Housetraining a New Puppy

By Jessica

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When it comes to potty training a new puppy there are many schools of thought. From crates and wee pads to outdoor training there is a lot of information out there which can make the process feel even more overwhelming. Veterinarian, Dr. Brian, recommends crate training your new puppy for successful results.

Crate training provides your puppy with its own dedicated space. Crate time can help your puppy learn it is safe to be alone for reasonable periods of time, and confinement is nothing to fear. Dogs are den animals; the crate will be viewed as its own space and as such the dog will refrain from soiling the area. In addition, a crate can keep your puppy from carrying out undesired behaviors when you absolutely cannot provide supervision. The crate should never be used as punishment and you should create positive associations to help reinforce your puppy’s relationship with the crate. Leaving a treat or a favorite toy in the crate will help develop and reinforce the positive association your puppy will have with its crate.

Successful housetraining comes from a good schedule. You have to commit to taking your puppy outside at specific regular times. The puppy is then able to learn to rely on these opportunities to relieve themselves.

5 Tips for Successful Housetraining:

  • Do not crate your dog longer than the number of hours equaling the puppy’s age in months plus one. If your dog is 2 months old, it should not be left alone for more than three hours.
  • While at home, give your puppy a potty break every hour.
  • Before you leave for work, take your puppy out twice. When you get home, immediately take the dog out, even if you were gone for a short amount of time.
  • Find a “code word” you can use with your puppy that cues them to go to the bathroom. Words like “go potty” or “better go now” can help your dog feel comfortable going to the bathroom in new areas.
  • Take your puppy out anytime it asks with body language. Stomach upsets, new food or even stress can change their normal routine so be alert to their needs. Having them sit by the door before you normally take them out can help develop common understanding between owner and pet so you both know what the signal. As your puppy gets older you may be able to reduce the amount of trips you are taking. Pay attention to the trips where your pup isn’t eliminating and you can slowly start to drop those trips from your schedule.

Remember that accidents do happen and they should not be treated as a behavioral problem. A dog will never truly understand housetraining. If you find an accident in the house, a scolded puppy will respond with submission and fear, not guilt over wrongdoing. Nothing positive is being accomplished towards the goal of housetraining, and the puppy’s temperament, as well as relationship with you, might be suffering.


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