Modern Methods for Housetraining Puppies
There is a certain exhilaration in bringing a puppy home that forever stays in your memory. It heralds a change in lifestyle and a commitment of decades that you willingly embrace. There are new responsibilities and restrictions, but the happiness of having a puppy in the house overshadows it all.
Sadly, this joy gets a bit of a battering when you realize that a puppy in the house also means chewed up shoes and furniture, and going to the bathroom in the middle of every room.
Housetraining a puppy is the first responsibility of every pet parent. Puppies get returned and abandoned daily, because owners don’t realize before adopting that their new, adorable fur-ball has bathroom needs.
To neglect housetraining is the same as taking away the puppy’s chance at making her home with you. No one enjoys coming home to a mess on the living room carpet. To prevent this annoyance from building up to resentment, the puppy has to be shown where and when to do her business. This takes time and consistency.
Traditional methods of housetraining heavily favored punishments for misdeeds. Unfortunately, this rarely worked well and had unintended consequences.
Scolding a puppy for a mess to make her realize that she was wrong is fine in theory but difficult to practice when you rarely catch her in the act. Shouting or using a rolled-up newspaper to hit the puppy were all supposed to be sterile punishments, devoid of emotions, and only meant to teach a lesson.
But when, day after day, you clean up one mess and turn around to find another, this method also becomes an outlet for the pet parent’s frustration. And puppies pick up on human anger with remarkable sensitivity. The old methods may eventually stop the puppy from ruining your carpet, but they will also teach her to fear you. The seeds of many behavioral problems that crop up later are sowed in these first weeks.
Modern 3-Step Process to Housetrain a Puppy:
Outside Every Hour
This may sound extreme but has a firm basis in logic. Dogs are clean creatures. They don’t pee or poop where they live. However, once your puppy settles into her bed in one corner of the house, it becomes the only zone worth keeping clean.
Her lack of control over her bladder means that she’ll try to go as far from her bed as possible before letting loose. She will not know that the entire house should be kept clean, since she has no ability to leave the premises on her own. So, keeping in mind her inability to hold it in, make a habit of taking your new puppy outside every one to two hours.
A general rule for puppies under six months is one hour for every month of their life. But it’s better to err on the side of incontinence and take even older puppies out more often.
Sleep in a Crate
This becomes especially important in those first weeks when you may have to step out for a few hours and can’t take her outside in that period.
Remember to let her have sufficient time to relieve herself before putting her in the crate, and to come home and take her outside again. Working on the same principle of inherent puppy cleanliness, this step asks you to help a puppy consider the crate as her den.
Once she learns that the crate is her own space, she wouldn’t want to soil it. This will ensure that she tries to hold the urge to pee or poop until you get back and let her out. Keep the space small using partitions, but be sure that she can stand up and turn around.
Also, make a habit of letting her sleep in the crate at night. Initially, you’ll have to get up in the middle of the night to let her do her business outside, but eventually she’ll let you sleep until the morning.
Punishment breeds fear in your dog and that’s not the relationship you want to foster. It also takes a lot longer for your puppy to understand what you want from her.
When she has accidents, calmly clean it up and use odor removers to ensure that the puppy can’t smell her mark on that area again.
When she goes to the bathroom outside like you want her to, praise her, play with her, give her treats. Make sure she understands that doing this one thing will get her all your attention and affection.
This method gets through to her faster, and gives the puppy an incentive to work to please you.
Housetraining can feel like an impossible task that seems to never yield results. It may feel that way for the first week or so, but soon enough your puppy will understand what you want her to do, and you can go back to enjoying the best parts of adopting a puppy.
About Joanne’s Chem-Dry of NJ
Before housetraining a puppy is complete, accidents are bound to happen. Joanne’s Chem-Dry of NJ offers carpet cleaning safe for pets and P.U.R.T.®, a revolutionary pet urine removal treatment system that delivers amazing results.