House-training Your Puppy

Very few puppies are fully house-trained when they enter their new home and most owners are prepared for a period of extra cleaning when they take on a young pup. However, in some cases the process of house-training may take longer than expected and as a result there can be considerable tension between pup and owner. By following a few simple rules and avoiding some common mistakes, you can maximise your chances of success and make the whole house-training process far less stressful for you and your puppy.

House Training Your Puppy
House Training Your Puppy

Spot the right moment
It is important for your puppy to be in the location in which you want them to toilet when they feel the need to relieve themselves. If you take your puppy outside when they are most likely to want to go to the toilet (after every meal, when they wake up, after drinking and after play), you maximise the chances of them forming an appropriate association between being in the right spot and relieving themselves. Every time your puppy makes a mistake and goes to the toilet in the house they learn an inappropriate association and the process of house-training is slowed down. Although it may sound drastic, setting an alarm for intervals of two hours during the day and night and taking your puppy outside to the same area on a regular basis can be one of the quickest and simplest ways of house training.

Reward works better than punishment!
If you are right next to your young puppy when they are outside (or the designated spot on the balcony for apartment dwellers), you can give some form of reward to coincide with the process of toileting and thereby encourage your puppy to see toileting in the appropriate place as a good thing to do! Quiet praise or food can be used but it is very important that the reward is given immediately after the puppy finishes toileting (i.e. within half a second) and not once the puppy is safely back in the house. It is important not to punish the puppy if they toilet in the wrong place – just clean it up quickly with an enzymatic washing powder. Punishment may just lead to confusion and anxiety in your puppy and increase the time taken to toilet train them.

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