Housebreaking a Puppy
dog training
 

Housebreaking a Puppy


When you bring your puppy home, the first thing you have to think about is housebreaking your puppy. This is going to take some amount of patience and gentle coaxing. You should begin housebreaking a puppy as soon as he reaches home. A general rule is that puppies need to relieve themselves about 6 times a day. You should take the puppy out immediately after a meal. A full stomach puts pressure on the colon and the bladder, and if you do not take the puppy out you give him no option but to resort to whatever space he gets.

A puppy cannot voluntarily control his muscles till he is about 12 weeks of age. So, he will not be able to 'hold it in' till that time. But after 5 weeks, he is ready to begin defecation and urination in a regular location. Soon, they will develop surface preferences for elimination. But the important part of housebreaking puppies is that good housebreaking routines should be established even before this time. This will also help you to avoid dog urine and feces in your home. Always watch your puppy. A common sign of urination or defecation is turning in circles. If you see this, take your puppy out immediately. Crate training helps to housebreak a puppy. When you have him restrained to a certain area or portion of the house, he will not urinate in other parts of the house. It is very difficult to housebreak a puppy if he smells his urine in places where you do not wish him to relieve himself.

Start young. When the puppy is young he is still forming his substrate and location preference. At this stage an owner can teach the puppy what location and substrate is to be used. With supervision, restricted access, lots of encouragement and timely opportunities to eliminate, puppies will be successful in this lesson.

The first step in housebreaking puppies is to take them outside frequently. Once outside, they will sniff and investigate the potential location. Choose your area carefully. Always use the same location, so that previous odors will stimulate the puppy to eliminate. Some puppies may take about 20 minutes of sniffing and turning before a bowel movement occurs. Discourage play till the puppy has finished his business. While the puppy is defecating, you should keep repeating some phrase like 'Potty', so that he will associate this phrase with a location that is appropriate for elimination. Teaching the puppy to eliminate on cue can be useful in inclement weather or while traveling.

Reward the puppy immediately after elimination. Food treats, praise, playtime are all good rewards. The important thing is to make the pup understand that he has just done something desirable. That is why the treat should immediately follow the action. When the puppy makes a mess, scold him immediately. Show your disapproval at the exact same moments, so that a puppy knows that his action is undesirable. A young puppy should be constantly supervised when he is at home. Even after elimination, young dogs may feel the urge fairly quickly because their bladder and bowel capacities are very limited. It is unrealistic to expect a puppy to last 8-9 hours without elimination. When you simply have to leave your puppy for long periods, provide an area that is suitable for elimination.

Housebreaking a puppy is all about intelligent training. Give him enough time to understand what you want. When he does something desirable, reward him with something - even a hug will do. When he does the wrong thing, give him a shake and say No in a firm tone of voice. Teach him to differentiate between what you like and what you do not.

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