A New Puppy? Now Comes House Training!

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!

You’re getting a dog? You need a crate!

You’ve made the decision to adopt a dog.  Whether you have decided to purchase a purebred or are going to the local Humane Association or Dog Rescue, a crate is well worth the investment.

A crate provides a place for your dog to sleep, and rest safely if you are busy or away from home and cannot monitor her activities. The most common crates come in plasticpetmate-portable-kennel2 (good if you plan to take your crate on an airline) and in metal (allowing for good ventilation). crate-training-your-dog If you are getting a large breed puppy, you will need to make a decision about whether it is best to get a crate that fits your pup now, knowing that it will need to be replaced as your dog grows.  One of the advantages to a wire crate is that many wire crates come with a divider that allow you to section off part of the crate in the beginning and then allow you to open it up as your pup needs more room.  Additionally, a wire crate can be folded for storage.  A wire crate, however, does not meet airline specifications.  If you wish to provide a little more privacy for your pup, you can find covers for wire crates that are made in a variety of colors and materials.   dog-crate-coverToday, you are no longer limited to just plastic or wire crates, however.  You will find that there are a variety of options available.  There are crates available in a wide variety of styles and prices.  In addition to standard plastic and wire crates, you can find nylon cratesdog_crate_unique that are collapsible and even crates that can actually serve as a piece of furniture. wooden-dog-crate Of course, these are going to come at a premium, so you want to make sure that is what you want before you invest in a crate like that.

A crate can really assist with housetraining.  A puppy does not like to make a mess in its room, so make sure that the crate is large enough for your puppy to be comfortable and move around, but not large enough where she can divide it into an area for sleeping and one for messing.  If you are diligent about taking your puppy outside periodically, she will soon learn that outside is the place to take care of her business.

You want to keep your pup close, but you may not be able to monitor its every move.  A crate is portable.  It can be moved from room to room.  If  you are busy and can’t watch your puppy, a crate can protect her from electric wires, poisonous plants and other household items.  Tucked into her crate on a soft cushion with her favorite toy, she will be safe and so will your house!  Too often people have the mistaken idea that a crate is cruel when in fact, it is quite the opposite.  For a puppy, the crate serves as a safe den.  It is her quiet place–a place where she can go to get away from too much activity, guests, and other pets.  Spending time in her crate, where she is safe and can rest for a few hours, is a much kinder fate than that of the poor puppy that is condemned to be tied out in the backyard—away from the family that she loves—because she destroyed something when her owners weren’t watching her.

If you are getting a new puppy or dog, a crate is an essential.  It will end up being one of the most valuable investments you make.  Take the time to choose carefully and then use it effectively.  You will be glad you did!