Categories: Pet Tips
Housebreaking is one of those things that almost every dog owner struggles with when they get a new best friend. Whether you get a puppy or a dog, it’s always going to be lesson number one!
Teaching your dog to “do its business” outside takes a little time, management and LOTS of patience! Sadly, many dog owners aren’t willing to do the extra work. Even scarier is when they think the dog or puppy should just “figure it out” on its own! Housebreaking is part of the training and once your pup knows the drill it’s great!
Here are a few tips to help you save your floors:
- Get on a schedule and stick to it! As soon as you get your puppy or dog start getting on a potty-break shift. The golden rule for pups is their age plus one. That means if your pup is 4-months-old, he or she should be able to hold it for about 5 hours. Of course, every pup is different, so keep an eye on them! Your dog should never have to go more than eight hours without a bathroom break.
- Crate training is your friend.Get a crate, but make sure it’s the right size. Your dog should be able to stand up and turn around but not run around in there. If the dog has enough space to “do the do” and sit away from it, that will become the toilet area.
- Limit freedom.Your dog doesn’t need the run of the house, especially if he or she is still having accidents. Close off back rooms, block the upstairs and use baby gates to make their living space small and watchable. Once you know your dog is house-trained you can open more doors if you wish.
- SUPERVISE!This one is key. If pup knows you’re not watching, well, then he’s going to piddle in the corner. In the beginning you’ve got to keep an eye on your dog. If you see him doing the pee-pee dance, it’s time to go outside! Rubbing their nose in it and trying to correct after the fact does not work. You’ve got to stop them mid-stream and get them outside to finish.
- Potty first, then play.The great outdoors is just that … GREAT! So when you go outside with pup they want to sniff and explore. Many times, they forget to potty until they are back in the house. Even if you have a fenced-in yard, keep your pup on the leash until they go to bathroom. Their reward can be playtime! If you take them out and they do not potty, they just go back inside with you. You can try again in another 10 minutes or so.
- Teach a cue.Whether it’s a bark, whine, ring of a bell … make sure you capture some sort of behavior from your pup so he can let you know when he has to go.
We also get asked all of the time about “pee pads.” If your pup is using them properly then go for it. However, keep in mind they can be confusing. Puppy doesn’t know why he can piddle on that soft spot (the pad) but not on the other one (your carpet). In the end, you have got to pack a little patience with your pup. It’s a new experience for them as well, but once they get the hang of things they’ll be happy to go outside to potty.
The Animal Defense League of Texas has a certified dog trainer on staff and offers low-cost dog training and free puppy classes. For more information please click here.