Basic Canine Education
Housetraining a new dog or puppy can seem a daunting task to the new owner. But understanding your options and the reasons behind the training can go a long way toward insuring a positive outcome.
Your puppy or dog learns to eliminate on papers or puppy pads.
Advantages: Portable, indoors, doesn’t require going outside on very cold or very hot days.
Disadvantages: Dog may view any papers lying on the floor as fair game; if you plan on training your dog to go outside eventually, this adds another step to the training process.
Your puppy or dog learns to use a size-appropriate litter box.
Advantages: Portable, indoors, doesn’t require going outside on very cold or very hot days; dog doesn’t have to wait for someone to let her outside.
Disadvantages: Daily cleaning of litter box; may not work well for larger dogs or some male dogs
Your puppy or dog learns to eliminate outside, using a crate to confine him when not being actively supervised.
Advantages: No intermediary steps; uses dog’s natural instincts to control bathroom habits; gives the dog a safe and secure place to call his own.
Disadvantages: must go outside regardless of weather or time of day or night; dog must wait until owner can take him outside.
Dogs are den animals. In the wild, instinct encourages them to keep their dens clean by eliminating somewhere outside of their sleeping place. Because both urine and feces have strong scents, this scent in or around the den could scare away prey or attract predators. It is this instinct that allows for housetraining.
Keeping your dog or puppy on a consistent schedule for eating, drinking and potty breaks will go a long way toward establishing good bathroom habits. Puppies should be given the chance to eliminate within 15 minutes of eating, drinking, waking, or hard play sessions.
Some experts believe that puppies may not be developed enough physically to completely control their bladder and bowels until they are at least 4 months of age. Housetraining can and should begin before that, but don’t expect total control until sometime after 4 months.
Some breeds, especially certain toy breeds, are more difficult to housetrain than others.
Patience and persistence are always important. Seemingly stubborn cases may actually be the result of a medical condition. Always speak with your veterinarian if you are having difficulty housetraining your dog, or if a normally trustworthy dog starts having accidents.
If an area smells like a bathroom to a dog, it is a bathroom. Always clean housetraining mistakes with an enzymatic cleaner to reduce the chance of repeats.
Choose a confined location such as a bathroom or utility room. Cover the floor completely with papers or puppy pads. Place the puppy’s bed in one corner of the room. Instinct will probably cause the puppy to go to the bathroom in a spot as far away from her bed as possible.
Once the puppy is eliminating consistently in the same general area, slowly begin removing the papers or pads closest to his bed. Change the remaining papers frequently, but place a small piece of the soiled paper on top of the clean paper in the area you want him to eliminate.
Continue until you have removed all but one or two sheets. If he eliminates on bare floor at any time, clean the area with an enzymatic cleaner, and recover the area in papers.
Once he is consistently using one or two papers, you can begin to slowly widen the area the puppy is confined in. Reduce the area if accidents occur.
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Housetraining and Crate Training
Basic Canine Education
While many people cringe at the thought of placing their new dog or puppy in a “cage”, crate training is, in fact, a natural and…