Housebreaking Puppy

Housebreaking your puppy is a relatively simple concept, but it takes a lot of planning, attention and time in order to make it happen. Puppies will need to urinate at least once every hour or so when they are awake, and even more frequently when they are active. It’s a good idea to take them out every half hour, or more frequently when they are awake and active. Occasionally if they are playing, chewing hard, running around, or getting very excited they may need to go out as often as every fifteen minutes. 

 Puppies should go out right after eating or drinking. When they are sleeping they can wait much longer periods without needing to go outside because they are much less metabolically active when sleeping. Ideally your puppy should be outside under supervision, inside with constant supervision, or crated or gated off in a small, puppy-proofed area or room during the housebreaking phase. If your puppy is outside with you, it gives you an opportunity to witness his activities. Take your puppy to the designated elimination area, and remain quiet and motionless until he begins to eliminate. Just as he is finishing, immediately give him a tasty treat and lots of praise. 

When you are inside with your puppy, make sure you are paying attention to what he is doing at all times. You might want to attach him to you by his leash clipped to your belt. This way he is unable to sneak off and eliminate somewhere in your house while you are not looking. Accidents can be avoided by watching for the subtle signs that indicate that your puppy needs to go outside. Some of those signs include, but are not limited to, sniffing the floor frantically, circling while sniffing, and whining. Try to observe and recognize your puppy’s behavior patterns. 

If you choose to crate your puppy or keep him in a gated off, puppy-proofed area, make sure to take him outside to eliminate before putting him in there and after taking him out. Generally dogs do not like to eliminate in their sleeping area, however, it is not uncommon to have an occasional accident. Make sure your puppy is not crated for more than 3-4 hours at a time. 

If your puppy does have an accident in the house, stay calm. A dog can only understand correction if it occurs within a half second of the event you are trying to control. Catching a puppy in the act is the only time to correct the behavior. After the event has occurred it is too late to correct your puppy because he will associate your feedback with whatever he is doing at the time, not ten minutes before. Do not rub your puppy’s nose in the soiled area. It will only confuse him. If you see your puppy beginning to squat, make a loud, startling noise. The goal of this action being to startle and interrupt him and not punish him. Then immediately pick him up and rush him outside to eliminate. Always remember to praise him for his appropriate behavior. 

How you go about cleaning up accidents in the house is crucial. It is extremely important to eliminate the source of the odor completely so that your puppy does not come back to that area to eliminate again. The type of cleaner you use to clean up the accident is the key. Do not use vinegar or household cleaners. Most cleaners contain ammonia, which mimics the scent of urine and will attract your dog to come back to that area to eliminate. Instead use an enzymatic cleaner designed to remove the source of the odor. 

It is important to be patient and concentrate on the details of your housebreaking routine. Pretty soon the routine becomes habit, and you and your puppy will be able to really enjoy your time spent together!