When you bring a new dog into your house whether it is a puppy or an older dog you should start off with the basics to house-training until you know what your dog is capable of it. A puppy biologically can not hold his bladder for more than a couple hours. They should be taken out often especially following a nap, eating, drinking or playing. An older dog should be treated the same until you know if they have been properly house trained.
Any time a dog has an opportunity to eliminate in the house he is getting reinforced for it so we need to teach him that going outside is better and manage the situations until he is reliable. Here are 5 things you can do to help successfully train your dog to eliminate outside.
Supervise. Keep your puppy under close supervision during the early stages of housetraining. That means using a tether or leash to keep your puppy near you or a use a crate if you are unable to actively supervise. Keep track of how long it has been since they last went outside to potty.
Pick a potty area that you want your dog to go to and take them there each time you take them out. That way they will know what is expected of them when you take them to that area.
Go outside with your dog so that you know they have completely eliminated. Don’t watch from a window, but put them on leash and go to their potty area and give them 5-10 minutes to eliminate. Refrain from walking around the yard as this often leads to distraction and forgetting why they are out there.
Treat them within 5 seconds after they have eliminated. Not only do they feel relief from emptying their bladder but now they get a tasty treat as well. This makes going outside doubly rewarding.
Put it on cue. As your dog is actively going to the bathroom you can say “Go Potty” or “Get Busy” or whatever phrase you like. This will be useful when you need your dog to eliminate quickly so you can load them into the car, leaving for work or if you are traveling with them.
Follow these simple steps and you will be on the way to a house trained dog in no time. It takes diligence on the family’s part to prevent any accidents in the house. If your dog does have an accident here are some things you should try:
1. Interrupt. If you catch your dog in the act of eliminating make a noise to interrupt the behavior. Clapping your hands or a gasp will often do the trick. Scoop them up or lead them out to their potty area and allow them to finish going to the bathroom and follow the above tips.
2. Use an enzymatic cleaner to clean up after the accident. Avoid ammonia based products as this eliminates the odor for humans but not for our pets.
3. Don’t punish your dog if you come upon the accident after the fact. Punishing your dog during or after act of eliminating only teaches them that you are dangerous and can make getting them to go to the bathroom in front of you a problem.
4. Unless you plan to use them for life, don’t use puppy pee pads. The use of these will often slow your house training progress by confusing your dog. As far as they are concerned going to the bathroom inside or out is acceptable. If you only want your dog to go outside toss the pee pads.
5. Make note of why the accident happened, (not paying attention, went too long between potty breaks, possible medical condition, like a urinary tract infection, etc.) and commit to doing better next time.
If you are following all of these guidelines but it still seems your puppy isn't catching on or going every 20 minutes, it might be worth consulting your Veterinarian and ruling out a urinary tract infection.