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Training a Puppy: Best Housebreaking Tips

Updated on January 22, 2012
Rottweiler Puppy
Rottweiler Puppy

Be patient and self-aware: housebreaking takes work.

As with most things, when it comes to housetraining a dog, consistency and patience pay off. You will get better, faster results if you choose to housetrain your puppy with a systematic approach. If you follow these steps faithfully, you will soon have a housetrained pup. If you don't have the time, or choose to cut corners, then it is only reasonable to assume that the housebreaking process will take longer for your dog.

If you choose to use a crate, then be sure that your puppy is not locked up the entire day. If a puppy has no chance to learn how to interact with the household, then she will take longer learning the rules. Instead, if the puppy is with her people to be praised when she does well, and to be corrected, when she attempts to cause trouble, then she will learn the rules of living with people much faster.

1. Get the right housebreaking supplies.

Trainings pads for puppies have become quite popular, but I do not see the appeal of training your new dog to go potty inside the house, even if includes an assigned place. The only supplies you should be purchasing is a quality cleaner made for housetraining purposes - Nature's Miracle, or any enzyme cleaner created for pets will do (a regular housecleaning solution you buy for your kitchen will not work for this purpose).

2. Record the potty schedule for your pup.

Take the time to record every single potty attempt by your puppy, be it inside or outside the house. Keep the track for 3-4 days, and you will begin to notice a pattern. It will help you to bring the puppy outside at the times she is most likely to go potty. Every time your pup goes in an assigned spot outside, it reinforces the good habit. You should also expect that after every feeding, napping and rough playing, the puppy will likely need a potty break.

3. Use treats and praise.

Do not reprimand the pup for accidents. They have no concept of right or wrong. As with little kids, puppies do what their body tells them to do, and it will take your time and patience for a puppy to understand that you don't want them to go potty inside the house. It will take some growing up for the puppy to learn how "to hold".

At the same time, every successful attempt should be rewarded with praise and treats. When the pup eliminates in the assigned spot - celebrate, and let them know that this behavior is wanted and will be rewarded.

4. Be with your dog.

If you are not there to catch the signals - sniffing the ground, spinning in one spot, hunching the back - then you are not there to take out your pup when they are ready to go potty. Yes, it is time consuming, and yes, it is draining to have a young puppy attached to your hip 24-7 for the first few weeks, but this is exactly what they mean when they say "having a dog is a lot of work." Being with your dog will allow good habits to form and bad habits will be corrected before they have a chance to develop.

5. Check for health problems.

Urinary infections can slow down house training process. If despite all your efforts, it doesn't seem like your puppy's habits are improving, consider discussing possible health problems with a vet.

Be ready to approach all training with a similar attitude.

Whether you want your pup to learn not to chew on shoes, not to jump on people, or simply follow a command, you are the one responsible for making your message clear enough and appealing enough to the puppy. If something is not working, you have to consider what are you doing that might be unclear or unappealing to your dog. It is you, the owner, who is responsible for the puppy's success.

Approach all training with patience and consistency, and do not be afraid to ask for a professional advice if you are stuck.

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