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Housetraining Your Puppy

By Dr Katrina Warren on May 11, 2012 in Other

Housetraining a puppy is a fairly simple process but one that causes much frustration for owners. Puppy owners often have unrealistic expectations, expecting their pup to know almost immediately that it should do its business outside or somewhere specifically chosen by its owners.

The key to housetraining your puppy is to set it up to win. Praise it and give a food treat every time it eliminates in the desired area. Make a big fuss so that your pup understands that it has done something that makes you very happy and also rewards it.

An eight week-old puppy has a small bladder capacity, so you must offer frequent opportunities to go outside. Make sure you wait with your pup so that each time it eliminates you are there to reward it.

Puppies always relieve themselves shortly after they wake up and also after a meal. Use this knowledge to immediately take your puppy outside after waking or eating and wait patiently until it does its business then reward with treats and praise. The whole process usually takes about three minutes.

Puppies usually sniff the ground and turn circles before they eliminate, so if you see this behaviour be quick to whisk your pup outside before an accident occurs. If you actually catch your puppy in the act, pick it up and take it swiftly outside and wait patiently to see if it finishes its business. Reward it with a treat and praise if it does.

Do not let your pup roam free in the house. If you are leaving your pup unattended for a period of time, wake it up before you leave and take it outside to eliminate, then confine it to a playpen with something suitable to eliminate on, such as newspaper. If you can’t actively supervise your pup when you are at home, then pop it in the playpen with something to chew.

Introduce a command that works for you like ‘Wee-wees’ or ‘Go pee’ and say this every time you put your pup down to eliminate. It will start associating this command with the action, which can be very handy later in life, for example if you are travelling and want to be sure that your dog has eliminated first.

It’s also a good idea to immediately have a game or walk after your pup eliminates to make it associate the process with something really fun happening afterwards.

If you are away from home with your pup (e.g. in the park or having a walk) be sure to still offer praise and treats if it eliminates somewhere appropriate.

Finally, if your pup has an accident, punishing it or rubbing its nose in it simply will not work. In fact, it may make your puppy scared of you or reluctant to eliminate in front of you.