Housetraining Techniques

Housetraining is possible because of the natural instinct of dogs to relieve themselves away from their living quarters. The use of a pet crate makes the whole process go more smoothly. A pet crate has the additional advantage of protecting your home from the potential destructive behavior of a curious puppy, as well as minimizing chances of the puppy injuring himself.

Feed your puppy 2-3 meals of high quality commercial pet food daily:

Consistency in feeding times makes the times of elimination more predictable. Make the last feeding no later than 6 p.m. Removing water at 8 p.m. may be helpful for the first month or two as well.

Confine the puppy in a crate at all times when not under your direct supervision:

The crate should be large enough for the puppy to stand up and turn around, but not so big as to have extra room in which elimination can occur. If you choose to buy a larger crate, place something in the back part of the crate to make it smaller while the puppy is smaller. Do not show the puppy any attention while inside the crate. Talking to the puppy, sticking your finger though the crate slats, or even scolding the puppy while inside the crate trains them to while, bark, etc. to get that attention. Totally avoiding the puppy’s actions while in the crate will soon lead to the puppy learning to be quiet.

For crate training tips see: Crate Training Your Puppy

When you take the puppy out of the crate, immediately take him/her outside:

If they refuse to “do their business” after five minutes outside, put them back in the crate for five minutes and repeat the procedure. The puppy soon learns that its reward for “doing its business” in the appropriate place is to stay out of the crate.

Select one toilet area for your puppy:

Take your puppy to the area at times it is most likely to need to eliminate: right after sleeping, soon after eating, etc. In the beginning, it is advisable to take the puppy out every two hours if possible. Always provide the puppy the opportunity to go outside to eliminate just before being put back in the crate. Always take the puppy outside immediately after returning home before the excitement causes an accident in the house. When you get to the area and your puppy begins to sniff around for the right spot, use a phrase such as “hurry up,” or “do your business,” or “go potty.” Soon that phrase will result in elimination.

Praise or reprimand your puppy immediately or not at all:

Be sure to give a lot of praise when the puppy eliminates in the appropriate location. Even if you are doing everything right, accidents will happen. If you catch your puppy in the act of eliminating in an inappropriate location, clap your hands to startle him and say “No!” Immediately take him to the toilet area you have designated. If he then eliminates in the right area, praise him for doing a good job. If you find an accident, do not raise your voice or reprimand the puppy. While you will certainly make him afraid and perhaps alleviate some of your own anger, the puppy will not associate your anger with what has happened so long after the act. Cleaning up the mess and waiting for another opportunity to help him learn is really the best thing that can be done.

Most puppies will be “regular,” meaning they will go at similar times after certain acts throughout the day. Most puppies will need to relieve themselves about 5 minutes after eating. Once you’ve learned the specific time(s) for your puppy, you will have a good idea of what times you should routinely take the puppy outside.

Use products the neutralize urine odor when cleaning up accidents:

Avoid products with ammonia in them it is a natural component found in urine and the smell may actually attract the puppy to urinate in that location.

Remember, BE PATIENT: Housebreaking should be complete by 4-6 months of age. But it is still advisable to keep the new pet in the crate when you are away from the home for any extended period of time, as a safety measure for your pet and to prevent destruction of household items.

Also, always keep in mind that when not in the crate, your puppy needs plenty of play and exercise.