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House Training

Puppies learn surface (what) and location (where) preferences for elimination early in life. At About 7 ½ to 8 ½ weeks of age puppies begin to learn about different places to eliminate—essentially where and what to go on. By actively providing your pup with the correct place to eliminate at this age, he will learn where to eliminate properly. You have to show him where and give him a reason to want to go there.

How To House Train Your Puppy

  1. Take pups out the same way to the same location where you want them to eliminate. Being regular and consistent are the most important factors in how quickly he learns. Good supervision is essential in the first couple of weeks.
  2. Use a key phrase to signal that he should go such as “go pee” or “hurry up”.
  3. Mildly praise any sniffing or pre-elimination behaviors.
    Praise them heartily after they eliminate (not during).

Hints To Avoid Problems And Speed Up Learning

1. Give a young puppy frequent opportunities to eliminate (4-6 times daily). As the pup gets older, he will need to go less frequently. Pay close attention to important times:

  • shortly after meals
  • right after getting up
  • after sleeping or napping
  • after meeting new people
  • after a car ride
  • at the beginning of play.

2. Feed your pup no more than three meals per day. Free choice feeding can increase the need to defecate.
3. Make sure the pup is healthy and has no worms.
4. Watch your pup closely while inside the house.
5.  If the pup is home alone each day for long periods, restrict it to a larger area such as a small room or exercise pen.

What if you catch him in the act of eliminating in the house?

This will inevitably happen when he is learning where to go. No pup has been house trained without a few mistakes in the process! If this does happen, clap your hands and say “No”. Immediately take him outside to finish. Use products that neutralize odor (Natures Miracle) when cleaning up around the house. Avoid ammonia containing products.

Remember, be patient, it will take some time but eventually he will learn.

Problems With Paper Training

Paper training has been successful in training many puppies. It’s main problems lie in the fact that you are teaching the puppy to eliminate on paper in the house. He can retain this behavior in the future. He doesn’t learn to go outside. It is usually successful because you eventually teach the puppy to go outside. Puppies are usually slower to learn to go outside using this technique.

Crate Training

Using a crate to house train a puppy has been around for many years but has recently become well recognized. The principle involves introducing a puppy to a crate as his den (or bedroom). Two important attributes of the den are helpful to the pup and owner. First, dogs feel comfortable and safe in their den. Second, dogs have a natural desire to keep the area in which they eat and sleep (den) clean. With a small amount of training, this crate becomes a place the puppy likes to return to and feels safe. He will not defecate in his “den” unless he has no choice.

Other benefits include:

  • Prevention/control of destructive habits while you are gone because he is in the crate.
  • Easy traveling.Since it is portable, it works great for trips. Limited stress or anxiety when staying someplace new for the night.
  • Prevention of your pup eliminating in the house while you are gone (for short periods).
  • Facilitation of house training.
  • Common Mistakes With Crate Training
  • Crate training should not be overused. It cannot be used to “store” the puppy for long periods while you are gone.
  • If you are gone for extended periods of time, it is not fair to place the pup in the crate. You must provide the pup with a larger damage proof area.
  • A pup should not be isolated for extended periods of time unless absolutely necessary. Isolation can have a negative effect on a pups psychological development. Remember, dogs are social animals just like people.
  • If the crate is too large, it goes from being a “den” to being the house. He would not mind eliminating in one side of his house and sleeping in the opposite side.

Remember, the crate should be used as a positive retreat, never as punishment. See our separate handout on crate training your puppy.