Saturday, August 23, 2014
How to House Train a Puppy or Adopted Older Dog
The house training process for puppies and new dog adoptions should start the minute you pull up in your driveway. Even if your new puppy is house trained, it needs to learn immediately where to do it's "business". The car ride and meeting a new owner should be enough excitement for any pup to have to relieve itself.
Puppies are creatures of habit and schedules, they do the same thing the same way almost everyday. A puppy relieves itself every time it finishes anything. When a dog finishes eating, sleeping, playing or walking it will go potty. It is much easier to get on your dog's natural potty schedule when beginning house training. Slowly you can get the dog closer to your schedule, but remember every dog has a different sized bladder.
For puppies and dogs in all stages of house training follow and repeat these steps:
1.) Before you go in the "new" house for the first time start the house training process. Take the dog to the potty area of your yard. Stand up straight, and stay standing. Say "go potty" or whatever command you choose, in a firm voice looking directly at the dog (whether the dog is looking at you or not).
2.) Now look away from the dog and make no more eye contact - this is especially important with young puppies (they have no idea what you want, so if you give them eye contact they will wait for more instructions). Give it a minute or two, hopefully your puppy will start sniffing around and nature will take its course. Make sure to peek at the puppy the whole time so that right when the puppy goes potty you can have a huge celebration with affection. (Do not give treats during house training as they may lead to the puppy having to go again. This is also expected behavior for the dog, not a trick that you are teaching.) Walk around slowly so your puppy starts sniffing around the area.
3.) Give the process a few minutes, don't try to out-wait your dog. If you don't have success: Go inside quietly! Say nothing to the puppy; nothing bad, nothing good, total indifference while you remove your coat, the leash, etc. Then greet the dog like you never went outside. Set an oven timer for 20 minutes. Watch Closely for signs that the puppy has to go outside; circling, incessant whining, lack of interest in toys, wandering off while whining. If your puppy eats, drinks, or naps during this time take it outside as soon as it is finished with the activity.
Special note here: At this point in house training, there should be no playtime or toys outside. The dog should understand that outside is for going potty.
4.) When the timer goes off (if your puppy can wait that long), go through your usual process of shoes/coat without making eye contact or talking to the dog. Leash up the dog, open the door, and repeat the steps above.
5.) When an accident happens, and it will, do not physically discipline the dog in any way. Feel free to physically abuse the spot on the rug or floor where the accident occurred, you should be quite grouchy and loud while cleaning up the area. This should prevent the puppy from continuing to sniff the area later, the dog should understand that something bad happened there. Get back on a schedule for going out more often, set a timer again if you need to. House training is a continual process.
If you are truly diligent in setting a timer and taking your puppy outside, even during the night (this is actually an excellent time to train when all is quiet inside and outside), you can house train any dog in 24-48 hours.
You will be amazed at how fast your dog starts going to the door and whining to go outside. You must pay attention at all times, so if the dog goes to the door someone goes out right then.
This whole process is about learning your dog's schedule, then putting the dog on your schedule (every 20-30 minutes to start). Once the dog understands what outside is for, you can stretch the time to 1-2 hours and so on.
Crate training is great and highly recommended, however don't expect your puppy to know it is for sleeping not going potty in. House training a puppy has nothing to do with crate training, and should be treated separately.
Now you can begin to understand how much your new puppy is trying to learn all at one time. Patience and a lot of attention will be required for the first several weeks.
All puppies train differently, and need different amounts of reinforcements. Some puppies don't like to be dirty, while others don't mind at all. You will have to get to know your own puppy's personality and adjust time schedules accordingly. Again, consistency is the key to easy puppy house training.