If there’s one thing that virtually every dog owner expects his dog to learn, it’s house training. One of the chief reasons why dogs are turned in to the pound is because they soil in the house and their owners say the dogs haven’t learned to be house trained.
It takes time to house train a dog. In some cases, owners give up on their dogs too soon. Expect your dog to have some accidents during the training stage. This is normal.
It often takes longer to train small breed dogs than larger dogs. Small dogs have tiny bladders and they have to relieve themselves more often. When they have to go, they really have to go. They can’t wait.
It can be a challenge to teach a small dog to let you know in time for you to get him outside, if you are walking your dog. Or, he may be slow to learn to use puppy training pads for various reasons. However, even small breed dogs can be house trained. It just takes some time.
Male dogs can also take longer to house train than females, so, be extra patient if you have a male dog. Neutering won’t help in this case. It’s just a question of how fast male dogs learn this particular lesson. Female puppies are usually a little ahead of their male counterparts from a developmental standpoint. They learn faster at the age when house training is usually done.
In many cases, dogs have house training problems because their training isn’t incomplete. Owners may have some early success with teaching their dogs to let them know when they need to go out, for example, but the dogs aren’t reliable with their house training. If it’s raining, for instance, the dog may refuse to go out and, instead, looks for a place to relieve himself indoors.
To be successful with house training, your dog has to be reliable. He shouldn’t have accidents in the house unless he’s sick. In that case, of course, you need to make allowances for your dog. He can’t help it.
Indoors or Outdoors?
You can train your dog to potty indoors or outdoors, though most people with medium and larger dogs prefer to train them to go outdoors to relieve themselves. The odor, the amount of excrement involved, and the fact that dogs of this size also need regular exercise all suggest that pottying outdoors is usually a better choice.
If you have a small dog, you can teach him to go outside or to use a litter box or other potty system in the house. There are several popular dog potties. Some of them use real sod, or artificial turf which can be hosed off or replaced on a regular basis. They have collecting pools underneath the sod or turf for the urine which can be easily disposed of.
You can also use puppy training pads instead of plain newspapers to teach your small dog where to potty in the house. These pads are treated with a chemical which attracts your dog so he will be encouraged to urinate on them. It’s also possible to use these training pads outdoors if you would like to show your dog where to urinate.
House Training Your Puppy
When you first bring your puppy home decide if you plan to train him to potty indoors or outside. You can start the first day by taking him to the appropriate place so he can potty.
When you bring your puppy home keep several things in mind. First, your puppy has spent the first few weeks of his life living with his mother and siblings. His mother has been cleaning up after him while he nursed; and then the breeder cleaned up after him. He has no idea about house training. He doesn’t know that he shouldn’t relieve himself in the house. As far as he knows, it’s okay to just find a spot and pee. He doesn’t know any better.
So, don’t expect your puppy to have any idea that he is doing something wrong. Second, don’t get mad at your puppy. Yelling at him, swatting him, rubbing his nose in anything, or hitting him with a newspaper will all backfire and make it much harder to house train him properly.
If your puppy has an accident clean it up with white vinegar and water to get rid of the odor. If your puppy can smell the odor of the urine he will be more likely to go back to the spot and urinate there again, so clean it thoroughly.
The only time to correct your puppy for having an accident is if you catch him in the act of doing it and he knows that he should not be relieving himself where he’s doing it. Otherwise, your puppy forgets about things as soon as they’re over. If you find a mess in the floor five minutes after your puppy makes it and you punish him, he won’t have any idea why you are upset or punishing him.
All puppies have to potty at similar times so you can put your puppy on a basic schedule. Puppies need to relieve themselves at these times:
- As soon as they wake up in the morning (which is usually very early).
- Right after they eat (puppies should eat 2-3 small meals per day).
- After they play.
- After naps.
- Right after dinner.
- Before bedtime.
You can help your puppy make it through the night without having an accident by feeding him his dinner no later than about 7 pm. This way he will be able to potty before bedtime and sleep through the night. Put up his water by about 10 pm for the same reasons.
Of course, your puppy will also need to go outside whenever he gives you the “look.” The look is the way a puppy or dog glances at you to let you know that he needs something, in this case, that he needs to go outside.
Keep in mind that your puppy is very young and he’s not very good at communicating with you yet, so he may not be very good at giving you the look yet. Instead, he may glance at the door. He may wander around the room and sniff at the floor. He may go looking for a secret place to potty, such as behind a chair. He’s a puppy. He’s still figuring things out. But try to read his body language in order to recognize when your puppy needs to potty.
As soon as you recognize a signal that indicates your puppy needs to relieve himself, take him outside, or take him to his indoor potty area, and let him potty. You will probably have some false alarms, but if you keep taking him outside you will prevent some accidents. You and your puppy will also get better at reading each other’s signals.
You may wish to consider using a crate to help with your puppy’s house training. There are lots of benefits to crate training your dog. Dogs are usually safer if they ride in a crate in the car. If you ever intend to fly with your medium or large dog, then he will need to fly in a crate.
Crates are also useful if you go to dog shows, obedience classes, or other classes with your dog. Lots of dogs simply like to sleep in a crate at home because it provides a cozy place to relax.
For house training purposes, you can have your puppy sleep in a crate at night. This will keep him from being loose in the house at night, when he could have potty accidents. A puppy that is confined in a crate is much less likely to soil his crate. Dogs don’t like to soil the place where they sleep, so sleeping in a crate will help encourage your puppy to “hold it” until morning when you can let him out.
If you have an adult dog who is having house training problems, then using a crate at night is definitely suggested for your dog.
The BIGGEST Mistake People Make With Puppy House Training
House Training Problems
If your dog has been house trained and he is still having problems with the house training, have your dog checked out by your veterinarian in order to make sure there are no underlying health problems causing your dog to have soiling problems. A urinary tract infection, intestinal parasites, incontinence in an older dog can all be causes of soiling in the house.
Separation anxiety can also cause a dog to have problems with soiling in the house. Dogs become so anxious that they can’t control their bladder or they may defecate in the house. Talk to your vet about your dog’s separation anxiety. You may need to talk to an animal behavior consultant to help modify your dog’s behavior.
If your dog is soiling in the house check what you’re feeding your dog. Have you recently changed foods? If you are overfeeding your dog or feeding him a diet that is high in fiber, it could be causing the soiling problems. Or you could be feeding your dog on a schedule that is causing him problems. Perhaps he has to potty at certain times because of the food or schedule you have him on. Try changing some of these things and it could take care of the problem.
If you walk your dog or your dog potties indoors, some nervous dogs won’t relieve themselves with someone watching. Your dog may have to wait until you’re not looking. Which may mean soiling some place inappropriate. Try giving your dog a little more privacy or giving him some treats when he potties in the right place.
It always helps to praise and reward your dog for relieving himself where you would like him to go.
Is there some reason why your dog doesn’t want to go to the place where he’s supposed to potty? Has he had a bad experience there? Check it out. If something is keeping your dog from using his normal place to potty, of course he’s going to relieve himself in the house, even if he’s not supposed to do so.
Sometimes you need to play detective to find out why your dog is behaving the way he is. Start by assuming that there is a reason for your dog’s behavior. He isn’t soiling in the house just to be difficult.
5 Puppy House Training Tips Every Puppy Owner NEEDS To Know
Summary of House Training Your Puppy
House training is a big deal. It is one of the most important things that a puppy can learn. Decide if your puppy is going to potty indoors or outdoors. Put your puppy on a good schedule. Use a crate to help with house training if necessary. If your dog is having house training problems, consider possible health issues and other causes.
Be patient. House training takes time and it can take time to identify the cause of a house training issue, but they can nearly always be solved.