House training is the first thing your new puppy must learn. The toileting process a puppy learns in the first few months as a member of your household will last a lifetime so it’s important to do it right the first time. House training issues are the number one reason why dogs are taken to animal shelters so let’s begin.
It’s important to understand that your puppy probably won’t be completely trained until he’s about 6 months old. That’s because young puppies lack the bladder and bowel control that they need to be reliably left alone for long periods of time.
It is also important for you to be available to supervise your new puppy but we all know that life happens. If you can’t be available for a period of time, confine your puppy to a small puppy-proof room. The entire floor should be covered with newspaper or some absorbent, disposable material. At first, your puppy will go everywhere in the room. As he gets older he will favor one area. Slowly reduce the area covered in papers until the puppy eventually goes only on the toilet papers. The floor in the puppy-proof room should not resemble other floor areas in the house like carpet or hardwood. Once your puppy is used to eliminating on a particular surface, he will want to eliminate on that type of surface.
If you want to train your puppy to use only papers, your task is complete. Most owners prefer for their dogs to eliminate outside so the puppy-proof room should only be used when you aren’t home to supervise. If your puppy spends time in a crate, which he should at first, you can place papers in one area in the crate for your puppy to use. Dogs are naturally very clean animals and they will do their best no to soil their bed area. This really helps your puppy develop self control.
For puppies who are to be outdoor trained, take the puppy to his designated toilet area every 45 minutes. When your puppy does his business in his designated area, lavish praise on him. Don’t be afraid to look like a fool when providing this praise. He is learning the most important lesson in living in your household so go overboard with praise.
Put your puppy on a consistent feeding schedule so you can anticipate his needs. While he does need free access to clean, fresh drinking water, don’t give him unrestricted access to food. Likewise, until he is fully trained, do not give him the run of the house. One thing that will greatly aid in this process is putting a collar and long lead on your puppy and tying the other end of the lead around your waist. Your puppy will like being close to you and he won’t have the opportunity to make many mistakes.
That doesn’t mean that mistakes won’t happen. When they do, don’t punish or reprimand him. He won’t understand the reason for the punishment and he might become nervous or agitated. He might even think he is being punished for eliminating at all. This could set your training back rather than moving it forward.
The main thing you need for house training your puppy is patience and a good sense of humor. Be calm and relaxed while being consistent in your schedule and your puppy will be relaxed and calm while learning what he needs to learn to become a well adjusted member of the family.
While you and your puppy are bonding during this training time, you can start to introduce other commands like sit, come, stay, down. See my other articles on these individual commands and be sure to join me on the web at: