As pets are becoming more a part of the social fabric, it is important that they have manners that allow them to live indoors. Some of a dog’s instinctual behavior is helpful in teaching indoor manners and some is not. Dogs that eliminate in the house were probably never properly housetrained. A well-housetrained dog can be a joy to live with and add much to our lives.
Puppies should begin their housetraining at 6 to 8 weeks of age. Developing a routine is most important. Puppies usually eliminate when they first wake up in the morning, after eating and after naps. At these times, take the puppy outside and allow it to do its business.
Use a command such as “Go potty,” or “Do your business,” as they begin. Repeating this command will teach the puppy to eliminate on command and make the process much easier. It is important to give the puppy up to 10 minutes. Give them lots of praise when they are finished. If you rush and take them inside too soon, the session is wasted.
Accidents are going to happen in the house. Scolding or punishing the puppy for an accident is not productive and may cause aggression or shyness. Dogs do not associate elimination with bad behavior. It is best to ignore accidents and thoroughly clean the area so the scent does not remain and encourage the puppy to do the same thing in the same place.
When the puppy is in the house alone, it is best for it to be in a crate or carrier. This is not cruel or punishment. The crate should become a safe resting place for the puppy. A few accidents may happen in the crate. That is normal. Soon the puppy will learn to hold it until it gets to go outside. A puppy trained this way will make a much better house pet.
This process will take several weeks. Smaller breeds tend to take longer to housetrain. When a puppy has not had an indoor accident for 12 consecutive weeks it is considered housetrained. Consistency and repetition are the keys to any training. Housetrain your puppy and enjoy your pet for life.
Dr. Russell N. Ueckert has been providing veterinary care for animals in the Big Country for over 19 years. This article was produced in part with contributions from Veterinary News Network. For all of your veterinary needs look to www.bigcountryvets.com.