Those adorable puppy eyes and wagging tail can melt your heart, but housetraining your new dog can also wear away at your patience. If you’re finding that your puppy seems to think the entire house is a bathroom it is time for some helpful puppy potty training tips that will get your home back in order.
Beware of the Power of Smell
Dogs experience the world through their noses, and this is never more true than when it comes to developing bathroom habits. If your dog has an accident use an old rag to wipe up the mess and put that rag (for a short time) in the outdoor location where you want your dog to potty. This creates a scent marker the dog can follow and understand.
Clean accident areas thoroughly.
There are great products on the market that help get rid of the scent marker, or you can even use a solution of vinegar and water. Just remember that you might not be able to see or smell the marker, but your puppy probably can.
If your puppy keeps using the kitchen rug as a bathroom spot, limit his access to the kitchen and remove the rug. Help your dog become successful by not giving him the opportunity to continue to have accidents in the same place.
How to Handle Accidents
Puppies will have accidents while they learn the routines of their new homes. How you react to them at these times is a crucial factor in the success you will have during housetraining.
- Interrupt your puppy with a strong, negative word or phrase. I always reserved this tone and word just for bathroom accidents. Startling your dog is different from scaring your dog – make sure you aren’t creating unnecessary anxiety.
- When you catch your puppy in the middle of an accident, interrupt him with a stern verbal command and then immediately take him to his outdoor potty spot. Keep a stack of rags handy and quickly wipe up the mess as you go so you can take a scent marker with you.
- Do not rub your dogs nose in his mess. He won’t understand that you’re upset about where he made a mess.
- Do not yell at or chastise your dog after the fact. Dogs are very time sensitive – they will associate their immediate action with your reaction. If you use your stern voice after he has already had an accident and is just sitting and looking at you he will associate his paying attention to you with negative feedback.
Timing is Everything
One of the most important steps in house training your dog is creating a routine. Repetition is a wonderfully easy way to instill new habits into your dog. Make sure that each morning the very first thing you do is take your puppy out on a leash to potty. Do this again 15-30 minutes after breakfast, and regularly throughout the day.
Pay Attention to Bathroom Details
While it might not be the most exciting part of pet ownership, pay attention to the bathroom habits of your dog. You can learn a lot about the health and well-being of your pet by knowing what is typical for your furry friend. When you catch signs and symptoms early you can have the opportunity to help your puppy before it is too late. Sites like http://www.1stpetnaturals.com have great information for various diseases and conditions, many of which you can treat early when you’ve been paying attention to the details. Even things like constipation can be warning signs for more serious conditions.
Puppy Pads and Other Training Tools
Some pet owners, especially those with smaller dog breeds, find they prefer to use puppy pads when house training their pets. While it wouldn’t be practical or pleasant for me to use puppy pads with my 45 lb. ball of fur, I do know many owners of smaller dogs who use the training pads even when the dogs are older. The idea of a training pad involves the same concepts of scent markers and outdoor potty spots and telling your dog where you want him to potty. The advantages for pet owners are that small dogs who live in cold climates don’t have to go outside to use the bathroom and the dogs can be easier to leave home in larger kennels. However, some dogs become too reliant on these puppy pads and don’t do well when they are expected to use grass or other similar surfaces for the bathroom.
Don’t Give Up
Sometimes new pet owners get so frustrated with the housetraining process (or lack of it) that they give up and either isolate the dog in a crate for too many hours or give up entirely and re-home their pet. Neither one of these has to be an option. If you feel that your puppy has a medical condition that is contributing to the issue, make sure you have it evaluated.
About the Author: Chris Oldenburg is a freelance writer/ domestic engineer passionate about raising healthy pets. She recently wrote about treatment for constipation in dogs and how to housetrain your puppy, topics every pet owner can relate to. When not pursuing her passion for writing, Chris loves to spend time with her kids, dog Mya, and cats Mickey and Jewel.