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How to House Train Your New Puppy

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House Training

If you've recently adopted a puppy, it's likely you've already begun house training him/her. The earlier you start with house training, the easier the process will be. The longer your puppy thinks it is okay to have "accidents" inside the house, the harder it will be to break the habit.

The key in house training is consistency

Your puppy will have accidents, but it's important to not give up on the process or lose patience. By following the steps below, you'll be well on your way to having a house trained puppy!

1. Establish a routine

Puppies do best when following a regular schedule. Establish a routine for eating, playing, sleeping and "potty breaks" to help your puppy learn when it's the appropriate time for each action.

The general formula for the amount of time your puppy can control his/her bladder is one hour for every month of age. Therefore, if your puppy is two months old, he or she can likely hold it for two hours before needing to go out. Factor this into your schedule and be sure you can take your puppy out at regular intervals as needed, including in the middle of the night.

Having a regular puppy feeding schedule will also help with housebreaking. Feeding your puppy at the same times each day will help your puppy's need to eliminate at the same times each day, making it easier for you to predict it and take him/her outside.

Finally, you can cut down on accidents by taking your puppy out immediately when you wake up, after meals, right before bed and anytime you return from being out of the house, even if you were gone a short time. This routine should be kept up even when your puppy becomes an adult dog.

2. Supervise your puppy

It's important to watch your puppy to be sure he/she doesn't get a chance to eliminate in an inappropriate place. When indoors, keep your puppy in the same area as you. As soon as you notice your puppy showing signs of needing to go (sniffing the ground, whining, barking, circling, etc.), take him/her outside.

Even if you have a backyard, it's also a good idea to take your puppy out on a leash, to keep him/her from wandering too far or getting distracted. You should have a designated "potty spot"; take your puppy to this spot first thing when you go out so he/she learns to go right away. Don't let your puppy play or run until after he/she has eliminated. Otherwise, you might get back inside and immediately have an accident!

3. Reward your puppy

When your puppy eliminates outside, praise him/her! Give small training treats for a job well-done. You can also reward your puppy for making it a certain amount of time without an accident and alerting you when he/she needs to go out.

Crate training your puppy

Crate training, when done correctly, can be a very effective way to house train a dog. Dogs do not like to eliminate in their "den" which is the area they sleep in, so using a crate at night or when you are out of the house can help cut down on accidents. But never leave your dog in a crate for too long a period of time.

The crate size is very important, especially if you have a growing puppy. Determine which dog crate size will best accommodate your dog when fully grown, based on his or her breed type. For full-grown dogs, choose a size your dog can stand up, turn around, and lay down inside. To determine this, we recommend taking your dog's measurements (width, length and height).

Using Dog Crates for House Training
  • Open all the doors of the crate and allow your dog to sniff around inside to become familiar with the space.
  • If your pet shows little interest, place a few dog treats inside to encourage your dog to go inside. Some pet trainers even recommend feeding your pet inside the crate to create a positive association.
  • Routine use of the dog crate is the best way to make your dog comfortable with the crate. When initially using the dog crate, make each crating session a little longer than the previous. Each time you crate your dog, try using a command word, such as "crate" or "kennel" so your dog becomes used to the association.
  • Use the crate every time you leave for extended periods of time. However, your pet should not be left alone in the crate for more than 4 hours at a time.
  • Each morning you should take your dog out of the crate to go outside to eliminate. Even if you have a yard, you should physically go outside with your dog to make sure your pet relieves him or herself. To encourage good behavior, always remember to praise your dog when he/she eliminates outside.
  • Although it is possible for accidents to occur the first few times, persistence is essential in helping your dog become comfortable with the crate.
Recommended for your new puppy

The crate size is very important, especially if you have a growing puppy. Determine which dog crate size will best accommodate your dog when fully grown, based on his or her breed type. For full-grown dogs, choose a size your dog can stand up, turn around, and lay down inside. To determine this, we recommend taking your dog's measurements (width, length and height).

Other house training tips

Mistakes will happen. If you catch your puppy mid-elimination, immediately bring him/her outside to finish and then praise your puppy. Yelling or punishing your puppy will just make him/her afraid and will not correct the behavior. Likewise, if you find a soiled area after the fact, clean it up and do not yell at your puppy or rub his/her face in it.

Also, you should cut off your puppy's access to water 2 to 3 hours before bed. This will cut down on night time accidents, and will hopefully help you and your puppy sleep through the night uninterrupted.

Some dog parents paper train their pets. If you want to do this, stock up on Wee-Wee Pads or similar absorbent urine pads. These pads are scientifically treated to attract puppies to eliminate on them and are designed to absorb large amounts of liquid while protecting floors.

Recommended for house training your new puppy
Nutrition
Behavior
Growth
Max's Tip
Max & Molly
Proper house training requires effort, but pays off with years of a cleaner home and a stronger bond between you and your dog.
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