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House Training Your Puppy

basic puppy training

 ...It's Your Responsibility To Help Puppy Make The Right Decisions

Before your new pup can be trusted to have full run of the house he needs to learn the house rules. If your pup is allowed to choose his own toys, and toilet areas, he is bound to make mistakes and develop bad habits, which will quickly become the norm. Breaking 'bad' habits later is much more difficult than establishing 'good' habits from the start.

It is your responsibility to help your puppy to make the right decisions, and in doing so learn the house rules. Begin by teaching your puppy good habits from the very first day he comes home. Your puppy's living quarters need to be designed so that housetraining and chewtoy-training are errorless.

If your pup is ever left unsupervised indoors he will almost certainly find things to chew and soil your house. Although these utterly predictable accidents do little damage in themselves, they set the precedent for your puppy's choice of toys and toilets areas for many months to come. 

Whenever you are not at home, leave your dog in a long-term confinement area, such as a large puppy play pen or a single room indoors with easy-to-clean floors such as a bathroom, kitchen, or utility room. Nursery stair-gates provide a simple solution for keeping your pup in his designated space without shutting him away from what else is happening in the house.

Provide him with fresh water, a number of puppy-safe chew toys for entertainment, a comfortable bed in one corner, and a doggy toilet in the corner diagonally opposite from his bed. Your dog will naturally want to eliminate as far as possible from his bed, and so will soon develop the good habit of using his toilet. Remember, good habits are just as hard to break as bad habits.

For a doggy toilet, use sheets of newspaper sprinkled with soil, or a litter box filled with a roll of turf. 

The purpose of long-term confinement is to confine your dog’s natural behaviours, including urinating and defecating, to an area that is protected and in doing so preventing any mistakes around the house when you are not there.

When you are at home, confine your dog to a short-term confinement area, such as a portable crate or smaller puppy plan pen, with a number of puppy safe stuffed chew toys for entertainment. A portable dog crate is ideal as this can be moved around the house with you allowing you to keep an eye on your pup even when you are not able to give him your undivided attention. This also allows the pup to stay close to you and teaches him to settle down while things are going on around him. Alternatively, keep him on a short leash attached to your belt. This way he will learn to settle down beside you while you read, work at the computer, or watch television.

Every hour on the hour, and whenever your pup wales up from a nap, say "Let’s go and be quick" or some other appropriate toilet instruction, and hurry your dog, on his leash to his toilet in your garden or yard. Stand still with him on leash and repeat your ' be quick' toilet instruction. Give your dog three minutes to empty himself.

When your dog eliminates, praise him enthusiastically and offer three freeze-dried liver treats. Most puppies will urinate within two minutes on each trip to a toilet area, and defecate within three minutes on every other trip. Once your dog realizes that he can cash in urine and feces for tasty treats, he will want to eliminate in the toilet area and will do so promptly. 

If your dog does not eliminate during the toilet break, take him back inside, and return him to his short term confinement for another hour.

The purpose of short-term close confinement is to prevent any mistakes around the house when you are at home, but cannot necessarily devote undivided attention to your pup, by predicting when your dog needs to eliminate; this will usually be as soon as he wakes up, and as soon as he has eaten.

Temporarily, for no more than an hour at a time, confining a puppy dog to a small space such a dog crate, inhibits elimination, since the dog does not want to soil his sleeping area. Consequently, he will want to go immediately upon release from confinement, more so since hurrying to the toilet area will jiggle his bladder and bowels.

Since you choose when to release your dog, you can predict when your dog needs to eliminate, you can be there to show him where to go and to reward him for going.

A puppy or an unhousetrained adult dog should never be confined to a crate for longer than an hour. A dog confined for too long will be forced to soil his crate, and consequently become extremely difficult to housetrain.

Once your pup is old enough to go on walks, make sure he eliminates before each walk. If your dog does not go within three minutes, put him back in his crate and try again an hour later. However, if your dog does go, praise and reward him as usual and then say “Let’s go for a walk.”

With a no-feces/no-walk policy, you will soon have a very speedy defecator. Moreover, elimination close to home facilitates easy clean-up and disposal and you will not need to stroll the neighbourhood carrying a full poo-bag !

 

Adapted from, and all credit to, Dr Ian Dunbar, www.dogstardaily.com and James & Kenneth Publishers