Before beginning the training, remember that some puppies pick up very quickly, whereas others tend to lag behind a bit. If your puppy falls under the second category, do not lose heart; have a little patience. Apart from patience, you will have to have two other qualities to be a successful house trainer – you should be vigilant and be consistent with your training actions.
You will be glad to know that puppies instinctually want to keep their den (say living area) clean and will try to avoid peeing and defecating where they sleep. The idea of buying a crate for your puppy is to make the den its own little area where it can sleep and rest well. Do not ever use the crate as a punishment area for the puppy when it commits a mistake. In due course, your puppy should be able to love its crate as its sweet little corner. Your crate should be placed in an area that is easily accessible to outdoors. The crate may contain the puppy’s food trays and toys – in short make it its living room.
Remember one thing when you are buying the crate. The crate should be large enough so that it can accommodate your puppy when it grows into a full-grown dog. It should be wise to have a divider within the crate. The divider will ensure that the puppy doesn’t pee on one part of the den and sleep on another part. As your puppy grows, you can move the divider to provide greater room for it. Treat the puppy for staying in the crate and do not treat it if it loiters unnecessarily. This will save you from buying a larger crate later on. Buying an appropriate crate is the first step in puppy housetraining.
While thinking how to house train a puppy, you should fix a peeing spot for the puppy yourself. I reiterate that you should fix your puppy’s peeing spot and not the puppy. I suggest your puppy’s peeing spot should be in the backyard and it should be easily accessible. I have seen some dog owners to create an area (say, 4’ by 4’) at the backyard and fill it with gravel or wood chips. They consistently take their dogs to that area until the dog learns that when it has to pee, it has to pee in that demarcated area only. While training a puppy, remember that the peeing spot should be within your house premises. It should not upset your neighbor and the puppy should not get infected from other dog’s excreta. It is best if you can teach your puppy to use a door bell (used specifically for your puppy’s nature calls). That way, you can reduce your time and attention in guessing when your pet needs to go out.
The Peeing Scent
Do you know that dogs love to pee where either they or others have peed before and with their acute sense of smell, they can find such spots easily? You can use this characteristic of puppies to your advantage. You may purchase a towel and wipe the pee of your dog and drop it at the peeing spot you have fixed. There is a fair chance that the dog will sniff the cloth and get the scent. Lead the dog with the scent to the peeing spot. Practice this act repeatedly until your dog learns to pee in the pre-decided peeing spot.
When you housetrain a puppy, it is important that you train it under a fixed routine. At the outset, you need to remember that puppies need to pee very frequently. The retention power of puppies is very low, especially before they reach 4 to 5 months of age. A puppy needs to pee at least 10-12 times a day and you need to take it out consistently at regular intervals of 2 hours. This means that you need to wake up in the night at regular intervals also. There is no alternative to it.
You also need to cultivate your skills to watch your puppy’s body language prior to peeing. Some puppies go round in circles, some sniff and some try to stand on its rear legs. Each puppy has a unique way to indicate that it wants to pee. These signs should alert you at the beginning that you need to take it outside.
You also need to chalk out a schedule for your puppy’s other activities – feeding it, playing with it, and let it sleep. Try to stick to the routine you have set and your puppy will get adjusted to it.
The Potty Command
While housetraining your puppy, teach it to poop at the instance of your command.
You may use a phrase such as, “go poop.” Try to put this command into the puppy’s head and every time the dog relieves itself at the utterance of the command, cuddle it and give it some sort of reward. Remember to use the same phrase again and again. In due course your puppy will only defecate at your command and at your chosen spot.
In spite of all the vigilance, you may make mistakes and your puppy might make a mess. Do not punish the puppy because it was you who failed to notice early signs. A punished puppy learns to hide from you next time it wants to go out. The thumb rule is – praise the puppy immensely if it does the right thing as intended at the right place; reprimand yourself if you overlook your puppy’s early signs and it messes up your carpet.
You also need to clean the spot thoroughly if your puppy messes up. Choose a cleaning product that not only cleans spotlessly, but also leaves no odor. Remember that the odor is more harmful than the stain. Your puppy will defecate again at that particular spot if it smells the odor.
The Need for Patience
While rearing your puppy, you need to have a lot of patience. Patience should be your mantra while you bring it up. Do not scold the puppy if it pees too often. It needs time before the puppy’s bladder gets bigger and it gets more matured mentally. The puppy’s physical and mental development and its training will go hand-in-hand. Soon your rustic puppy will transform into your little darling that knows house etiquettes.