If you’ve been doing your research before buying a new puppy or dog, you’ve probably heard of the term “housebreaking”. Simply put, this is the period in which you train your new puppy to live in a home with other humans and pets. Synonymous with the word “housetraining”, this period of time is all about love, consistency, and positive reinforcement. This period can be challenging, but with the right amount of patience, it doesn’t have to be a constant struggle. Generally speaking, it takes between 4-6 months to properly house train a puppy and stop accidents on the floor and other unappealing moments (such as a ripped-up couch). Read on for some tips about how to properly take care of your pet during this transitional period.
Housebreaking: When to Start
Many experts suggest that you should start housebreaking your puppy between 12-16 weeks old. Many variables can make this a longer process. If your puppy is much older than 12 weeks and has been going to the bathroom in a cage or crate, the process may take much longer because you’ll have to do some re-wiring. The easiest way to do this is through positive reinforcement. Other dogs – especially smaller ones – may take up to a year to properly train, such as smaller breeds. This is due to their smaller bladders and higher metabolisms. There are going to be setbacks. A good indicator if your pet is house-trained is if they have not had an accident in over two weeks.
Steps for Housebreaking Your New Puppy
We recommend that you keep your puppy in an enclosed space to start. That means it can be a cage, crate, in a room, in a fenced off section of the house, or on a leash. Your puppy will begin to realize that they need to go outside to eliminate their waste. As your puppy gets better at doing this, you can open up more areas of the house to them. Here are a few tips to help the housebreaking process run smooth:
- Keep a regular schedule. Take away food when in-between meals and make sure they are getting up and going to bed at the same time each night.
- The puppy should do his/her business outside in the morning when they first wake up. After this, regular trips outside are necessary to get them into a routine.
- Stay with your puppy when they are outside in your yard or on the street. Try and take your puppy to the same place each time to eliminate. The scent will almost always prompt them to do their thing.
- Praise them after they eliminate outside. A nice treat or walk is a sufficient reward. Scratches don’t hurt either.
- Buy a crate. Make sure it is large enough for them to walk around in, but small enough to not use a corner as a toilet. If they are using it as a toilet, take it away. During the first 8 months, make sure somebody can be there in the middle of the day (if you work) to take them out to go to the bathroom.
Signs That Your Puppy Needs to go to the Bathroom
Barking and scratching at the door to their usual spot, or whining, circling, barking, and sniffing are all signs that your puppy should probably be ready to go outside. Accidents will happen and punishing your puppy is a step in the wrong direction. This teaches them fear and they’ll attach that emotion to humans. Don’t do it! Try clapping loudly and then take them outside to finish up. If this happens regularly, try spending more time outside with your puppy.
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