Frequently, a puppy
becomes a member of a family that is unaccustomed to the behavior of a
canine youngster. A pup might be the first pet in a home, the companion
for a geriatric dog, or a replacement to fill the spot vacated by a
deceased pet. The introduction of a puppy into a home can create chaos
or, with proper training of the animal, result in a loving human-animal
Of a puppy’s myriad
lessons, acquisition of acceptable toilet habits is a priority. The
number one rule to remember during a dog’s adolescence is that accidents
will happen despite the most conscientious efforts of the owner. These
incidents are not purposeful attempts by the pet to get even with the
owner. Instead, they represent a skill not mastered or, often,
unreasonable expectations from the owner. Areas
such as carpeting must, from the beginning, be delineated as off limits.
consistency are essential! It is a common mistake to take the puppy out
for a few minutes, returning to the house when the puppy is ready to
defecate. This happens most often during inclement weather, when neither
the owner nor puppy wants to stay outside.
begin when the puppy is between 8 and 16 weeks old and capable of learning
short lessons. Normally, the older the puppy, the easier to housetrain.
At this time the young dog also learns to use a canine group elimination
area. Simplified housetraining involves adherence to a schedule, a
confined bedding area, and lavish amounts of verbal reward and love.
There are four times a
puppy typically eliminates:
A puppy usually eliminates when it
awakens. For example, a pup will urinate after a nap. It is important to
remember that puppy’s sleep several times a day, and thus have several
After eating, the gastrolic
response produces a bowel movement. With several feedings each day, young
puppies require considerable number of trips outside.
Intense activity by the pup
Dogs normally eliminate before
bedding down for the night.
Strict schedules and a
regular routine of resting, eating and playing regulate the elimination
process. When family members pursue random activities, the puppy’s
schedule, including the need to eliminate, varies also. In households
where the puppy is left alone for eight to ten hours at a time, the pet
tends to sleep most the day and will be very active in the evening.
Occasionally accidents will happen because, at
this age, the puppy’s bladder simply does not have the required capacity.
When alone, the young
dog should be confined in a small area about the size of a bathroom or
utility room. A space this size is large enough for a food and water bowl
and a clearly defined bedding area, yet limits the amount of space in
which accidents can happen. Dogs prefer NOT to soil their bedding area.
They tend to retain urine and feces until they have access to an
acceptable location for elimination.
Puppies confined in
small areas, such as crates, can learn to disregard cleanliness standards
of the bedding area if they are not allowed to go outside at appropriate
times. Crates are only useful for short periods of time and overnight.
On the other hand, puppies given the run of the house have a hard time
associating the entire area as off limits.
Dogs learn to prefer
one surface for elimination, to the exclusion of all others. Newspapers,
grass, concrete, or asphalt commonly becomes the chosen surface, at the
prompting of the owner. This preference can create a problem for dogs
adjusting to new environments, i.e. during hospitalization,
boarding or traveling. When dogs raised outside are allowed into the
house, shag carpeting often serves as the surface most closely resembling
Praise is a
strong motivator to reinforce the learning process in a dog.
Remember the effectiveness memory span for a puppy is no longer than 30
seconds, so praise is best given while the puppy is eliminating. The
word no serves as sufficient negative response to accidents and should be
followed by praise when the puppy completes the elimination process in the
circumstances spank the puppy for an accident, or rub the puppy’s nose in
the elimination. This will NOT help in the housetraining process, it will
only cause the puppy to become afraid of you. If the puppy is not caught
in the act of an elimination, do NOT discipline the puppy for it i.e. upon
entering the kitchen an elimination is seen across the room, but the puppy
is at your feet – remember the puppy’s memory span of 30 seconds.
Despite tenacious efforts by the owner, certain dogs do not seem to learn
housetraining. Housebreaking becomes a simple procedure when the owner is
properly informed about the importance of maintaining a schedule,
confining the puppy properly, and praising the animal for appropriate
We hope these tips help you and your new
puppy enjoy a long healthy life!!