Housebreaking a puppy

Photo: Andrew Warren | Flickr

Photo: Andrew Warren | Flickr

Housebreaking a puppy is all about sticking to a routine and positive reinforcement. It’s a great time to get to know your dog’s personality better and bond with them as well. But remember that housebreaking doesn’t happen overnight. You’ll have to be patient. While some dogs get housebroken in as little as two months, most puppies will take about four to six months – some could even take a year – to be fully trained.

The good news is that you don’t have to mess with diapers. The bad news is that there are no diapers. Your puppy will start to have control over his bowels and bladder when he is about 12 weeks old. It is advisable to start his training around this time or as soon as you get him. For dogs older than 12 weeks, certain habits may have already formed and it might take a longer time to reform his behavior.

Start by keeping your dog in a space specially for him. Pets don’t usually mess up their resting area, so keeping him in a crate, a room or on a leash and taking him out regularly to do his business will help speed up the housebreaking process. After your pup is used to the routine and is somewhat trained, you can give him more access to all areas of your home.

A routine is necessary in all aspects of training your pet. A good one to follow is to take your pup out as soon as you wake up. Follow up through the day with visit outside to eliminate every hour, and when he wakes up from naps, after meals and before bedtime to increase his chances of not messing in the house. Look out for signs that your dog needs to go and take him out right away. These include whimpering, restlessness, circling and barking.

Dogs are creatures of habit and take cues from smell. Leading him to the same spot every time you go out will increase your chances of him forming an association with the location and having to do his business. After he is done, don’t forget to give him a small treat, which can be a chew stick, a game of fetch or a few words of praise. Positive reinforcement is one of the most effective ways to train your dog.

Most of all, be patient. All dogs have accidents now and then, especially those under a year told. Don’t be disheartened and soldier on with your training. Don’t punish your dog when it makes a mess. They cannot comprehend where your anger is stemming from and will just be confused. Clean it up thoroughly so that the odour is untraceable to your pup. If you feel that your pet isn’t getting the hang of it, consult your vet as there could be a medical issue hindering the housebreaking of your puppy.

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