How do I housebreak my pup?
The key to housebreaking is patience & consistency. You would never leave a human baby alone in a room, and a puppy should be no different. The easiest way to potty train is crate training. People, not dogs, have a problem with crate training. We don’t like putting our dogs in cages, but to a dog, it is their own room. In the wild, dogs dig a den to live in. They enjoy their own space, and a place to relax. Make the cage pleasant; put a blanket, toys and maybe a MilkBone also. Since puppies don’t like living in a stinky room, they try not to have “accidents” there.
Puppies will need to potty when ever they wake up, approximately 20 minutes after they eat and approximately 20 minutes after the drink. When the pup first wakes up, after eating or drinking ~ take the pup outside to the designated potty area and tell it to “go potty” or another command of your choice – then stand still. The puppy will smell everything around, but soon it will remember it has to potty. When the puppy relieves itself ~ praise the puppy “Good puppy”, “Good potty” or the like. The sooner the pup understands what you want – the sooner it will be potty trained. For the at least the first month, the pup should either be in the crate or you should be watching the pup at all times. If the pup starts to sniff around, chances are, it needs to potty.
Most puppies will have an accident in the house at one time or another. Catching them in the act is the only way to discipline them. If your pup begins to go, clap your hands loudly and say “NO” in a serious, gruff tone of voice. Use a shaker can if necessary. Pick the puppy up & go to the potty area. Give the command “go potty” and once the puppy has gone, praise it. Do NOT rub their face in their accident, as it will teach them to fear you AND may teach them to eat fecal matter.
How you clean up a puppy accident has an effect on housebreaking. Use Nature’s Miracle or Simple Solution and follow the directions on the bottle. Cleaning the spot with ordinary carpet cleaner will only mask the smell for you, the pup’s keen sense of smell will draw it back to that spot.
One idea for teaching your puppy how to tell you that it needs to go out is to hang a few bells from the door leading to the potty area. Every time you take the puppy out the door, ring the bells vigorously and say “go potty” several times. Take the dog out to go potty and praise it. Most puppies will ring the bells when they need to go out within a few weeks.
While it may sound rather strict, if you stick to keeping the pup in its cage when he is inside and take him out frequently to potty, it will learn to hold it until you take him outside. After a successful week, you may wish to start to increase the boundaries – but, if the pup has an accident, you must start over again – and KNOW that it was because YOU were not attentive enough!