House Training - Puppies
House training a puppy is no easy task - it requires months of patience and consistency. However, it is the most important behaviour that you will teach your pet and will allow you the freedom to leave them unsupervised without fear of them relieving themselves on carpets and furniture.
Indoor house training is just as important as outdoor house training, as inevitably there will come a time when your puppy needs to go and you are not available to take them out. Avoid trying to teach your puppy both indoor and outdoor house training at the same time as this may confuse them. Below are some simple steps to help you house train your puppy.
Important: Understand that like babies, puppies do not have full control of their bladder or bowels so even after house training they may still have an accident. Do not punish your puppy for this.
'Rubbing their nose in it' - This is a common misconception and does NOT work. Not only is it unsanitary and cruel, your puppy will not understand why they are being punished, leading to fear and anxiety towards you.
Crate training is a great way to teach your puppy where to toilet as they will view the crate as their sleeping and eating space, so are less likely to eliminate and more likely to wait until they are out of the crate. Do not leave your puppy in the crate for an extended period of time.
- Choose a wire mesh crate so your puppy still has a 360º view of the room whilst in the crate (this lessens anxiety). Make the crate homely with soft bedding and toys. Leave the door open and place your puppy's food bowl in the crate to encourage them to go in the crate by themselves.
- Find an appropriate place in your home (no high-traffic areas) for your puppy to toilet. Place either absorbent puppy pads, newspaper or a cat litter tray filled with sod in this area.
- Keep a diary of your puppy's feeding times to better guess when they will need to toilet. Puppies typically need to eliminate after waking, play and an hour after meals. If you see signs such as sniffing or squatting, lead your puppy to the pad and say 'potty'. If your puppy successfully uses the pad, give them lots of praise straight away. If not, frequently return to the pad until they do.
- Be consistent with crate training, and make sure to use the same command ('potty') each time you lead your puppy to the pad.
- If your puppy does have an accident in the crate, you must ensure that is washed thoroughly straight away. Otherwise, your puppy will recognise the scent and continue to toilet in the crate. Do not use ammonia-based products when cleaning, as this smells similar to urine which will encourage your puppy to toilet in the same place.
- Once your puppy has learned how to eliminate on pads indoors, you can begin to teach them outside training. To start off, move the puppy pad nearer to the outside door each day.
- Place the puppy pad in an outdoor area. Lead your puppy to the pad and use the 'potty' command.
- If your puppy successfully toilets outside, give them lots of praise and a treat immediately afterwards. Be persistent and remove the pad after your puppy starts to consistently eliminate outside.
Reasons for soiling after house training
There are several reasons why dogs repeatedly have accidents even after house training. These include:
- Stress/anxiety/excitement: A new enviroment, pet or visitor can cause your dog anxiety and stress, leading to a loss of bladder/bowel control. Also, some dogs can get overexcited at visitors, causing them to lose control of their bladder. Submissive urination can also be to blame - this is when your dog urinates out of intimidation or fear.
- Territory: Unneutered dogs often mark their territory with urine. Female dogs may also urine mark whilst on heat to advertise their availability. A new environment or piece of furniture may also cause your dog to urine mark.
- Age: Older dogs produce fewer hormones, which can lead to reduced control of their bladder and sphincter muscles (often leads to accidents whilst sleeping). Neurological issues, such as tumours, can also lead to incontinence. Take your dog to the vet to rule out anything serious.
- Illness: Urinary tract infections (UTIs), bladder stones, kidney diseases and gastrointestinal bugs can be responsible for accidents. If you suspect your pet is ill, take them to the vet ASAP.
You can contact us for further advice by calling: (01228) 560082.