by Sallie McConnell
House training a puppy is very important for the well being of both the puppy and the owner. The number one reason that dogs are surrender to animal shelters is problems with inappropriate elimination, so it is easy to see why proper house training is such an important consideration.
It is important to establish proper toilet habits when the puppy is young, since these habits can last a lifetime, and be very hard to break once they are established. It is very important for the owner to house break the puppy properly. In most cases, true house training cannot begin until the puppy is six months old. Puppies younger than this generally lack the bowel and bladder control that is needed for true house training.
Puppies younger than six months should be confined to a small, puppy proofed room when the owner cannot supervise them. The entire floor of the room should be covered with newspapers or similar absorbent materials, and the paper changed every time it is soiled. As the puppy gets older, the amount of paper used can be reduced as the puppy begins to establish a preferred toilet area. It is this preferred toilet area that will form the basis of later house training.
The Do’s of House Training Your Puppy:
1. Always provide the puppy with constant, unrestricted access to the established toilet area.
2. When you are at home, take the puppy to the toilet area every 45 minutes.
3. When you are not at home or cannot supervise the puppy, you must be sure the puppy cannot make a mistake. This means confining the puppy to a small area that has been thoroughly puppy proofed. Puppy proofing a room is very similar to baby proofing a room, since puppies chew on everything.
4. Always provide a toilet area that does not resemble anything in your home. Training the puppy to eliminate on concrete, blacktop, grass or dirt is a good idea. The puppy should never be encouraged to eliminate on anything that resembles the hardwood flooring, tile or carpet he may encounter in a home.
5. Praise and reward your puppy every time he eliminates in the established toilet area. The puppy must learn to associate toileting in the established areas with good things, like dog treats (such as lamb ears), toys and praise from his owner.
6. Always keep a set schedule when feeding your puppy, and provide constant access to fresh, clean drinking water. A consistent feeding schedule equals a consistent toilet schedule.
7. Using a crate can be a big help in helping a puppy develop self control. The concept behind crate training is that the puppy will not want to toilet in his bed area.
8. And finally, it is important to be patient when house training a puppy. House training can take as long as several months, but it is much easier to house train right the first time than to retrain a problem dog.
The Don’ts of House Training Your Puppy:
1. Never reprimand or punish the puppy for mistakes. Punishing the puppy will only cause fear and confusion.
2. Do not leave food out for the puppy all night long. Keep to a set feeding schedule in order to make the dog’s toilet schedule as consistent as possible.
3. Do not give the puppy the run of the house until he has been thoroughly house trained.
House training is not always the easiest thing to do, and some dogs tend to be much easier to house train than others. It is important, however to be patient, consistent and loving as you train your dog. A rushed, frightened or intimidated dog will not be able to learn the important lessons of house training. Once you have gained your puppy’s love and respect, however, you will find that house training your puppy is easier than you ever expected.
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