Let’s face it, housebreaking isn’t just about taking the dog for a walk.
Housebreaking is about limiting space and commiting to crating, sticking to a toilet schedule, and creating a daily feeding schedule. There’s a lot to get in place to thoroughly “housebreak” your pet but it does pay off if you’re consistent.
Here’s a list of the top ten things to remember when you’re housebreaking your puppy:
- Limit the dog’s space. Crating is a great way of speeding up the process of housebreaking a puppy. Dogs are naturally inclined to keep their “den” clean, so they’re not likely to have accidents in their crate. When it’s time, you can take them out to their designated toilet area.
- Take your puppy out after each meal, nap, or if puppy has been playing. Teach the puppy a phrase such as “hurry up” or “do your business.”
- Each time you take your puppy out, you should quietly repeat the phrase. When your puppy eliminates (in the designated area), make sure you praise her good behavior (“good hurry up”).
- When introducing your puppy to new rooms in the house, make sure you supervise her. Look for signs like excessive sniffing or circling, and take her out immediately, if you notice this type of behavior.
- Never clean up accidents in front of your puppy. The puppy thinks it’s great fun to watch you clean up, while chasing paper towels around. This sends the wrong message! Crate the puppy while you clean up after him.
- Clean all accidents with an odor neutralizer such as Simple Solution. If you catch your puppy having an accident, don’t panic, gather her up and bring her out to toilet area.
- Always accompany your puppy out to make sure he is doing his business. If you bring your puppy out, and he does not do his business, bring him back in and crate him, or watch carefully. Try again in fifteen minutes and repeat if necessary.
- Each time you take your puppy out, talk to him, and use a phrases such as “do you need to go out?”.
- Never scream at your puppy for making mistakes. She is learning. Do not rub her nose in it, that’s just plain mean.
- If your not using a crate, please reconsider.
While you’re working so hard on your puppies toilet schedule, you’ll need to keep track of when and how much he or she eats.
Here’s a list of feeding tips:
- Make sure your puppy has access to water whenever she is out of the crate. Puppies at the age of up to five to six months should eat three times every day. After the sixth month, you can cut back to twice per day.
- Offer food for 20 minutes, then pick it up even if he hasn’t finished it. This encourages him to eat during set times, which helps you with his toilet schedule.
- Give her dry puppy food with a little warm water. Do not add anything extra unless you’re dealing with a special situation (the puppy who refuses to eat for days, for example).
- Using high quality dog foods means you’ll feed her less per meal, and without the need to for supplements; it also means less stool pickup. If you switch brands, do so gradually, so as not to upset your puppy’s stomach.
- Excessive stools per day (5 or more) or loose stool can indicate worms or over-feeding. If this happens, bring a stool sample to your vet to have it checked. If there are no worms, cut back on the amount of daily feeding.
- If you have other pets, make sure their food is not available to your puppy. And cat owners – be sure puppy can’t snack on the litter box.
- Adding ice cubes in the water bowl helps with over-drinkers and bowl-diggers.
- If your pup urinates constantly and cleans herself excessively, bring a urine sample to your vet. Many female puppies get urinary-tract infections which requires medication.