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TIPS ON HOUSE TRAINING PUPPIES: THE DOs AND
The most important thing to remember in training a new puppy is this: puppies and dogs learn best by being praised when they do the right thing, NOT by being punished when they do the wrong thing. Housetraining can be challenging, but can be made easier if you follow these basic do's and don'ts, and stick to them.
- Keep in mind that a puppy is the equivalent of a human baby and has to eliminate frequently.
- Take the puppy out every 2 hours by the clock during normal waking hours in addition to immediately after eating, waking, playing, and when the puppy starts "rooting" around or appearing anxious. It will also need to go out right before being bedded down for the night.
- Pick the puppy up and take it to the same place each time that has been designated for it to eliminate.
- Praise and reward the puppy with a small treat immediately after it urinates or defecates in the appropriate place.
- Allow the puppy to "go" several more times before bringing it in. Puppies don't have the ability to eliminate everything in their bladder and bowels on the first squat. If you bring it in prematurely, chances are you'll end up with an unwanted puddle or pile.
- Make a loud noise to startle the puppy if you catch him in the act of eliminating in an improper place, (this will make his body contract, and usually stop mid-stream), scoop him up and take him to the designated place to finish eliminating.
- Thoroughly clean accident areas with a disinfectant and/or odor neutralizer.
- Feed the puppy at regular intervals. This will make it much easier to regulate bowel movements and predict when it will have to defecate.
- Keep the puppy close to you when you are home, by confining it with a gate, or keeping a leash on it that can be slipped under the leg of a chair or table near you. This makes it easier to keep an eye on the puppy, and monitor when it has to go out.
- Utilize crate training.
Be patient and consistent, and make your puppy feel like it is the best puppy in the world when it eliminates in the right place!
- As important as it is to know the right things to do in housetraining a puppy it is even more important to know the wrong things you can do. The "wrong" things will not only hinder your housetraining efforts, but can develop harmful behavior in your puppy that may be permanently ingrained. Remember, puppies and dogs learn by being praised when they do the right thing, NOT by being punished when they do the wrong thing.
- Reprimand or punish the puppy when it has an accident. Puppies don't have the ability to understand that they are "in trouble" because they went in the house, instead of outside.
- The only thing this will do is frighten your puppy and make him think that the act of urinating or defecating in itself is bad.
- Take the puppy over to it's "mess" and put his face in it or show it to him. This is meaningless to the puppy, and again will only frighten or confuse it. Further, their train of thought is very short, and it will not understand the message you are trying to send it.
- Put the puppy outside by itself to eliminate. If you are not there to praise it immediately after it goes, it will not learn that it is supposed to urinate and defecate outside. If you wait to reward it when it comes back in the house, it will think that it was "good" because it came back in the house; not because it went to the bathroom outside. Remember, their train of thought is very short!
- Have unrealistic expectations of your puppy. Puppies don't have the ability to "hold" their bladder and bowels for extended periods. On the average, during waking hours, they don't have the ability to go for longer than 3-4 hours until they are six months old.
- Bring the puppy in immediately after he goes. It takes several "squats" for them to eliminate everything in their bladder and bowels.
- Feed irregularly or overdo treats. A treat only has to be the size of a pea, and should only be used to reward good behavior. When housetraining a puppy it is important that they associate urinating or defecating outside, with the yummy treat that they are going to get when they do. If treats are given "for free" then they don't develop the motivation to do the right thing that you want them to.
- Lose your temper, use corporal punishment, or loud verbal reprimands when the puppy slips up, because it will. This is all part of the housetraining process. Your puppy's progress depends largely on your patience, and consistency
- HANG IN THERE AND GOOD LUCK!
BEFORE YOU KNOW IT YOUR "PUPPY" WILL GROW INTO A WELL ADJUSTED "DOG" THAT WOULDN'T THINK OF RELIEVING ITSELF IN THE HOUSE!
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LAST UPDATED: 20 June 2006