Train your puppy well. ^-^
  • scoobydooscoobydoo June 2006
    [b854a36c523]Housetraining Your Puppy[/b854a36c523]

    Whether housebreaking a new puppy or resolving an existing problem in an older dog, the routine is the same

    1. Prevent your dog from making mistakes (i.e. eliminating in inappropriate places)
    2. Show your dog the appropriate place at the appropriate time
    3. Reward your dog for using the appropriate toilet area, and
    4. Teach your dog the relevance of appropriate toilet etiquette.

    [b854a36c523]Preventing mistakes[/b854a36c523]
    The first time your dog soils your house it creates a precedent. Subsequent mistakes quickly reinforce the existing bad habit, making it even harder to break. The prime directive of housetraining therefore is to prevent your pup from making mistakes. This is particularly important during the first few days your puppy is at home. Your pup’s elimination sites will remain favourite locations for a long time to come.

    Until a dog is housetrained is must be supervised at all times. As a temporary solution, at times when you cannot keep an eye on your pup, keep it confined to a single room, such as the kitchen or bathroom with non-porous floors that can be covered in newspaper, or an outdoor run. The pup soon develops a preference for eliminating on papers in the confinement area.

    Of course, eventually it will be necessary to break the dog of this habit and train it to eliminate outside exclusively. However, for the meantime, if ever the pup has the run of the house but is not supervised, at least the pup is likely to seek out its familiar confinement area when it needs to eliminate, thus causing the least possible damage and inconvenience indoors.

    [b854a36c523]Teaching appropriate behaviour[/b854a36c523]
    Housetraining offers one of the best possible illustrations of the effects of good and bad training techniques. By ignoring the dog’s appropriate responses and punishing it for every mistake, housetraining can take forever. There are literally hundreds of different places a puppy can choose to eliminate – all of them hopelessly inappropriate – and the owner must punish them for each and every wrong choice. This is unfair and inhumane. On the other hand, there is only ‘one right spot’. So, don’t keep it a secret – show it to your dog right away!

    [b854a36c523]Rewarding your dog[/b854a36c523]
    Over 95% of housetraining comprises rewarding the dog for eliminating in the right place. If you regularly take your dog to its doggy toilet area and praise it upon completion, the problem will be resolved in short order.

    But how do you know in advance when your dog wants to eliminate so you may escort it to the appropriate area? Puppies generally need to go to the toilet soon after waking, after meals or after play. These are the times the puppy should be taken out to eliminate, as well as whenever it starts to circle or sniff.

    If the puppy cannot be supervised at all times then confining the dog to a crate or ‘play pen’ for short periods can be useful. Short-term close confinement temporarily inhibits the pup from eliminating during the short confinement period, such that it is highly likely the pup will need to eliminate immediately upon release. This makes it easier to predict the time of elimination, whereupon the pup may be taken directly to its toilet area and be praised for producing.

    [b854a36c523]Crate training[/b854a36c523]
    Firstly, accustom your puppy to its crate. Leave the crate door open so the pup may come and go as it pleases. Periodically, put treats inside the crate so your pup learns the crate is a great place to visit. Praise your dog whenever it visits the crate, and ignore it when it leaves. Then, try closing the door for short periods. Praise your dog, and offer the occasional treat whenever it spends time in its newfound doggy den. Open the door and continue praising your dog, but stop praising and ignore your dog the instant it leaves. The crate will soon become your dog’s preferred resting place, whereupon it may be used for confinement.

    When you are away from home, leave your dog in its long-term confinement area and when at home, keep the dog in the crate. Dog crates are easily portable, and so your pup may be confined in the same room as you. Thus, your puppy will not feel excluded or isolated, and you may conveniently keep an eye on the pup to praise it for settling down peacefully or for chewing its chew toys. Every hour, say “Outside”, open the crate door and run your dog to the intended toilet area and then stand still still and wait for three minutes.

    It is likely your dog will eliminate, since it has not done so in the past hour, and the speedy passage to the doggy toilet has jiggled the dog’s full bladder and rectum. If your dog pees or poops, praise it profusely. Since it is delightfully empty, your puppy may now be allowed the full run of the house (under supervision of course) for half an hour or so, before being put back in its crate once more. If your dog does not eliminate within the allotted time span, no big deal – simply straight back in the crate for another hour and so forth.

    Instead of crate training, some owners find it easier to keep the puppy on a leash indoors and tie the leash to their belt for constant supervision.


    [b854a36c523]Really reward your dog![/b854a36c523]
    Once your dog has been taught the house rules, it needs to learn their relevance. Each time your dog eliminates in the appropriate spot, offering a special training treat is just the ticket. By employing a reward gradient, your dog may even be trained to eliminate in a specific location, i.e. a doggy toilet.

    The level of the reward varies according to how close your dog eliminates to ground zero praise for each timeyour pup eliminates outside; purposeful praise plus a piece of kibble for each time it eliminates within 20 feet of the chosen target; an enthusiastic “Good dog”, meaningful pat and two pieces of kibble for doing it within 10 feet of the target area ; a delighted “Gooood dog!” , several pets and pats and a training treat for eliminating within 5 feet; and for scoring a bulls-eye – five treats, a resounding “WHAT a good doggie!”, and multiple hugs and squeezes!

    Regardless of whether your dog has been trained to eliminate in a specific spot in the backyard or at curbside, a walk still remains one of the best rewards for a defecating dog.
    Dealing with mistakes
    As far as possible, prevent any mistakes from happening. However, if your pup is ever caught in the act, urgently instruct it “Outside!”. The single word “outside” is an instructive reprimand, which immediately conveys two vital bits of information the tone and volume inform your dog it is about to make a big booboo and the meaning of the word instructs your dog how to make amend. Of course, before using any word as an instructive reprimand, first make certain your dog knows what it means.

    Punishing your dog for making a mistake is never correct. Yelling, smacking or rubbing the pup’s nose in its mess is completely inappropriate and will only serve to make the dog hand shy and defensive towards its owner, and encourage your dog to eliminate in hiding.

    If you do not catch the pup in the act do not reprimand it al all. Simply clean up the mess and continue with the program.