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With a little effort, consistency and persistence dogs 8 weeks and older usually show vast improvement in as little as a week using gentle, sensible house training techniques.
The same methods also work well for new rescue dogs and pups, who you should always assume should be treated like 8-week-old pups when they first come into your home. After all, if most of them had been in the homes they deserve they would have been raised differently and might not have ended up in rescue.
Puppies quickly figure out they feel better when they eliminate often, and it is our job to help them develop the habit of putting that urine and fecal matter in the right places.
Punishment is counter-productive. You might actually teach Rover to hide from you when he eliminates if he is corrected or chastised. Producing feces or urine on the grass is a sure path to rewards, so why waste that stuff by leaving it on the carpet anyway?
Avoid giving too much freedom too soon. Baby gates can be useful to help keep your pup in the same room with you. When you can’t be with him or cannot watch him intensely, use a comfortable safe puppy crate for confinement. Exercise pens and doggie play pens can often increase house training issues, and far too many dogs learn to scale the sides where is no top on the confinement area.
If you have a dog that has suddenly started having accidents, take fecal and urine samples to your veterinarian to help rule out medical causes such as parasites or urinary tract infections, or even incontinence associated with spaying.
For all puppies, excitement or submissive urination must not be corrected in any way, or it gets worse. Just calmly clean it up and follow the procedures listed below.
Get A Dog Crate And Teach Rover To Like Being In It.
Rover eats, sleeps, and gets lots of treats in his crate.
Crate training works on the premise that dogs do not like to eliminate in the same places they sleep and eat. By confining him to a small crate and keeping him on a schedule, you’re teaching Rover when and where to eliminate so he may have years of freedom when he is more mature.
Set Up Rover’s Bathroom Area In The Yard.
Yes, we really do mean the yard. If you live in an apartment or townhouse and have a toy breed, you may be able to use puppy pads, but even then we don't do that with our own dogs. We prefer never to teach the dog it is okay to eliminate in living spaces, which is admittedly a lot easier to do when you live in Central Florida (no snow!). Paper pr puppy pad training teaches Rover to eliminate on paper, including the Sunday Sentinel or Journal! It may not help him transfer that to the outdoors.
Mark a shady area with landscaping timbers or posts for your target zone. For your convenience, make this fairly close to the door, so you don’t have to walk so far to get to it on wet days or at night in your pajamas.
With your pup on leash, walk slowly back and forth in no more than a 10-foot line, stopping periodically if he starts sniffing intensely or spinning.
Get your Collar, Leash, Clicker and Treats Ready
Take your clicker and yummy treats with you every time you take Rover outside. Click as soon as you see he’s finished eliminating, and follow up immediately with a yummy treat.
At first only food rewards will be used for house training. When he is older or more reliable, life rewards (his favorite things to do) can be used most of the time.
Set Up a Bathroom Schedule
Take your new dog to his potty area outside every hour for an untrained older puppy or adult.
An 8 week old puppy needs to go outside every 20-40 minutes if he is following you around the house, or can wait longer if sleeping securely latched in his puppy kennel. Set a timer, alarm clock or computer/cell phone alert tone to remind you when it is time to head outside again.
If he does not eliminate when taken outside, then he goes back inside and directly into his crate. There is no free time without a deposit upon request on the grass or dirt.
Always take a puppy out after he eats or drinks, wakes up, has been playing, training, after any other excitement, and after he has been in his crate. The last person up at night, and the first one up in the morning, takes the puppy out. If anyone gets up during the night, take a young puppy outside then too.
Hustle your pup outside any time he is sniffing around, pacing, staring at you or moving in a tight circle. Any of these, especially the sniffing and circling, may indicate he needs to eliminate very soon.
A new puppy’s crate should always be placed in the bedroom of the responsible
adult for a year or more.
Feed On A Set Schedule.
Establish a schedule that enables you to predict when your dog will need to eliminate.
Feed twice daily for most dogs 3 months and older – approximately 10-12 hours between meals.
For younger pups, aim for three times daily – 6-8 hours between meals.
Put down dry food or properly prepared cooked or raw food for 10 minutes only.
Keep plenty of water available at all times.
House Training Work Sheet
A problem-solving work sheet is included on our web page so you may download it at your convenience.
What to Do If You Discover an Accident You Did Not See Occur
If you find a puddle or mess you did not see the dog produce, DO NOT DISCIPLINE THE DOG verbally or physically. After all, how could he have made that mistake when he was safely in his crate when you were not watching him?
Review your house training schedule, and remind yourself to give your pet more crate time and no
unsupervised free time.
Best Paw Forward PuppyLove classes begin with pups 8 to 18 weeks old on their first day of class. Start as soon as you get your pup, once he has had his very first set of puppy shots. Older pups and adult dogs begin in Basic Manners. Our open enrollment system means there is no need to wait for a far-off start date - begin today!