Training your dog is hard and can be expensive. Our favorite dog song famously goes, “How much is that doggie in the window?” Well, not nearly as much as your couch, furniture, and carpet if you don’t house-train your puppy! House breaking can be a struggle for many new pet owners learning how to train your dog is a daunting task. But if you follow our simple advice you can make it out of the potty training phase quicker than you think.
Learn How to Train Your Dog
The key to successful house training of any dog is setting the dog up for success instead of waiting to punish failure. Your train your dog with positive reinforcement, not punishment. Remember that a dog has a short memory. By time you find your puppies accident or chewed up furniture, it most likely is too late to even use it as a teachable moment.
Rather than yell at a puppy for peeing in the corner five hours ago, praise the puppy when he or she goes potty outside. Again, the key to success is being positive as soon as your dog does what you want.
Stop in House Accidents with Potty Training
You have two huge obstacles when it comes to training your new puppy. One, is preventing destruction of furniture. Two, is all the accidents in the house. One of the best ways to house-train your puppy is to take him or her outside every time you think your puppy may need to pee.
Some Signs I look for:
- Sudden Stop in Play
- Look at the Door
- Start to Squat
- Sniffing the Ground
- Walking to the Door
- Getting our of your Line of Sight
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If your puppy never gets a chance to go in the house, your puppy will never consider it as an option. If your puppy only pees outside, your puppy will only pee outside. Sounds simple, right?
A puppy has a small bladder. At first, a puppy most likely can not hold their bladder for more than an hour. That means the first six months you own your puppy, you need to take him or her outside every hour, if possible. It is hard at night. I reduce it to once every four hours at night. My husband will go to bed after me and let a new puppy out right before bed.
Then, he will wake up four hours later to let our puppy outside. I wake up about three hours after that, and let our new puppy outside. It is hard for a new puppy to hold in pee, but it can be done.
Puppies are Most Likely to Pee When
- Near Other Animal Scents
- Before Playing
- While Playing
- After Playing
- Before Eating
- While Eating
- After Eating
- Before Drinking
- While Drinking
- After Drinking
Handling these situations are easy. Excited means when the tail starts wagging, go outside. When you get home, take your dog right outside. When you go to your puppies toy box, go outside. Nervous pee normally comes when your puppy fears punishment. Anything related to eating or drinking means outside a few times.
Reward Success Until Adulthood
Give your puppy a treat and lavish him or her with praise every time he or she goes to the bathroom outside. Dogs learn by association, so if your dog begins to associate treats with puttying outside, your puppy will eventually start to think of going outside as a good thing. Eventually you won’t have to give her a treat. She’ll naturally gravitate toward going outside.
The same applies to all facets of training. When your train your dog your generally think of potty training, but the same principles always apply. When chewing furniture, stop the action but do not punish. Give an alternative, such as a chew toy, and when your dog starts to chew it, offer praise and petting.
When your puppy reaches adulthood, you really should not need to continue to consistently reward good behavior, but you should still occasion ally.
Cover Up Failure
Your dog will pee where it smells their own pee or other dogs pee. So if you have an in house accident, you need to eliminate the odor. For carpet, that means a carpet machine and a animal pee solution. For ceramic or hard wood I use bleach or ammonia. That will completely eliminate the scent.
The key to success here is to not punish unless you catch the dog in the act. You also wan’t to clean the mess up when your dog is not looking. This reduces your status as the pack ‘Alpha’ and will make training and maintaining order harder long term. This applies to a dog getting into the trash or chewing up furniture. Unless caught in the act, put your dog away and clean up the mess.
Don’t Punish When You Train Your Dog
It can be frustrating to catch your dog in the act of peeing inside. But punishment doesn’t normally work with dogs, and here’s why: dogs associate a response with whatever the last thing that happened was, and they’re not capable of linking two complex behaviors together.
This means that if you yell at her for peeing in the house, she’ll think she’s getting yelled at for peeing, not for doing it in the house. Thus punishment simply makes your dog more likely to hold it in till you’re not looking and then go all over your shoes.
A much better response to catching her in the act is to swiftly pick her up and carry her outside. If she uses the bathroom outside, use appropriate praise and give her a treat. Moving her outside helps her to associate outside with her bathroom area, so catching her in the act can actually be a good thing for training her.
This also applies to getting into the trash or destroying a sock. If caught in the act, you can punish by removing the object. Destroying toys or socks is not approved of. Eating anything you do not give your dog is not approved of.
But if your find the trash ripped open or sock chewed up later, you can’t punish. The reason is dogs have a short memory. When you are trying to train your dog, it is counter productive to punish your dog when the dog it not caught in the act.
Some will object, “But my dog cowers when I say ‘who did this’ when I find the trash on the ground!” That is true, but that is only because your dog is responding to your emotional state. You are angry, your dog knows that. Your dog cowers out of fear, which is why many dogs will cower and wag their tails at the same time.
Use a Crate to Train Your Dog
Many first time dog owners are resistant to using a crate because it looks like and feels prison to humans. However, a crate is a valuable tool for setting up your dog for success when you are not home. Crate training is about giving your dog a safe space, a home. A place that smells like them.
The crate should be just large enough for your dog to be comfortable. Your dog will not pee or poop where they sleep. This prevents night time accidents. The safe place that smells like them is akin to a child having their own room. My dogs go to their crate when it storms outside. The crate is a safe place.
You get your puppy to go in the crate with praise, petting, and rewards. Crate your puppy every night, when you leave, and randomly at times throughout the day to reinforce the habit.
After a while, your puppy will go to his or her crate when tired or they want to be alone. If you associate the crate with punishment training, this will never happen.
The last crate note is to remember a puppy can only hold their bladder for so long. When in the crate they will hold longer, to prevent peeing in their ‘home’ but this still has a limit to a couple hours.
How to Train Your Dog in 10 Days or Less
The first ten days are the most important. The reason is you establish boundaries and rules in those first ten days. If you let your dog roam free your new puppy will think they can pee inside and destroy what they want. Your puppy will start to get with the program within ten days.
The Training Rules:
- Reward over Punish
- Let Outside Often
- Utilize the Crate
- Be Proactive, Not Reactive
- Be Consistent
It is that simple. The last piece of good advice I have is a tired dog is easier to train than a hyper dog. So give your dog plenty of dog friendly exercise. You just need to make sure you stick to the principles of this article. You can teach a dog any trick using the reward method. Eliminating peeing in the house is easy with a crate and being proactive. Consistency will instill the house rules for the life of your new puppy.