The cute face, the tiny fluffy body, the cuddling. Those are all the things that people think about when they consider adopting a puppy. The one thing they don’t think about – House Training.
Having a puppy can be a nightmare if the dog isn’t housetrained. I can’t tell you how many dogs are given away or dumped in shelters because the owner didn’t housetrain them properly or not at all.
The good news is that housetraining a dog is relatively easy. All it takes is some patience and learning to keep the dog on a schedule.
A tool that I recommend to my clients in housetraining is the dog’s crate. It’s funny, but most people don’t see the value in using a crate to House Train a puppy.
I will get into crate training in another article, but using the crate to keep your dog on a schedule is an invaluable tool. Putting your dog on a regular feeding schedule is another fool proof way to make House Training easy.
Puppies should be crated at night before they are House Trained. The crate should be big enough to move around in, but not large enough so that the puppy can eliminate and move away from it. A dog will never eliminate in the same place it sleeps as long as it gets out on a regular schedule. You should allow a puppy to eliminate at least every 2-4 hours when you first get it at around 12 weeks old. Once it gets to be around 4-5 months old, it should be able to hold it for at least 4-6 hours. These are just general estimates, and your dog may differ, so you have to be diligent and determine what is best for your pup.
First thing in the morning, the dog should be let out of the crate, leashed, and brought outside to the place where the owner wants it to eliminate on a regular basis. This could be in a spot in your backyard or our in front of you house – you choose – but take the dog there on a consistent basis. Give the dog time to eliminate, at least 20 minutes before you bring the dog back into the house. Praise the dog and give it a treat to reinforce the behavior. Connecting food to the activity will ensure that the dog views this as something rewarding to do. Next thing is to feed and water the dog and place the dog back into the crate for at least 20-30 minutes. Take the dog and repeat doing the same as when you first took the dog out. Always wait at least 20-30 minutes to allow the dog to sniff around and get the urge to go. A lot of people are in a rush, the dog doesn’t eliminate, so they bring the dog back into the house, go about their business of getting ready for work or whatever, and come out to the living room and the dog has left them a lovely present. Don’t blame this on the dog – you have not given the dog enough time to eliminate.
As an owner, you should arrange to come home during the day to take your puppy out to eliminate, or have someone come to your house to do it for you. If you don’t have those options, purchase a baby gate and confine the dog to one area. I don’t recommend leaving a puppy in a crate for more than 4 hours at a time; no dog should be in a crate during the day for more than 4 hours, especially if you crate the dog at night for 8 hours.
The best thing to do when you get a new puppy is to take the time to House Train the dog properly and you will never have problems going forward. As the dog gets older, it will be able to hold it longer, but don’t expect a puppy to go all day without going to the bathroom. It’s cruel and just not possible.
For more information on House Training, please contact me.