Housebreaking a puppy is perhaps one of the greatest challenges of owning a dog. Housebreaking can be trying for both the puppy and the owner, but by following a few simple tips the process can be a lot easier and much shorter lived.
Popular Methods to Choose From
When attempting to housebreak a puppy, choose one method and stick with it.
One of the more popular training methods makes use of a crate (also called a kennel). These boxes or cages can be purchased in many sizes and become a safe haven for the dog when you cannot keep your eye on it. A dog’s instinct will generally keep it from going inside of the crate; when you take the puppy out and immediately put it in the area where you want it to go "potty," you’ll slowly teach it that the indoor area of your home is an extension of the crate and they should never go indoors. This will take a couple weeks, but most dogs pick up on it quickly because it builds on their natural instincts.
You may also want to paper train. Using old newspapers as approved "potty" surfaces will teach the dog to go in a specific space. You might put the papers right inside the back door. and then as time goes on you’ll slowly make the paper smaller and smaller until you move it outside only, and then do away with the paper altogether. When the puppy goes on the paper, it should be praised, as this will help it learn where to go.
Consistency is Key
Whatever method you choose, you need to stick with it, and keep a strict schedule. If you try different methods you’ll confuse the puppy and it won’t know where and when to go. Puppies thrive on consistency, so as inconvenient as it may be at times, stay consistent with your housebreaking efforts. Also, if the puppy begins communicating when it needs to go, respond promptly and consistently to those signals.
When housebreaking, you have to remember that to your puppy everything is exciting and new and even a bit overwhelming. The reason you need to remember this is that your puppy is going to make mistakes, even if you do everything exactly right. If you catch your puppy in the act of going potty where it shouldn’t, you should scold it and put it in the area where it should go. If you don’t catch them, however, scolding them will only confuse them.
While you should expect setbacks, you also need to celebrate small victories. Every time your puppy goes where it should, praise it. Consistently addressing setback and praising accomplishment also encourages housebreaking behaviors and discourages mistakes.