expect to play.
Step No. 2: Confine or Supervise Your Pet while House Training
Until your new puppy is fully trained, alone time will inevitably lead to trouble. For this reason, it’s critical to supervise your dog at all times. We recommend using the “umbilical cord” method, keeping your pet on a leash which is attached to you while you are indoors. If you can’t be there to monitor his activities, confine him to his crate.
Crate training is, hands-down, the most effective means of facilitating your puppy’s training. The crate should never be used as punishment but rather as a safe haven and place of refuge. Your pup’s crate should be just large enough for him to stand up and turn around comfortably. If it’s too large, he may soil his crate. Be sure he has a soft crate pad and a toy or two to keep him company. For the most part, however, he’s likely to nap while crated.
Always be sure to take your dog to his designated bathroom spot immediately upon releasing him from the crate. If puppies are always on a leash or in the crate, accidents rarely occur.
Step No. 3: Keep Your Cool when House Training Accidents Happen
Accept the fact that your pup will have accidents during the house training process. How you handle those accidents can make or break his success in potty training.
If you catch him in the act, interrupt him with a loud voice and immediately take him to his designated relief spot. Despite what you may have heard, never punish your dog for having an accident. It won’t help with house training and it may create an undesirable fear response that can’t be undone.
If you find a puddle or pile after the fact, the moment for correction has passed. All you can do is clean the area thoroughly with an enzymatic product designed for pet stains. This will prevent your dog from catching the scent and revisiting the spot.
Many new pet owners find that they lack the time and discipline to effectively house train their puppy. In northern Utah, Innovative K9 Academy specializes in all types and levels of dog and puppy training. Our puppy boot camps cover the important aspects of early training, saving you from the frustrations of this challenging process.
Contact us today for more information and assistance with house training your new puppy.