At Skout’s Honor, we love to provide educational tips and tools for our customers, to help them deal with their everyday pet stain and odor issues. Adopting a new puppy (or any rescue animal for that matter) can be one of the most trying times for pet owners and is one of the most common reasons why they seek expert advice.
We’re excited to offer these specific tips for Housetraining Your Puppy from our Guest Blogger Renee Jones, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer & Canine Specialist!
The amount of time it takes to housetrain your puppy is primarily dependent on you. If you do it right, it shouldn’t take long at all, perhaps just a few weeks. Dogs are unique – some “get it” right away and others don’t get it quite so fast.
The most important thing to remember when housetraining your puppy is that unless you actually catch him in the act of having an accident in the house, you should NOT punish him or yell at him. Above all, do NOT take him to the spot and put his nose in it or show it to him. First of all, if he had an accident it is your fault, not his. You should have been watching him more closely. Secondly, he will have no idea why you are mad at him. He’s gone potty hundreds of times before and been praised for it. He does not fully understand the concept of “place” yet, so punishing him for something that is natural (going potty) only confuses him.
If you do catch him in the act, quickly (but calmly) pick him up and without raising your voice, say NO! and take him outside. When he finishes, praise him.
Most puppies will go into a “pre-potty” routine. Some of the common signs that he is getting ready to go potty are sniffing the floor and circling an area. Watch for these signs and go outside immediately!
If you are crate or cage-training your puppy, there are a few important things to remember:
- Make sure your crate/cage is properly sized for your puppy.
- Do not put food or water in the cage.
- Take your puppy outside immediately after you open the cage.
- Whenever your puppy is not being watched by a responsible family member, he should be in the cage. You might also want to have a leash on your puppy and loop it through your belt or keep it on your wrist so he can’t wander off to go potty when you aren’t watching him.
- Like most training, housetraining is about consistency & positive reinforcement. Use specific commands to tell your puppy what you want him to do and use the same command all the time. For example, say “Outside” when it’s time to go out to potty. Once you’re there, pick another word or short phrase like “Hurry Up” or “Find a spot” to have him do his business.
- If you keep your puppy leashed when he is outside you will make certain he is actually going potty when he is outside. If we just let the puppy out in the yard unattended, he may easily get distracted and forget to go. Then when he comes back inside and has an accident we can’t understand it! He was just outside!!
- As soon as your puppy goes to the bathroom, praise him!! Let him know that was exactly what you wanted him to do. Then take him back inside right away so that he only associates the word “outside” with going potty. A few minutes later you can take him out to play, if you wish.
If your puppy does have an accident in the house it is extremely important that you thoroughly clean the area with a product specifically made to clean pet stains and odors. If you don’t use a product for pet accidents, even if you can’t smell an odor your puppy can and he will return to that spot again and again. To him it will smell like it is “ok” to eliminate in that place.
Remember, until your puppy is accident-free, he is not housetrained. Even though you thought you were about done with this stage, you must go back to the same level of monitoring and training you were doing at the beginning of the training. Be patient! You’ll get there. The better job you do, the better your puppy will do!
More About Renee:
Renee Jones, CPDT-KSA is a certified professional dog trainer, having received instruction from canine behaviorist Dr. Pamela Reid, plus nationally acclaimed trainers: Patricia McConnell, Pia Silvani, Jean Donaldson and Victoria Stillwell, to name a few. She is a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) and the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT). She serves as the Pet Marketing and Canine Specialist for JeffersPet and JeffersPet.com.