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Puppy Housetraining 101

Housetraining, or lack of housetraining, is one of the reasons that wonderful dogs end up in shelters or rescues. Whether your dog is a puppy or adult, don’t give up. With consistency and patience she can learn the proper potty etiquette! Where to start? Housetraining your pup or older dog begins with a crate or “House” as your pup will come to know it.

To your puppy her crate is her den. It’s a place where she can go to get away from all of the stress and stimulation of the busy and confusing human world. Your puppy’s crate is a place where she cannot harm herself or your house. How big should your puppy’s personal house be?  Purchase a crate that your puppy is able to comfortably stand, turn around, and lay down in. Be cautious to not get a mansion of a crate or she will potty in one end and sleep in the other. For a puppy that is going to grow very quickly, a wire crate with a divider is a good idea.

Now that your puppy has her own house you can start training her to potty outside. To keep things simpler, keep your dog or puppy on a feed and water schedule. You have to know what went in to know what is going to come out! If you are not able to supervise your pup or dog, put her in her house; this will keep her from having accidents that you are not able to catch.

One of the wonderful things about a dog is that they can learn commands for anything they do, including potty!  Take your pup (on a leash) to the same spot each time and tell her to “Go Potty.” If she is distracted give a little tug with the lead and tell her “No, go Potty.” Keep her moving. The first few times that you go to her potty spot and are successful, give lots of praise. Make Suzy think that she is the most amazing dog in the world (she is right!). You can tone down the praise as she shows consistent success.

I understand that you don’t have all day to wait around for Suzy’s morning constitutions. If she is goofing off and hasn’t gone potty in about 10 minutes, put her in her house for 15 minutes then try again. Keep in mind she gets absolutely no free time until she has gone potty. And now that you have taught little Suzy a new command “go potty,” you can teach her that you do not like it inside.

If little Suzy is going potty on the living room rug, first of all don’t panic! Clap your hands or rattle a can full of pennies and say, “No. Bad potty.” Walk over to her and scold, “Bad potty.” (Be sure that you are not rushing little Suzy like a linebacker!) After you soak up some of the potty, immediately take Suzy to her potty spot outside and let her smell there. Praise, “Good potty!” This will let Suzy know that potty is okay; you just don’t like it inside.

Remember, it’s very important to take her outside after scolding her for the accident. Why? If Suzy gets confused and decides that you don’t like potty at all, then she will resort to sneaking. This leads to an entire new set of problems – like finding a week old poop behind the couch. Yuck. If you have an older dog that is struggling with housetraining, then you are probably seeing this behavior. If so, keep the leash on him when he is in the house. This will make it easier for you to keep him from sneaking off. You can even tether Cooper to a strong sturdy object, such as the kitchen table – but only if you are in the same room to supervise him. Put Cooper in his house or with another family member while you clean the spot. It is best if he does not see you cleaning up his mess.

I know housetraining can be very frustrating. Just stay positive and remember how much you love your dog … as you clean up the third poop of the day! If you continue to have trouble, let me know and we can tackle it together!

Also, leave your dog training questions in the below comments and I will choose one each month to answer!

Katie’s Dog Training offers private, in-home training sessions so that you can experience the loyalty and companionship that a well balanced dog offers. Even though she has graduated numerous training schools, the dogs themselves tend to be her most beneficial teachers. She and her husband share their home with three wonderful dogs, Luka, Jazzy and Honey as well as a crazy cat named D’Angelo.

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Jim Wright - April 8, 2010 - 9:25 am

Great advice. We have successfully crate trained our dogs for years. It works out well for them & for us.

But I’m especially happy to see my grand-furbaby, Harry Winston at the top of the page. Isn’t he just adorable?

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