It’s your house. Your puppy has to earn his freedom in it. But there are some freedoms that are strictly off-limits, like relieving himself indoors.
Fortunately, housetraining is relatively easy as long as you have patience. To teach your puppy the right way to relieve himself:
• Establish a specific place outside where he can relieve himself.
• Clip his leash to his collar and take him to the spot. Pick a command like “go potty” or “hurry up.” Praise your puppy when he does as he’s told.
• Take him inside for food and water. About 15 minutes after he’s finished eating, go back out again.
• Maintain a regular feeding, drinking and bathroom schedule.
• Guard against territorial marking. Your puppy may vie to be the leader of the pack, which is your family. Whether you see this behaviour inside or out, step-up obedience training. Make sure your puppy knows you are the boss.
If you’re still having difficulty, there are a number of things to keep in mind:
• Too much freedom too quickly is the most common reason for error. If your puppy has an accident or two, go back to earlier training steps. You may have taken him through them too quickly.
• Make sure he has enough opportunities to go outdoors.
• A crate that’s too big for your puppy may encourage him to eliminate in one end and sleep in the other.
• Don’t put food and water in his crate. He’ll fill up on both and be forced to relieve himself while in it, even if he doesn’t want to.
• Changing your puppy’s diet can cause digestive upset that can result in accidents.
• Late-night snacks and not enough exercise can also lead to accidents.
• Too many indoor accidents may be due to a bladder infection. Having your puppy spayed or neutered may help reduce the risk.
• Even well-trained puppies have accidents on occasion. Clean the area with a pet odour neutralizer so your puppy won’t be tempted to repeat his mistake.
Paper-training may be a temporary solution before your puppy is vaccinated and able to be taken outside. It is also an alternative for a small dog, if you live in a high-rise apartment or if you have difficulty taking your puppy outside regularly. Rather than simply placing newspapers on the kitchen floor, it is recommended that you use a confined area or an exercise pen. Exercise pens usually come in panels and can be made into any size or shape. Place the pen in the kitchen, a temperature-controlled garage or basement.
Place your puppy’s crate in one end of the pen with the door open. Put his food and water dishes next to his crate along with a few safe hard rubber or nylon chew toys. Place the newspapers at the other end of the pen, as far away from his eating and sleeping area as possible.
To help your puppy through his house-training period, stick to the paper-training only when you cannot be home. Follow the crate training method at all times and he may housetrain himself, even though he is in his pen.