The sooner you potty train your puppy the better. You want to establish good habits from the start. And, a dog who has never gone potty in the house will never consider the house an appropriate place to go.
Here are some house training tips that will help – as long as you follow them consistently:
1. Closely supervise your pup while potty training. Do not let your puppy out of your sight or with free range over your house! Think toddler. Watch then as though you were babysitting a very young child, you don’t let them toddle along out of the room you are in, nor do you have them sleep in circumstances where they cold wake themselves up and get out of bed on their own. Crate training is an excellent tool for sleeping and potty training.
If you see your puppy starting to sniff around, take them outside (or to the selected potty area) right away. If you’d like the potty area to be outside – try to make the area outside from the start; and if for any reason you can’t make the area outside from the start at least make the area near the door. This way when you are ready to house train to outside you can bring your pup outside whenever you see him beginning to sniff around near the door.
2. If you find your puppy going potty in the wrong place interrupt him by saying “NO!” in a sharp tone of voice- then immediately take him to the proper place to finish. (If you don’t catch him – you aren’t watching closely enough.) It could help to put the paper towel you clean the mess with where you want him to potty- so that he will have the scent there. Be sure to *thoroughly* clean and de-odorize the area where he pottied in the house. Use special products made for this purpose (never chlorine bleach or ammonia based products) or he will go there again. In fact, watch him *extra closely* and/or take him to his potty area when he starts sniffing around those areas.
3. Pick a potty area that is free of distractions. No playing of any kind until the pup has gone potty. Do NOT turn potty time into play time until after he goes potty. When he does go potty give him a treat and then PLAY with him. Enthusiastically praise and reward, then and there.
4. Set a schedule. Keeping a routine will help to establish good habits. Control when your puppy eats and drinks. Feed your puppy 3 times a day when you first bring him home (or as your breeder recommends). You can decrease this to one or two times a day as he gets older, consult your vet or the veterinary dietician if your vet has one. Be sure he always has fresh water to drink. Take your puppy to his potty area about once an hour – and always take him to his potty area within 10 minutes after he eats or drinks, wakes up, and after exercise or play. Permit absolutely no playing or distractions until he has ‘done his business’. Once he has gone potty you can begin to take him outside about once an hour for a very young puppy – and extend the time between ‘potty breaks’ as your pup gets older and firmly forms good house training habits. But be sure to *watch your pup carefully* whenever he isn’t either confined or in an area “safe to go”.
5. Reward your puppy as soon as he does go potty in the appropriate location. Give him a bit of a very tasty special treat. Tell him, “Yes! Good boy!” And play with him! Make the moment he goes potty the moment the fun and good stuff begin. Dogs love good stuff; and they will usually do whatever they need to do to get it. So all you really need to do is to make sure your dog knows what you expect of him – what it takes to make it happen again.
6. 6 mos to a year is a long time. If you find that you need to travel etc and it is not an occassion to take your dog with you, it is possible to find care without interrupting their training. Wherever you are considering taking your puppy, ask questions. If the service offering is a one size fits all option, or only based on size and not age, beware. You now know that caring for a puppy is not the same as a mature dog, therefore the cost of delivering that care must be different. You’ve spent a lot of time training your dog, don’t go backwards, don’t leave them somewhere where petcare is a hobby. Specialist puppy care is designed to ensure your work continues while you are away and logically you will pay a little more for that.
This is a lot of work at first until the habits are formed, it varies from dog to dog and even breed or size of dog. Some will have cracked it within weeks and others may take quite a bit longer. Persistence, consistency and patience are the only tricks you need to know. There is no short cut. Good luck and be patient. Your dog want to please you and as long as they know how, they will try their hardest.
For more advice, training and resources please contact our caring staff at www.royalpetshotel.com
Jenn Dahinten has been involved in health and pet care for over 20 years and is currently a part of the caring team at The Royal Pets Hotel & Spa, a 5 star Pet Hotel just north of Toronto in Barrie, Ontario.