The 411 On House Training Your Dog

One of the most frequently asked questions about training and puppies is this: What is the best way to house train a dog?

Some people call it house breaking but that’s not a well-loved term with us. House training is the art of getting your new puppy to understand that your house is a clean den and elimination should be done outside.

Most dogs catch on fairly quickly but there are some breeds that need a bit more time. Terriers, for example, can exhibit their tough temperament and take their own sweet time learning the … pardon the pun … ins and outs of the right place to do their business. Retrievers are the sweet spot of house training and many are reliable within a couple of months.

Here are a few tricks to help the dog training go smoothly.

First Night

There will be lots of excitement when you bring your pup home and accidents can and will happen. Don’t be harsh with her and never rub her nose in her urine or feces.

Tell her it’s okay and then take her right outside to see if she needs to go further. Give her a treat outside. Clean up as soon as you can and use a spray that eliminates the odor so she won’t be tempted to go in the same spot again.

Crate Training

We have found that the best way to house train is by using a crate. Puppies are hard wired not to soil a clean den where they sleep.

The one way this can backfire is if you get a crate that’s too big and your pup goes in the back and sleeps in the front.

If your pup is about 8 weeks old, you will be taking her out every 2 hours or so. At night, she should whine to let you know she has to go. Praise her for that alert and take her out right away on lead. And make sure to take her out every two hours during the day whether she needs to or not until she’s older. Puppies can hold it for an additional hour per one month of age until they’re reliable.

The Water Dish

An easy way to keep your puppy from having to pee every five minutes is to pick up the water dish after eating or playing. Don’t give her free reign of that dish until she’s older and can hold her bladder.

Limitations in the House

Until your pup has proven herself to be reliable – that’s usually at about 4-5 months old on average — restrict her access in the house. If you can close bedroom doors or put dog gates up that will help keep her from peeing or pooping where you don’t see it.

Just a bit of care and planning will keep house training time to a minimum.

Photo Credit:  istockphoto.com

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