Housebreaking a puppy is probably the number one reason people don’t enter into dog ownership. There is no doubt that this is the hardest part of owning a puppy, but if the process is started immediately and taken seriously your puppy will be trained in no time.
First and foremost, buy a kennel. This is as important as the toys the leash and the food dish. Kennel training is the easiest and most effective way to housebreak your puppy. Not to mention it will save you hundreds in cleaning bills and damage to your personal property. Forget all you that you have heard that kenneling a puppy is cruel.
By providing a kennel for your puppy you are actually catering to his natural instinct as a den animal. Depending on your puppy’s breed, choose a kennel that can accommodate the puppy as a full-grown dog. You will be surprised how much your mature dog will utilize their kennel as a place of refuge or just as a place to hang out years down the road. Whatever you do don’t use the kennel as a place to punish your pup. Make the kennel a fun and safe place your puppy will want to be.
Start the process immediately
After you pick up your cute fuzz ball at the breeder make the first stop the backyard or the outside area you plan to take your pup to do his business every day. Get him acquainted with a spot. Dogs are creatures of habit that crave a schedule and familiarity.
Put together a schedule the entire household will follow on how to take care for your puppy. When everyone is on the same page it will be easy to housebreak your puppy. Puppies on average eat three times a day and sleep about 18 hours a day.
After every feeding take him out to his spot and go with him. Yes, even when it’s below freezing and snowing. Take this into consideration when you’re deciding what time of year to bring your puppy home. You need to make sure he takes his outside trips seriously. Eventually you will be able to open the door and let him out, but not at first.
Newspaper training is a waste of time when housebreaking a puppy. You’re just making more work for yourself. You will end up training your puppy twice, and time is of the essence in the house breaking process. You can never take your puppy out too much. They must go out first thing in the morning and right before you go to bed. If you are accustomed to staying out till 3 am and sleeping till 10, then maybe you aren’t ready to have a puppy.
Now back to the kennel. As I mentioned before, puppies sleep a lot! So after a meal, a trip outside to do his business and some playtime, put him in his kennel. Repeat this and it will become habit. Start out leaving your puppy in the crate for short periods of time when you are home. Gradually extend the stay and take him outside after each time.
Dogs in general will not mess where they sleep. If the housebreaking process is done correctly there will be minimal accidents. Don’t leave a puppy to run free when you are not home. You are just asking for a mess.
Right before you go to bed throw on your slippers and head out one last time with your puppy. When you come back in, give your puppy a treat and tuck him into his kennel for the night. All night! Don’t cave to the sad cries of a home sick puppy that would rather snuggle under your down comforter. Before you invite your puppy into your bed remember, cute 10lb puppies grew into 80lb adults!
To ease the loneliness you can put a radio near the kennel or a leave on a night light. After a night or two, when your puppy realizes the crying gets him nowhere, he will stop. It’s so important to remain consistent in this house breaking process or it just won’t work. There is no such thing as a partially house trained dog. They either get it or they don’t.
Praise, Praise, Praise
Last but not the least dogs crave praise. After every outside trip make a big deal. Scratch under his chin and give him a treat. Don’t scold your puppy for accidents unless you catch them in the act. Puppy’s memory capacity is small.
He will have no idea why he is being punished after the fact. If you do catch him in the act, grab him by the scruff of his neck, as his mother would do in the den, and give him a firm NO! Then immediately clean the area with an odor eliminating cleaner.
So that’s it in a nut shell. Puppy training sounds a lot harder than it is. With a little patience and a kennel, you are on the path to puppy training success.