Housebreaking Your Dog-Potty Training Canine Style

Puppies are a bundle of newfound joy. You've prepared the house, and even bought him a new rubber chew toy. However, with all the joy your new pet brings, he also brings along with him his natural behaviors and instincts. It's now your job to begin training and molding him into the furry companion you've always wanted. It's not quite time for adventure or obedience school. It's time for potty training!

Just for starters, let's reiterate what pet experts back 100% of the time: never hit or abuse your puppy in any way. It will have a detrimental affect on his future behavior, his trust in you, and his ability to socialize with other dogs and humans.

With that said, you should not expect your new dog to be fully housetrained until he's about six months old, especially if you're not home to oversee his training every hour of every day.

There are a couple of different tried and true options to choose from when house training a puppy. One is commonly referred to as the "passive" option, or the newspaper option. The other option is considered the "active" approach, where you attempt to teach your new puppy when and where to control his bowel movements from the confines of a puppy crate.

The newspaper option is great for those with the necessary floor space, workers and/or apartment dwellers. Start out by designating a puppy room. If you don't have the space, and you still want to opt this route, create a room. Choose a small area (perhaps a tiled laundry room) and puppy proof it. In other words, don't allow the puppy access to any cleaners, wires or sharp objects. And, don't put your puppy into a closet or dark room. Be sure the room has windows (which you can crack open for air movement). Line the floor with newspaper. Put his bed, toys, food and water bowl in the room. At first, he'll go to the bathroom all over the place. Give the process plenty of time.

Optimistically, no matter where your puppy eliminates, it will be on the newspaper. Over time he'll slowly choose one spot (most likely based on scent). Then, gradually move the newspapers less and less on the floor until the spot where he usually eliminates is left covered. This process could take a few months. Move the paper inward only an inch or two every couple of days. If your puppy has an accident, remember, it's your fault. Most likely, you've moved the papers too quickly.

Crate training, as stated, is called the "active" approach because you really have to have an open schedule with plenty of patience and fortitude to make it work. Figure that you're going to have to take your dog out of the crate/cage about every forty-five to fifty minutes each hour of the day when you first begin.

If this is all viable, then make sure that you buy a puppy crate and not a dog cage that will be much to big. Buy a puppy cage for a puppy and later a dog cage when he becomes full-grown. Your dog should have enough space to be comfortable when sleeping, but not enough to have room to defecate in an extra corner.

Every forty-five minutes you should take your puppy outdoors on a leash to walk around and hopefully eliminate. He should do so within ten minutes. When he does go, praise the puppy by petting and saying, "Good boy" or "Good" plus his name. Once inside, allow the puppy to have supervised indoor playtime with a treat or two. If the puppy doesn't go to the bathroom outdoors, be sure to put him back in his cage and repeat the process a little later. If the puppy jitters around like he has to go to the bathroom, take him back outdoors. Expect accidents until he learns the procedure.

While both procedures take ample time and patience, they will work. The choice is yours. Give the puppy time to become familiar with his routine, you as his owner and his environment. The best thing to do is to richly award his successful attempts and never scold him for accidents.

About the Author:
Tina Spriggs is an expert dog lover whose lifelong interest in canines provides the motivation for her site. To learn more about dogs or to find gifts and toys for them visit her site at Dog Gifts and Toys for Dog Lovers.

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

In The News:

Pets of the Week - Shelter list  Times Herald-Record
Pets of the Week for Oct. 17  Oroville Mercury Register
Pet bans in strata could end in Supreme Court  The Australian Financial Review
Pet Pampering  The New York Times

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