Puppy Proofing Your Home
to bringing your puppy home, plan to take one or two weeks off of work, so you have uninterrupted time to focus on the puppy
-- and, in particular, puppy potty training. Otherwise, it will take much longer to housebreak your pup. You will
need to "puppy proof" your house. Puppies are like babies; they want to explore every corner of your house
and they want to put everything into their mouths. A good rule to follow is that anything that is not safe for children
is not safe for pets.
Puppies learn new skills
at different rates. It will take time for your puppy to develop a firm understanding of where it's acceptable to potty
and where it is not. It will take time for your pup to consistently understand that the entire house is the den, an
area not to be soiled.
Puppies need to relieve themselves frequently, sometimes as often as once an hour. There will
be many accidents, especially at first. Never lose your temper at the puppy and always use simple, consistent one or
two word commands. If you do not, your pup could become frightened and confused about what you expect.
Potty Training - First Steps
The first step in potty training requires that you learn the clues that indicate
your puppy needs to potty. These clues are restlessness, sniffing the floor, or returning to a previously soiled spot.
Your pup will need to potty about 5-20 minutes after eating, sleeping, or playing. When you take your puppy outside
to potty, go to the same spot each time and don't play. You want your puppy to focus on one thing only during puppy
potty training -- going in the right area. As soon as your puppy goes potty, praise enthusiastically. Give your
puppy a small food treat to reinforce the positive behavior. While your puppy is going potty, praise very softly so
you don't interrupt the behavior. Be enthusiastic after your puppy is done.
While you're potty training, you must
keep the puppy close to you always, so that the puppy does not have the opportunity to fail. This means starting the
puppy out in a small area of the house and following the puppy nonstop. Alternatively, attach one end of a leash to
the puppy and the other end to you, so that the puppy is no farther away from you than the end of the leash.
When you are
not able to watch the puppy, put the puppy into a kennel; or, if you have a fenced yard and the weather is good, you can put
the puppy outside. However, putting the puppy outside when you aren't watching means you lose the opportunity to reward.
The kennel is a preferable training tool. A young pup 7-9 weeks old should be in a kennel for no more than two
hours at a time. A puppy cannot control itself for longer than that.
Accidents During Puppy Potty Training
If you catch your puppy in the act of going potty in the house, you can do one of two things. The most common
advice is to correct with a firm, "no" and immediately take the puppy to the proper toilet area. This may not effectively
discourage the puppy from going indoors. What often happens instead is that puppies learn to make sure you aren't watching
when they go indoors, so they go behind the couch, in a closet, etc.
Newer understanding of dog behavior says that instead
of punishing on the spot, you do everything you can to prevent indoor accidents. If they happen, ignore them. You don't want
to give the dog any attention for this mistake. Simply put the puppy in its kennel or outside when he/she is finished; say
nothing and clean up the mess thoroughly using an enzymatic cleaner. Then redouble your efforts to get the puppy out before
there is an accident.
Don't ever hit a puppy for accidents. You'll frighten or confuse the puppy
if you do so. Never punish a puppy after the fact. Remember, a puppy thinks it is being punished for whatever
it is doing at the time of your correction.
same thinking applies to rubbing a puppy's nose in his or her mistakes -- don't do it. The pup is not capable of making
the reasoning leap that this is an area previously soiled and that is why you are punishing. Dogs are oriented to the
What Happens During
Training When Your Puppy Does Not Potty?
you take your puppy outside and nothing happens, return the puppy to the kennel for 5-15 minutes. Then take the puppy
outside again for a few minutes. Repeat this cycle until the puppy goes potty. As soon as that happens, the puppy
can stay outside the kennel. This kind of routine helps the puppy focus on going when you want the puppy to go.
The Leash, Outside and Puppy Potty Training
As your puppy starts to get the routine, begin training to also go potty
while on the leash, in areas other than your yard, and on varied surfaces. When you travel, your puppy will have the
confidence and experience to go wherever you need the puppy to go.
You and your dog will make lots of mistakes during this time. Your puppy will do fine as long as you
strive to be as consistent as possible. Your occasional training errors and frustrations will not permanently scar your
dog. Dogs are quite resilient. And so are you!
training is not putting your dog/puppy in a "cage" or "jail" and you are not being cruel if you follow
these tips. Dogs feel secure in small, enclosed spaces, like a den. Dog crates make excellent dens. A crate
offers your dog security, a den with a roof, and a place to call his very own where he can go to get away from it all. It
is also a safe place for him to stay when you're away or when you cannot watch him.
There are basically just a few steps in crate training and they are as follows:
Choose a crate the same size as your puppy/dog. He should only have enough room to stand up,
turn around and lie down. His crate is for sleeping or for a safe place to be when you cannot be with him.
Use a single-word command for your dog to enter his crate and throw in a treat or piece of kibble.
When he enters, praise him and close the crate door. Gradually increase the time he spends in the crate before
you let him out. Remember, your dog still needs time to play and eliminate. Maintain a regular schedule of trips
outdoors, so as not to confine him too long.
3. As a general guide, your puppy can stay
in his crate comfortably for several hours, depending on his age. Take his age in months, add 1, and that's how many
hours he should be able to stay in his crate (up to about 8 hours). For example, a 2-month old puppy should be comfortable
in his crate for about 3 hours.
4. Providing your dog or puppy with a crate
that is way too large may allow him to relieve himself in one end and sleep in the other. Placing food or water in his
crate will allow him to fill up his bladder and bowel and he will have no choice, but to relieve himself in his crate. Make
sure you take your dog or puppy outdoors to eliminate on a regular schedule and especially prior to being left for prolonged
periods of time. Always take your dog outside on a leash to the same area in your backyard to eliminate so you can praise
him when his job is finished. This will take the guesswork out of his visits to the backyard.
Feeding Your Puppy
Some dog owners forget that dogs require a variety of foods
to ensure the consumption of nutritionally balanced meals. A quality dog food has a proper balance of all the nutrients a
dog requires together with a high level of palatability.
Adding human food to a nutritionally balanced commercial dog food may upset the nutrient balance of your dog’s
diet. Ideally, table scraps should not be fed. You may also be creating behavior problems. Your dog may
begin to steal food from the table or the food preparation area. Try feeding your dog at regularly scheduled times,
such as when the family is having breakfast or dinner. Feed only enough to maintain your dog in good body condition. Ignore
its coaxing for additional food, or give hugs instead.
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