To train your puppy or dog to use the bathroom outdoors, you have to help them develop a habit, or preference, for “going” outside. With a little effort, most dogs can be housetrained in a matter of 1-4 weeks. Compared to a lifetime of “accidents” inside, housetraining is a worthwhile investment of your time.
To get started, you will need the proper tools:
1. A regular schedule of feedings and potty times
2. Leash and collar
3. Dog Crate (or other restricted space)
4. Natural enzyme cleaner, such as Nature’s Miracle
Special considerations for Puppies
Puppies don’t have the muscle tone or attention span to ‘hold it’.So, they have to ‘go’ very frequently: after they eat, drink, sleep, or play. Knowing this, take your pup outdoors after every activity.This will give your pup the opportunity to practice the right behavior: pottying outdoors!
Puppy or adult, here are the keys to success:
- Restrict the dog’s freedom indoors to prevent accidents. Keep the dog on leash with you so you can notice the earliest signs your dog needs to go out (circling, sniffing) and prevent or at least interrupt an accident!
- Give your dog frequent trips outdoors
- Reward any potty success with praise, treats and play on the spot
- Supervise your dog when they are not in their dog crate
- Do not yell at your dog for having an accident
- Clean up any accidents with an enzyme cleaner
SAMPLE HOUSEBREAKING SCHEDULE
7:00am: Potty time!
Release pup from crate. Attach leash and go immediately outside to a designated potty area. Ignore your puppy until they do their duty, giving them only about 6' of leash to accostom your pup to going while on leash (this will be handy on trips or at the vets'). As he starts to relieve himself, quietly say "Hurry Up" or "Go Potty". As soon as he is finished, praise happily and give a yummy treat. Let your dog enjoy the outdoors – exercise, play or take a walk.
Feed your pup a measured amount (according to bag directions). Pick up any uneaten food after 15 minutes. Supervise 100% of the pup’s time indoors, or if you can’t, feed in crate.
7:45am: Potty time! Repeat the praise and play if your dog uses the bathroom outdoors.
8:00am – 12:00pm: Crate time. See below for tips on how to use a crate.
12:00pm: Potty time! Repeat the 7:00am routine, letting your dog potty, then exercise/play.
1:00pm-5:00pm: Crate time
5:00: Potty time! Repeat as above, including exercise/play.
6:00pm: Dinner: Repeat the breakfast routine.
6:45pm: Potty time! Repeat as above.
7:00pm-10:00pm: Bring your pup inside, on leash, and include him in the family activities. This is a good time to work on your obedience training and grooming. Remember to offer frequent trips outside. Supervise your pup and use the leash to redirect any inappropriate behavior.
10:00pm: Bedtime in crate. At night, your pup is able to “hold it” longer as he is resting. However, if your pup is under 16 weeks, he may need a very early morning trip outdoors.
How to introduce a crate:
Choose a crate that “fits” your dog: just big enough to stand up and stretch out in. The correct fit is important to encourage your dog to hold its bowels. If you choose a crate sized for the dog to use as an adult, simply put something indestructible, like cinder blocks, inside to make it ‘puppy size’. Increase the space inside the crate as the puppy grows so that he remains comfortable.
Since the crate should be a comfortable ‘bedroom’ for your dog, it’s important to introduce it in a positive manner. Place the crate in a comfortable place and let your dog explore the crate without you forcing them in or closing the door. You can throw a couple yummy treats in and encourage your dog to go in and out. Act pleased with your dog for exploring their new crate.
What to put in the crate:
Your dog! (no choke collars please!)
A safe, sturdy chew toy, like a Kong stuffed with goodies
A blanket (unless your dog makes a mess in the crate, then no bedding!)
A clip-on water dish
When you first close the crate door, your pup may protest, not understanding what is happening. Your dog is not complaining about the crate – he/she is learning to accept control. Be calm and ignore your dog’s protests. Keep your dog’s first few crate times limited to 1-4 hours, and only release your dog when he/she is quiet. Otherwise, your dog will learn to cry loudly in the crate.
Even if things do not go too smoothly at first - DON'T WEAKEN and DON'T WORRY; be consistent, be firm, and be very aware that you are doing your pet a real favor by preventing him from getting into trouble while left alone or not being properly supervised.
How to use the crate
After you feed, walk and play with your dog, it is crate time. Puppies under 6 months should not be left in the crate more than 4 hours (remember, young pups have tiny bladders).
Use the crate on a regular schedule. If you work, your dog can go in the crate while you are gone. If you are home most of the time, you should still have regularly scheduled crate times during the day. With this routine, your dog will practice good behavior and get used to being alone (not overly dependent). You should also use the crate anytime you are unable to supervise your untrained pet. copyright 1985 Nicki Meyer Educational Effort, Inc
IACP Professional Member