How to House-Train a Puppy
- Understand puppy behavior. Puppies do not know right from wrong. What they understand is safe and dangerous. When your puppy comes into your house he doesn’t understand that it is “bad” or “wrong” to urinate on your carpet. We want to teach your dog that going in the house is unacceptable. We do this by catching your dog in the act—not after the behavior has occurred but while the behavior is happening. Punishing your dog after the behavior has occurred can confuse your dog, making the house training process much more difficult.
- Understand your puppy’s digestive system. A puppy’s digestive system is much shorter than a humans. We have about 26 feet of intestines; a puppy has about 4 feet. Some dog food companies recommend feeding a puppy four times a day. That can make the house training process very, very difficult on the puppy and the owner. You can feed your puppy twice a day. You can meet all of their nutritional requirements and make it much easier to housetrain on this feeding schedule, which leads us to Step 3.
- Develop a schedule. Putting your puppy on a feeding schedule during the housetraining process can make your efforts much more successful. Developing a schedule to take your dog outside will make it easier on you. Always bring a dog outside within 15 to 20 minutes after meals. Sometimes 5 to 10 minutes depending on the dog.
- Manage your puppy’s behavior. One of the most important steps in the housetraining process is the proper management of your puppy’s behavior. In Step 1 we discussed catching your dog in the act, not after the fact. Using a crate can help you when you are too busy to watch your pup. Using a crate is excellent for young dogs.
- Influence your puppy’s behavior. Just as you need to catch your dog in the act, you also need to let your dog know that she is doing the right behavior. During the housetraining process it is a good idea to take your puppy out on a leash. If you let your puppy out into a fenced in area and you are not there, you will not be able to communicate to your puppy that she is doing the right behavior. Put your pup on a leash and as she is sniffing the ground say a command like, “get busy” or “do your business” and keep saying that until your pup starts to go. Once she starts, don’t say anything else. Once your pup is finished, praise and reward her immediately.
- Proper clean up. Do NOT use a product that contains ammonia. Ammonia smells like urine to your puppy. Natures Miracle is an excellent product that has enzymes to break down the scent of urine naturally.
- Get everyone involved. The closer everyone sticks to the plan, the faster the training will progress.