When I wrote the article last week on how to shop for a puppy, I left out one of the most important aspects of caring for a new puppy, and that was on how to house train your puppy. I was more focused on adopting a rescue dog or a young dog that had been in a home for a while.
My mistake. I heard from several readers that wanted to know–you guessed it—how to potty train their puppy. So here is the information you wanted.
Potty training your puppy is just as much work as training yourself. You will have to make the rules and follow them, or your puppy will be confused and the job will never be done satisfactorily.
Pick a Potty Spot
The first thing you need to do, depending upon where you live, is to pick a potty spot. If you live in a house with a yard, decide where in the yard you want your puppy to go when nature calls. Pick a spot that is easy to get to from the door to the outside and is away from foot traffic or driveway.
If you live in an apartment-pick the quickest way from indoors to the outdoors and select an isolated spot.
When you’ve picked the place, bring your dog to the same spot every time.
Dogs smell their territory- and pretty quickly, they will get the message: “This is my spot.” Be consistent. Bring him to the same spot every time. Soon, your dog will get the message. When you open the door, he will automatically go to his spot.
If you live in an apartment and you have a stairway to go up or down, and perhaps a hallway to the outside, keep the leash by the door and figure the quickest way out.
Signs your dog needs a trip outside
Dogs have certain ways to tell you he needs to go out. You just have to pay attention to his sign language. Your dog probably is telling you he needs a potty trip if he smells his rear; paces in circles; barks or scratches at the door; sniffs the floor; or squats on the floor.
Do not wait around or read just one more paragraph in the paper. Take him out as quickly as possible. Keep a leash at the door until your puppy learns where he must go, Open the door and he’ll go out to his spot on his own.
Schedule meal times and snack times so puppy knows when its time to eat. You follow up a few minutes after he is finished eating with an outside trip. Some puppies drink a lot of water, and you need to follow a long drink with a trip out.
Sometimes small pups drink a lot. They have tiny stomachs and tiny bladders. Keep an eye on how much they drink. They may need to go out every hour.
Once in a while puppies develop bladder infections. The only way you would know is if he seems to be going an awful lot. Take him to the vet for a checkup. If your pup has a recurring medical problem, you want to catch it early.
Here is a loose schedule to follow that will make life the easiest for both you and your puppy. Just remember, take your puppy out often:
1. first thing in the morning
2. After all feedings
3. Anytime he is acting like he needs to go
4. The last thing before you crawl into bed at night.
Other Things to Remember
Praise him, give him a treat when he goes out and when he actually does his business where he is supposed to. Pretty soon, he will be going out on his own. That is the ultimate goal and you will really want to praise him a lot. Mission accomplished.
Puppies, young dogs, old dogs, may have an accident in the house. If this happens, take him out immediately to his spot. You are reinforcing where he should have gone.
Be calm, be patient. Do not punish him, or yell at him after an accident, it will only confuse him and make things worse.
Clean the area right away.
If you make the rounds visiting friends for games, dinner out, short trips, etc., be sure your pup is used to going to the bathroom when necessary outside. Make sure he has been trained to follow your commands
If he is good with strangers, and children, take him along. If he has trouble behaving with strangers it would be better to leave him home. If you are just going to be gone a couple of hours, he probably can say home by himself.
If you are going to be gone several hours or overnight, it would be best to leave him with a friend. If you are going to be gone for a week or longer, it would be best to board him.
Better yet, most dogs like to ride in the car. Make some small trips and let him learn to travel in the car and potty at a
designated spot. An adult dog in a car is a thief deterrent. Remember to gauge the weather and do not leave your dog in a hot car or a freezing car. If you do travel with your dog, stop every hour or two to let him relieve himself.
If you have to be away and your doggie friend cannot go, you will ask a friend or pay someone to take care of your dog while you are away. If your dog is not completely outside trained yet, be sure to give your pet sitter information on how to keep the training going while you are away.
For bad weather, keep an umbrella close by to keep water off both you and your dog when it’s necessary to venture out. For snow conditions, be ready to shovel a path to your dog’s special spot.
If training seems to be slowing down or not going well, Take your dog to the vet for a checkup to make sure there are no health issues.
I’m Barbara Nelson and I hope this answers all your training questions. Please let me hear from you.