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Puppy House Training

House training your puppy can be done many ways, e.g. crate training or paper training. However, all training techniques require certain common steps.

Most importantly, your dog should be taken out every 1-2 hours at first, as well as after he/she eats, wakes up from a nap, finishes playing, and before settling down for a nap and at bedtime.  At first she should be taken to the same place by the same route every time.  Once she is outside, patience is important.  Some puppies don’t go in 1-2 minutes.  When learning new habits they may require several minutes.  As soon as she starts to void, the owner should quietly say a word they wish to associate with the act of elimination.  When the puppy is older this word can be used to cue her to go to the bathroom.  As soon as the puppy is finished, she should be praised and given a treat.  Whoever takes her outside needs to bring the treat with them and present immediately after elimination. Always go outside with your puppy during training.  If you wait until you get inside to give her a treat, you will be rewarding her for coming inside, not for eliminating outside.

At this point puppies are learning preferences.  Therefore, the location should be carefully selected according to long-term plans of what the owner wants the dog to seek out for elimination.  Puppies trained on lawns will likely seek out lawns when they are older; puppies trained on pavement will seek out pavement.

When the puppy is inside, he should be constantly supervised.  If he engages in behaviors that indicate he is about to eliminate, such as circling, squatting, or intensely sniffing at an area, his behavior should be disrupted.  Often just clapping your hands or calling the puppy towards the door to the outside will do.  If not  firmly say “NO” and pick him up and take him outside.

What Not To Do

Never use harsh punishments, such as spanking, yelling loudly, or rubbing its face in the excrement.  Such punishments are likely to cause behavior problems such as submissive urination, cowering and possibly aggression.

The puppy should never be punished after the fact - even 2 seconds later.  If the puppy is carried back to its excrement and punished there, it does not learn not to eliminate in the house, it learns that people are scary.  People often think that the puppy “knows its been bad” because it cowers.  However the puppy has simply learned to read human body language and tone of voice and is cowering because of the anticipation of punishment, not because it associates defecating on the carpet 15 minutes ago.

 

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