How to Housebreak Your New Puppy

You’ve Got A New Puppy!

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You want your new puppy to become a cherished member of the family, but  how you approach potty training can make or break your relationship with your new puppy. Take the time to potty train your puppy or dog correctly and you will enjoy a lifetime of fun and affection.
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One “must have” when you go about housebreaking your puppy is a dog crate.

dog crates are almost an  absolute must if you are going to be able to housebreak a very young dog quickly and easily. You should have a way to confine your puppydog when you can not actively watching him. It only takes a second for him to squat and pee, and the more often he is able to do that unsupervised, the harder it will be to housebreaking him!

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Using a crate to housebreak a puppy

Your dog crate must be small if you are going to prevent him from going to the bathroom inside the crate! Your young dogs crate should be slightly higher than the he is tall at least as long as the he is, and twice his width. Since your puppydog will be growing I would recommend you buy a larger wire crate that you can place a partition of some sort into, to keep the space your puppydog lives in as close to those dimensions as possible. Many wire crates come with a partition to help you in your housebreaking efforts, but some ideas for making your dog crate smaller include placing a cardboard box in the space you want to remain unusable to him, or blocking it with a piece of paneling or plywood. If the dog crate is too large your young dog, he will simply go potty in the back of the puppy crate!
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When you take your young dog out of their dog crate you must immediately take them outside to go potty. Some people advocate repetitively saying “go potty” from the second the dog is in the yard until they finally do go potty but from the standpoint of a dog trainer I do not personally advocate doing this. The reason for this is clear, the more your puppy hears “go potty” without actually going potty, the more likely he will ignore you when he understands it is a command. I train assistance dogs and I need my dogs to go potty as soon as they are told to, not to wander around looking for just the right spot. If you keep saying “go potty” your puppy will never realize it is a command and not a request. If that happens, they will simply take their sweet time when you may not have any time to waste waiting for them to go!

When your puppy is loose in the house he MUST have a leash attached to his collar! This way you can quickly get control of the puppy when you need to. Otherwise you may end up needlessly frightening your puppy by chasing him all over the house. Worse yet the chase could become a game of “catch me if you can” for your puppy! I strongly recommend that you keep the leash attached to yourself. This not only strengthens the bond with your new puppy but also keeps them close at hand so that you are less likely to miss an accident.

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Reward Your Puppy For Going Potty Outside.You can potty train your puppy when you take him outside on leash for walks too. When you have your puppy on his daily walks outside and you see the puppy begin to relieve him or herself, “say go potty” in a calm voice when the puppy actually going, (it is important to say it as the puppy is in the process of going) and “good potty” in an excited voice, when your puppy  has finished going, then play with your puppy or give him a treat while saying to your puppy “good potty”.

Why Should You Tell Your Puppy “Good Potty” to your puppy?

If you tell your puppy “go potty” and “good potty” often enough when they are actually going potty, your puppy ( just as it is with potty training children) will come to recognize that when they hear the words “go potty” in the proper context, the more your puppy come to  realize that “go potty” “good potty”  have a meaning, and that meaning is that the puppy is to go potty outside and not in the house.

Your puppy will use this word association with something they should not do indoors, but outdoors instead. Never be angry with your dog or puppy for having an accident indoors, just take the puppy outside, be sure to clean up the mess and apply a urine odor remover before bringing your puppy back into the house. These urine removers digest the urine and remove it completely instead of simply masking the smell. If you mask the smell for yourself the dog or puppy will still be able to smell it and will go again to that spot.

If you catch the puppy in the act, say “NO” in a firm voice and then calmly take the puppy outside, go back in the house and clean up the mess. When you bring the puppy back in the house, you should then put them back into their puppy crate until it is time to go outside again. Your puppy will learn to associate the word ‘no’ with a negative or bad behavior and will learn to go outside rather than indoors as long as you remain consistent.

Do Not Punish Your Puppy If He Has An Accident In The House

Punishing the dog or puppy for a mistake only results in the dog hiding when they need to go potty instead of asking to go outside.

If your puppy does have an accident in the house (accidents are almost assured in the beginning), do not punish them or they will just hide to go potty somewhere in the house where you will end up finding it later! If you do not catch the puppy in the act, consider it your fault. Put the puppy back into their crate or outside and go clean up the mess. If you actually catch the puppy in the act, give them a firm “NO” and pick them up and take them outside. The “NO” is to attempt to break the behavior, not punish, do not be rough with the puppy, just take them outside!

When housebreaking your puppy it is important to note here that, the puppy must stay outside until he or she goes. Then it is play time and they can come back into the house.

Can I Train My Puppy To Go In Only One Place In My Yard?

You could choose one specific spot for verbal training your puppy to relieve themself. Your puppy will learn to associate this spot with going potty. This makes yard clean up easy! But be sure to use this verbal command in other places as well, like on your walks or at the dog park so that you will not have a puppy that refuses to go potty in a strange place. Always remember to be a good neighbor and make sure to clean up after your dog or puppy and if you then offer a treat them for going on command it will have a positive affect on your potty training efforts using a verbal command or market. If you use the phrase ‘go potty’, be concise and clear in your speech. Some puppies may hear the word  ‘no’ instead of “go”.  If you do not enunciate the command clearly enough your puppy will only become confused.

Some People will fence a small area in their yard leaving an opening, and this is where the young dog is permitted to go to the bathroom outside. Any accidents in the rest of the yard are picked up as soon as possible and placed into this area. A dog likes to go in their Territory and will continue to visit the same place if encouraged to do so. The fence is not meant as a confinement area, only to mark the borders of where you want them to go.

You could also choose a different phrase to housebreak your young dog such as simply ‘potty’ or ‘do your job’ and make it sound less like ‘no potty’. You can not verbally train your puppy if he does not understand your command and become confused.

When using any type of verbal training, you should use praise as well, a little puppy will learn to associate the word you choose with what you want them to do so they can have a treat or tummy rub.

A word about wee-wee pads

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A young dog can be trained to go potty indoors or outdoors. If you prefer to train your young dog to go indoors you must use wee-wee pads, you will place the puppy onto the wee-wee pad for house training instead of taking him outside. Once your young dog is completely potty trained, you can stop the verbal commands if you choose, I continue to use them for the life of the dog. Housetraining using wee-wee pads is a little more confusing to a young dog, who may not understand why they can go potty in one part of the house and not another. So give them extra time to make this connection.
For more helpful dog and puppy training articles,please visit our Dog Training Website.

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