Housebreaking Your Puppy
Most puppies are too young to be held responsible for their bladder and bowel habits. A pup will go to the bathroom in the right place sometimes. That may be because she learns fast and is smart, or it may be an accident that was just lucky. It is your job to create opportunities for your pup to be successful and to go in the correct place, outside.
Remember these things!
1. Always take your puppy out FIRST thing in the morning, before you do anything.
2. Always take your puppy out FIRST thing after eating a meal.
3. Use a timer or a clock, set it at 30 minutes, and take your puppy out each time the bell rings. If she doesn't relieve herself, just praise her for going outside. As she gets older, you can increase the time. You only need to stay outside with her for a few minutes. Then take her out again every 30 minutes.
Learn to read her body language.
When a puppy starts circling or sniffing around, pick her up and take her outside FAST.
4. NEVER leave your pup unattended in the house or even a room at a young age. A dog should not be left alone in a house until they are at least one year old, sometimes two. Make sure they have been well-behaved and trustworthy with their bathroom habits first.
5. When you can't watch her, put your puppy in the yard, a pen, or a crate with some toys. But don't forget about her and don't leave her out there too long!
6. Give your puppy her last meal about 1-2 hours before bedtime, and make sure she goes outside to relieve herself just before she goes to bed. DO NOT let her roam free during the night. She should be confined.
7. Never yell at your dog or push her nose in her messes. She is very young. Human babies don't learn to use the toilet until they are two or three years old, right? Don't ask too much of your puppy. Give her opportunities to be successful.
8. Be sure to clean up the areas in the house where your dog has already messed in. Use something that will take away any odor that is there. Dogs will mess again if they can smell the areas.
It's a good idea to check with your veterinarian before beginning any housebreaking schedule.
Many people prefer to housebreak their dogs using a method called 'crate training'. They put their dog in a special dog crate (cage) during the night and when they are away from home for short periods of time.
Dogs will usually not mess in small areas because it feels like a cave or home to them. Then, when the people come home or wake up, they let their dog out into the yard.
Crate training is a good way to help your dog become housebroken. Dogs like crates because it gives them a chance to be alone for a little while. Even dogs like privacy!
Be patient and try to understand your young dog. Dogs don't do things wrong on purpose. They are gentle and loving and just want to please you. But they do make mistakes.
Here are a couple of books that may help:
How to Housebreak Your Dog in 7 Days, by Shirlee Kalstone The very popular solution to a common problem. One of Amazon.com's biggest sellers!
Crate Training Your Dog, by Pat Storer, Workman Pub Co; Booklet edition
(December 1, 2000)