Dog House training
Housetraining your dog is one of the first challenges you’ll have to take on when you bring your new family member home. It’s also one of the toughest parts of training to complete. With a positive attitude (and a sense of humor) you’ll both be able to get through this necessary exercise.
Outside vs. Paper Training:
Before you begin housetraining you need to decide whether you’ll teach him to go outside or on a newspaper. Both types of training have their strengths and weaknesses. If you have a small dog, live in an apartment without a yard, or have mobility troubles that will make it difficult to bring your dog out regularly, paper training might be best for you.
It’s a common misconception that paper training is a step you take prior to teaching your dog to go outside. This isn’t true! If you decide to paper train, do it with the mindset that your dog will go this way for life. Switching him to the outside will only confuse him. It’s the same the other way around, too. If you’re going to train him to go outside, don’t give him the option to eliminate inside.
General Training Principles:
Every dog is different, so every training approach will be different. However, there are some basic housetraining principles to keep in mind that will help any dog.
- Be Consistent: Just like all other kinds of dog training, housetraining will only be successful if you are consistent. Stick to the same time and place so that he’ll have no confusion over where he is supposed to go.
- Keep a Regular Schedule: Keeping your puppy on a regular eating and sleeping schedule will help you to know when he’ll need to eliminate next. If he eats at the same times each day, chances are he’ll eliminate in a similar pattern. A set sleeping schedule will help your puppy gain bladder control.
- Clear Command Phrase: Just like when teaching your dog to sit or lie down, having a clear phrase that signals when it’s time for your dog to go outside is very helpful. Saying the phrase in an upbeat tone will make your dog excited to go outside.
- Keep Clean: Expect your puppy to make messes every now and again. Make sure to clean them up quickly, as leaving them out can create a home for nasty diseases that can hurt both your dog and your family.
- Never Punish: All dogs will have accidents. Never punish your dog by yelling at him or physically abusing him. Instead, if you find your dog in the act, say “no” in a firm tone. This will get his attention so you can bring him outside. If housetraining is a positive experience for your puppy you’ll end up spending less time on it.
Training Your Dog to Go Outside
When you first bring home your puppy he won’t have much bladder control. Puppies usually come to a new home when they’re seven or eight weeks old, which is the perfect age to start housetraining. Because they can’t go for long without eliminating it’s important to keep an eye on them. Puppies will usually need to go outside every one to two hours, and sometimes more often if they’ve been eating or drinking a large amount.
Knowing your puppy’s elimination schedule will be your biggest asset when beginning to housetrain him. As soon as you have an idea of when he’ll need to go outside, begin taking him out ten to fifteen minutes before he needs to go. Give him the command phrase you’ve chosen as you go outside. As soon as he eliminates lavish him with praise.
If you don’t have a yard, keep your puppy on a leash while you find a place for him to go. Make sure you use your command phrase in this situation or he may think you just want to go for a walk.
Expect that your puppy won’t eliminate on cue to begin with. You may have to stand with him for several minutes before he goes, but once he does make sure to give him lots of praise and affection. Consistency is extremely important here – make sure you go to the same area at the same time as much as possible.
Training Your Dog to Use Newspaper
Training your dog to eliminate on newspaper is similar to training him to go outside. Instead of taking him to an open space, though, you’ll be encouraging him to eliminate on a pile of paper.
The first thing to do when paper training is deciding what part of the house you’ll be keeping the paper in. It’s generally best to do it in a quiet corner in the kitchen or the bathroom. This will help eliminate distractions for your dog while he’s in the training process. Be prepared to stick with the spot you choose – moving the paper around will only confuse your dog and lead to accidents. Lay down a trash bag with six to eight sheets of newspaper on top of it in whichever spot your choose.
To begin with you’ll have to take your puppy to the paper yourself. Do this as soon as he wakes up, after each nap, after playtime, before he goes to sleep, and 10-15 minutes after he eats. Once he’s on the paper, give your command phrase to signal him that it’s time to eliminate. Expect him to wander off the paper while you’re waiting. Whenever he does just lift him up and put him back on. Once he eliminates give him lots of praise and a reward.
After a while you’ll see that he’s using the papers consistently whenever you bring him over. Once this has happened you can start using the “come” command while standing by the paper instead of bringing him there yourself. This will help cement the idea that the paper is where he should eliminate.
Whether you choose to train your dog to go outside or in, expect it to be a long and at times frustrating process. Your dog will make accidents, but don’t lose your cool. Keep going at your dog’s pace and before you know it he’ll be housetrained.