It is one of the indisputable laws of nature: what goes on one end must come out of the other. It’s the question of when and where it comes out that causes problems for the owner of a new puppy. Potty training a new dog is one of the first things you will want to do, and life will be much more enjoyable for everyone once your puppy has mastered this skill.
When your dog is a puppy, he doesn’t have the muscle control of his bowels and bladder to decide when to empty them. You also do not understand the language you will use to try to teach you the rights and wrongs of when and where to do business. It’s important to remember this – your puppy will have to wee and poo, and it doesn’t make sense to scold him if he does it in the wrong place. No dog is a mind reader, and it is your duty, as the owner and leader of the packet, to communicate how you want things done. Luckily, simply by following a few simple rules, you can teach your puppy where it’s appropriate to do business, and hopefully avoid too many unpleasant accidents along the way.
Potty Training Your Puppy – Step 1: Beginning
When the puppies are newborns, their mother licks them to encourage them to excrete. After they have finished doing their business, she licks the puppies again, to clean them up. This means that, as the puppies get older, they develop a desire to sleep somewhere that is not covered in tiny, poopy things. Given one option, a puppy instinctively keeps his bed area clean. As such, some form of confinement will help your puppy develop the control he needs for successful potty training.
The best way to begin the confinement stage of potty training is to use a box. The drawer should not be too large, or the puppy will be tempted to use one end as a toilet, and the other for sleeping. If your puppy is going to grow to a large size within a few months, and you don’t want to buy several drawers, it is possible to get one that is divided, allowing you to increase the area as the puppy grows while still being able to maintain the proper size for toilet training.
Potty Training Your Puppy – Step 2: Training and Praise
Many dog trainers use a leash or lead when potty training puppies. Wearing a leash ensures that you can keep your dog close to you, which will give you control over where your dog will be eliminated. It’s best to use a type of lead slip for the ease and speed of putting it on; Even if your puppy is still a little young to be trained to drive, it can still slide over your head and carry it off. Young dogs are easily distracted and can mentally move away from work on the hand, so a small tug on the leash will help refocus their mind.
Choose an appropriate area of your garden such as the corner of the potty, behind the shed, for example. With your puppy on a leash, guide him down there every time you sit down he is ready to do his duty, and in no time, he will go there of his own accord.
The words you use while your puppy is doing business are also important, as they help reinforce the potty training effort. Be consistent, and make sure it’s easy to say, because whatever phrase you choose, you’ll be using it a lot! “Go potty” for wee, and”Go poop” for poo are effective, although you can use any word you feel more comfortable with.
The most important word you need to teach your puppy is”Outside”. Every time you take your puppy outside, use it repeatedly, in a bright and cheerful tone. Dogs love to be outdoors, as they associate it with freedom and playtime. Eventually, just say the word”outside” will have your puppy running for the door in excitement.
Once you’re outside, put your puppy down and change the emphasis to”go to the bathroom” or”poop”, whichever one you choose. Let your puppy have an inhalation around the area and move around until they sit down, but keep them within the space you have decided to make your potty area. Use a little greed in the lead if you get distracted, and repeat the command’go potty’. Be sure to say the command in a friendly and encouraging tone; you don’t want to sound firm or angry, nor do you want to be begging for it. Then, when he starts doing his business, give him verbal encouragement in a happy and pleasant tone of voice.
Be sure to use only verbal praise, as any physical touching can alter ongoing movement. Dogs will usually wee first, then poo, but you will quickly learn your own dog’s routine, and be able to encourage him to wee or poop properly.
Potty Training Your Puppy – Step 3: Time
As your puppy learns the rules of elimination, he will begin to gain freedom from the box. The best time to allow your puppy out is when he has just done his business, but he will still need to be closely monitored. The key is to be constantly aware of your dog’s behavior and body language, so you can anticipate what’s going to happen. All puppies and dogs will have their own idiosyncratic behavior that signals that they need to go to the bathroom. These may include circles, sniffing, abruptly stopping an activity, or running out of the room. If you stain these samples, take your puppy outside and follow the procedure to keep them poop in the right place. Your dog will also have to go outside if there is a change in circumstances, for example, after a walk, a dream or a meal.
One rule of thumb is that the dog’s age, in months, is the time, in hours, that the puppy can cope with between potty breaks. For example, a one-month-old puppy can cope with an hour, but a four-month-old puppy can cope for four hours. This is true until around seven months of age, at which time, we expect your puppy will be fully potty trained.
Potty Training Your Puppy – Step 4: Accidentes
There will still be accidents while you are potty training your puppy. If you must catch him while he is doing business, a strong hand clapping to distract him, and a firm, quiet voice to communicate his displeasure will be enough to carry the message home. You don’t want to terrorize him, but you want him to know he’s unhappy. He quickly takes it out with his friendly and encouraging voice”outside”. So, if he continues what he started, plenty on a lot of praise.
There is absolutely no point in punishing your puppy when he has weed or poop in the wrong place at the wrong time. The message your puppy will receive from such punishment is that they should only be too small or poopy when not around, which will cause even more trouble. Think of an accident as an opportunity to teach your puppy how to do things right. As with every life lesson, the more you repeat, the faster you learn.