Barbara's Babies Dog Obedience School

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House-Breaking Your Dog or Puppy

New puppies are so much fun! Until they piddle on your carpet or leave a doodle on your shoe! Older dogs can be just as ill-mannered if they've never been trained.
When starting with a new dog or puppy there are a few simple rules that can help ease the tensions on both of you.
1. Get on a schedule: have a set time of day to feed, water, potty and play. Make sure you stick to the schedule very closely for at least the first few weeks of training. It is generally considered a dog can "hold it" a number of hours equal to their age in months, up to eight(8) hours. So a new 6 or 8 week old puppy should be taken to potty every hour or hour and a half!
2. Outside is for potty time, not for play. At least that's what your pup should believe! In the beginning of training, allowing the puppy to play and get distracted while he/she should be going potty can lead to confusion and often ends with the pup returning indoors and relieving themselves on your floor.
3. Use a crate or confine the dog to a small area of the house when it cannot be properly supervised. As a general rule dogs are naturally clean animals and will not potty where they sleep or eat. Using a crate helps teach the pup to "hold it" until he/she can get outside to go.
4. Observe. Watch your puppy closely while it is out and about. You will start to notice certain behaviors just before the pup relieves itself. This may include circling, sniffing, leaving the general area while sniffing the ground, whining and generally looking uncomfortable. If you see these things it may be a good time to take a walk!
Remember that your puppy does not understand our human world, it is your job to help teach him/her what is expected and how to get along. Housebreaking can be fairly quick and simple, but sometimes we come across a dog who just doesn't get it, if this seems to be your case just give us a call and we will see what the breakdown is and help you fix it.
Unfortunately, here in Missouri especially, we often see dogs who have been born and/or raised in a breeding facility or puppy mill that were denied the option of remaining clean and this will cause problems with housebreaking. It can still be done in most cases, however it will take patience and more time than with properly housed animals.
Important things to remember
Crates are not cruel when used properly
they provide a safe and comfortable shelter that mimics the cave dwelling Canine ancestors would have sought out
Many dogs learn to love their crates and some actually choose to "Hang out" there on their own.
Accidents Happen
The worst thing you can do for your dogs housebreaking process is to punish or scold them
If you happen to see an accident starting, a simple verbal -Akk- or No, or smacking a paper against your hand or counter will startle the pup and you would then grab them and run them outside to finish and praise them for doing so.
Clean the mess thoroughly and chalk it up to not being as aware as you should have been.
Do not be angry with your pet, they just haven't learned the rules of living in a human world and your anger will set back not only your housetraining but also your bonding.

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