A dog is generally house trained in about 2 to 3 weeks, but it may not be completely reliable until they are is at least 10 months old. During adolescence (beginning at 5 to 6 months of age) some dogs may temporarily ‘forget’ that they are house trained. Puppies under 4 months of age don’t have much bowel or bladder control. A consistent schedule, combined with keeping the pup supervised or confined, are the key elements in successful house training.
Before you begin a house training program, make sure that your puppy is healthy. Bladder infections, and other health problems, can make it difficult for a pup to control his bladder/ bowels.
Begin by designating a corner of your garden or yard as your puppy toilet area. Accompany your pup to this area it is easier to carry if it’s a pup and wait for him to eliminate. Do not give eye contact, and do not move or follow it around. You cannot simply put your puppy out the back door. You will have no way of knowing if your pup eliminates unless you are with it when it happens. Be sure to take your pup out the same door every time until she is fully trained.
If your pup is looking at you when she eliminates, or right after she finishes, you can praise it by smiling, clapping your hands, or even click and reward/jackpot from your treat bag (don’t worry about looking like a crazy person to your neighbours, your dog will be thrilled about the excitement).
If you can’t praise your pup while it is eliminating (ideal situation), doing so right after will work as well (it will not hinder the house training process). The consistency of being taken to the toilet area on a regular basis teaches your puppy where you want her to eliminate.
Your pup should have a regular schedule of eating, drinking, playing and sleeping. Your dog will need to eliminate:
- Right after waking
- About 20 minutes after its finished eating
- After playing
- After petting, grooming, or bathing
- After chewing on a toy for a while
If your pup has an accident in the house, it’s your fault for not watching her closely, or not maintaining a schedule. Do not smack/hit your puppy or rub its nose in the accident, neither of these old fashioned methods teaches the dog anything if anything it will make the whole process slow down.
If you catch your puppy in the act, the best thing you can do is to scoop her up and then immediately take it outside to the toilet area. If you have a deaf puppy do not stomp your foot to get your dog’s attention, do not continue to stomp your feet, or wave your arms, as you rush over to your pup. If you are too intimidating, your pup may roll over and urinate to show its submission. A puppy fouling your home is annoying, however NEVER correct mistakes or submissive urination as this will only make things worse!
Tips To Remember:
- Be sure to clean any accident areas thoroughly with a cleaner designed to neutralise pet odours. A lingering scent may encourage your dog to eliminate in that spot again.
- Confine the dog when it can’t be watched. Don’t give it a free run of the house while you work on other things (such as watching TV, cooking). Confinement can be as simple as placing the pup in a puppy pen or crate (in the same room, not isolated somewhere else). Be sure the pup has had an opportunity to eliminate before it’s confined.
- Feed your pup on a schedule rather than leaving food out at all times. This makes it easier to predict when your puppy will need to go out (usually, within 30 minutes). Owners that choose to hand feed their puppy do not report problems with house training.
- Take up the water dish after the evening feed will help the dog make it through the night without waking.
- If possible, avoid paper/puppy pad training. Paper training teaches the dog it’s okay to eliminate in the house, and makes it take that much longer and more difficult to teach the dog to go ‘outside.’
Once your pup is showing promise and eliminating outside, you can teach them a command to the toilet a word such as ‘quickly’ or ‘empty’ This can come in handy when you are in a hurry, or in a strange place and your dog isn’t sure if this is a ‘good place to go or not. All that you need to do is say ‘quickly’ in a friendly way while your dog is eliminating, and then reward when it is done. Your pup will pair the associations together. Be patient as it may take a couple of weeks on consistent practice.
Teaching your pup to ring to go out
First off, you need to decide what you want to use. You can buy specially made “doggy doorbells,” but all that you really need is a bell (like a cowbell on a rope, or a string of jingle bells) or windchimes hung near your door (not on the door). This can be taught to any dog, hearing or deaf.
Every time that you go outside, hold a treat behind your bell. Your pup will hit the bell with its nose to get the treat. “Good Pup” thumbs-up sign, and out you go. In order for your dog to understand that this bell means “potty” and not “playtime,” keep it on a leash until it finishes if you have chosen this option (use the same procedure as above for house training; stand in the spot, don’t move, and wait for it to finish). Once it’s done, you can take off the leash and let your pup play if you want, or you can bring it back inside and play at a different time (don’t have her ring the bell when you go out for playtime). If your pup doesn’t eliminate within a couple of minutes (try using your command – QUICKLY), bring your pup back into the home, no playtime and DO NOT get frustrated or agitated practice being patient!
Eventually, your pup will associate ringing the bell with going outside to eliminate and will ring it on their own. You don’t need to make a big fuss over this, just say your a “good pup” and take it out. If your pup takes a step back and starts to ring it every 15 minutes wanting to go out, take her out on leash again until she quits.
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