There are very few things that are more exciting than bringing home a new puppy! Exciting as it is, there will be many things that you will need to do for your new little friend. One of the most important is to house train her.
You need to realize that training a new puppy is much like training a toddler.
- You have to be patient!
- You have to be consistent! (This is the hardest one)
- There will be messes.
- It will take time.
But in the end, it will be well worth your efforts!
Although time consuming, house training your puppy really isn’t that difficult if you just follow a few methods that have been used time and time again by dog trainers and owners all over the world.
- Get a crate and use it! Your puppy needs to be in its crate any time that you are not actually interacting with it. A crate serves as your puppy’s den. A puppy’s natural instinct is to keep its den clean. Avoid putting anything in the bottom of the crate like newspaper or towels. Your puppy will “hold it” as long as she possibly can to avoid making a mess in her den. It is your responsibility to make sure that she has an opportunity to get out often enough so that she doesn’t have to go beyond what her little body can endure. In the beginning, try to get her out every couple of hours.
- A puppy generally needs to potty about half an hour after it eats. If you have left her in the crate up until dinner time, take her out before she eats and again a short time afterwards.
- She needs to go out anytime the she wakes up from a nap.
- She needs to go out every time after she plays.
When you take her out, try to take her to the same location. The scent from previous visits will often encourage her to go more quickly. If you add a command such as “Hurry, Hurry”, “Do Your Business” or “Be Quick”; you will help her associate the command with doing her business. Eventually, you should be able to take her out and have her potty on command.
No matter how wonderful your puppy is or how consistent you are, there will be times when your puppy makes a mistake. Never punish your puppy for having an accident. Hitting her or yelling at her will not have the effect you want, as she doesn’t realize what it is that she has done wrong. Rubbing a puppy’s nose in its mess accomplishes nothing but confusing the puppy. It will only serve to frighten her. Try to catch her in the act, sweep her up and take her directly to the spot where you want her to go. If you find the mistake and she is no where around, clean it up and forget it—she certainly has. When she has an accident, be sure to clean it up thoroughly with one of the new enzyme cleaners that are available. That way you won’t have to worry about the scent triggering another occurrence.
Try to avoid using puppy pee pads or newspapers. They are messy, smelly and generally not something you will want in your house when your puppy is grown. If you are not going to be around enough to take your puppy out every couple of hours, you probably need to get an adult dog that has already been house trained or wait until your schedule allows you to spend the kind of time that is necessary to house train a puppy. It isn’t fair to get angry at your dog for making a mess if you haven’t taken the time to properly train her.
The two most important things about house training are consistency and patience. Having a puppy that is totally house trained will take a few of months—but is well worth the investment of time. Hang in there, she will eventually get it. And when she does, what a glorious day it will be!