Dog ownership is filled with opportunities to teach and learn, yet none are quite so intricate – and rewarding – as the experience of house training a puppy.
Make no mistake: house training a puppy – or perhaps an older rescued dog that may not yet be housebroken – must begin as soon as you cross the threshold with your new pet.
It’s a whole new world for you and your dog – but the following pro tips should offer some relief:
- Set a schedule: Experts agree – whether you are teaching a new puppy or an adopted older dog that may have never been housetrained, establishing a routine is the key.
According to the American Kennel Club, the number of hours a dog can typically “hold it” more or less corresponds to their age in months up to a year. (It should be mentioned this is a guideline, though. No dog should be asked to wait 12 hours for a potty break.) Generally speaking, young puppies have tiny bladders and will need to be catered to almost around the clock. That means you’ll be taking pee breaks:
- First thing in the morning
- Following playtime
- Following naptime
- Following crate time
- After chewing on a toy or treat
- After meals
- After drinking
- Last thing at night
Older dogs arrive with a little more leeway, but having a schedule is still crucial. Early morning and late-night outings are a must, as well as after mealtimes and at least a few additional times during the day. Be sure to give your dog plenty of time outdoors to do their thing. Rushing a walk is counterproductive. Giving your dog ample time to relieve itself reinforces the overall concept and puts success on the fast track. Additionally, when it is feeding time, set a timer and remove the bowl after 15 minutes whether your dog is finished eating or not. This helps to foster regularity and reduces the chance of accidents.
- Crates are great: Some pet owners may wince at the idea of a crate – but almost any professional pet care specialist would tell you that it’s one of the best ways to go (no pun intended).
Crating as a teaching tool just simplifies everything. Historically, dogs are den animals. That makes them genetically predisposed to search for a hovel when they crave security. That makes crate training a natural fit.
Dogs don’t like stained carpets any more than their owners do. When they need to go, they will give you a sign by pawing and scratching, giving you a chance to accommodate a trip outdoors.
Older dogs who cannot be supervised should also be kept in crates while they are being housebroken, with crate times being relaxed gradually throughout the training.
Many contemporary crates can even be adjusted for size. But be careful: you want to allow ample room for your puppy to maneuver, but not so much that a corner of the crate makes a convenient toilet.
- Puppy pads and paper training: While not ideal, absorbent puppy pads and paper training can work in a pinch, as they provide your dog with a “safe space” to do their business at home. This is a particularly useful solution for homeowners with full-time jobs who simply can’t run home multiple times per day.
- Take care not to scare: Sure, it’s a kneejerk reaction to shout “NO!” when your puppy or adopted dog has a bathroom faux pas. But screaming not only terrifies your dog, but it also could have the opposite reaction you’re looking for as your petrified pooch starts sneaking around to avoid being verbally punished. Instead of shouting, calmly get your dog’s attention with a word or two and take them directly outdoors to finish what they’ve started.
Green Acres Pet Resort wants you to have the most successful relationship possible with your puppy. While we do not offer potty training for puppies, we do host a puppy social hour, a free program that helps your puppy get a great start on life through socialization. It’s an awesome precursor to enrolling a dog in daycare.
Registration is required for Green Acres’ free Puppy Social Hour. Puppies must currently be under veterinary care for vaccinations and be treated for internal and external parasites before taking part in the program. Being housebroken, however, is not a prerequisite for puppy social hour or any other activity at Green Acres.
Questions? Give us a call at 608-889-2100 to learn more.