Puppy Potty Training
As a dog owner, one of the most important skills you can learn is how to properly housebreak your
puppy. There is probably no other behaviour that can cause as
much misery, for both dog and human, then a pooch who doesn’t know when to hold it and
when to let it go. Aside from the negative emotions this can generate (anger on the human’s
side, hurt and confusion on the dogs), there is also the issue of damaged property and just general cleanliness.
So, how to you properly housebreak a
puppy? Well, the first concept you need to banish from your ape mind is the idea that you are
housebreaking anything to begin with. The idea of housebreaking is very negative, and come from a
training perspective that emphasizes punishment. This is not the most effective
way to train your pooch. Rather, you want to work with your dog to house train
him. Believe me, your dog does want to please you, but he needs your help to understand just
what you want. With a little patience on your part, you should have no problem training your
dog to answer nature’s call on command and out of your house.
The key to properly house training a puppy is to be consistent and positive, and to use a crate. What kind of crate, you ask, and why? By a crate, I don’t
mean a wooden banana crate. Rather, I mean a specialized doggy crate that you can use to
transport your puppy when necessary. The fact of the matter is that dogs love
crates. All dogs have a desire for a place of their own in which they can feel
safe. A crate is the best way to meet this primal desire. The other great thing about a crate is that the dog will treat it as his den, and dogs like to keep their
dens clean. In fact, a mother dog will eat(!) her puppies feces until they learn to go outside
(be thankful you don’t have to do this). This basic drive to keep their den clean is what can
be exploited in order to housetrain your puppy.
When you use a crate for housetraining, your puppy can essentially operate in one of three modes throughout the day. They are:
1) They have already relieved
themselves and are out playing, under your watchful eye
2) In the crate, where
they don’t “want to go” and will hold it if necessary
3) Relieving themselves at
a place of your choosing, by your command.
By controlling the circumstances under which your puppy does his thing, he is able to learn how and where you (the human) want him
(the dog) to do it. Remember, your puppy wants to please you. You just need to make it clear for him.
On the next page there is a suggested schedule that you can use as a guide to properly housetrain your
puppy. Bear in mind that this is only a guide.
All puppies, like people, are different. Some may need to eat 4 times a day, whereas others
may like to stay in their crate for extended periods. Carefully observe your puppy’s behaviour
and alter the schedule accordingly. (more on next page)