January 9, 2014
Puppy Potty Training Just Ain’t Easy
As I mentioned in a recent blog article, my boyfriend and I adopted a little German Shepard puppy. She has been the focus of our attentions since we are training her on many levels. We are training her behaviors such as house training, biting, and jumping as well as teaching her the basic tricks like sitting, lying down, shaking, and staying. The latter she has down pretty well; however, the former are still behaviors with which we struggle. The most prominent struggle, though, is house training, so here is some information for all dog parents.
First of all, how do pet parents house train their puppies or dogs? It is important to know that house training can take several weeks, months, or up to a year. And some dogs take longer. The Humane Society of the United States gives 10 tips.
1. Establish a routine
If puppy has a routine, she will be more likely to house train because she has a schedule. In this way, puppies are like babies. Schedules teach puppies the times to play, eat, sleep, and potty. The Humane Society says, “Generally speaking, a puppy can control his bladder one hour for every month of age. So if your puppy is two months old, he can hold it for about two hours. Don’t go longer than this between bathroom breaks or he’s guaranteed to have an accident. If you work outside the home, this means you’ll have to hire a dog walker to give your puppy his breaks.”
2. Take your puppy outside frequently
When puppy parents take their pups out regularly, say every couple of hours or so, they teach the pup that outside is where they potty. Do so when the puppy wakes up, during and after play, and after eating or drinking.
3. Pick a bathroom spot outside.
The Humane Society also recommends taking the puppy to the same spot to pee and poop and to use a word or phrase like “go potty” to help her learn. The puppy should be praised and rewarded after elimination with words of praise, long walks, playtime, or treats.
4. Reward your puppy every time he eliminates outdoors.
As the Humane Society explains,
“Praise him or give him a treat—but remember to do so immediately after he’s finished eliminating, not after he comes back inside the house. This step is vital, because rewarding your dog for eliminating outdoors is the only way he’ll know what’s expected of him. Before rewarding him, be sure he’s finished eliminating. Puppies are easily distracted. If you praise him too soon, he may forget to finish until he’s back in the house.”
5. Put your puppy on a regular feeding schedule.
Not only will this help the puppy learn routine, but it will also help to make potty times regular: because what goes in regularly comes out regularly.
6. Pick up your puppy’s water dish
At about two and half hours pre-bedtime, remove the pup’s water dish from her access. This will help reduce the possibility of an accident in the night. Most puppies have about seven hours of sleep in them before the need for elimination, so making sure not to fill her bladder before bed is crucial. However, if she does wake for a potty break, do not make a deal out of it. Do not talk to or rile her up and try to keep lights off. Just take her out, let her do her business, praise and reward her, and put her back to sleep.
Much like children, if a puppy is quiet, she is likely getting into trouble. Make sure to watch her and respond. This will keep a puppy from gaining an opportunity to have an in-house accident.
8. Tether your puppy
If a puppy parent is in the house and not actively training or playing with the pup, then use a six-foot leash to keep her close. Then supervise and watch for the signs she might need to go. Make sure to take puppy out as soon as the signs start manifesting.
9. Keep your puppy on a leash in the yard.
The Humane Society put it best: “During the housetraining process, your yard should be treated like any other room in your house. Give your puppy some freedom in the house and yard only after he is reliably housetrained.”
When puppy parents can’t supervise puppy, she needs to be confined to a small area like a small room or a crate. The space must be small enough so that she will not want to potty in it. Make sure she has room to stand comfortably, turn around in, and lie down but not so much that she could potty in one area and lie in another.
This advice will help any dog or puppy parents to house train their pets. If these do not work, consult a vet for more ideas and possible health complications getting in the way of the training. Once a puppy or dog is house trained, parents can rest easier and everyone will be happy.
Image Credit: Thinkstock