HOUSETRAINING! Six Rules That Lead To Success
- Your pup should always be supervised or confined. Supervise your pup closely or have him in the crate (or pen if you are using wee-wee pads). Supervised means if your pup has an accident, you will see it taking place. The only exception to this rule is if you know your pup has just “done all of his business” and now has an “empty tank.” Then, you may be able to get away with a brief period of less intense supervision, but never no supervision.
- Take your pup to the right place as often as he needs to go. Learn your pup’s patterns and set up your routine accordingly. Watch for sniffing, whining, circling, panting, or suddenly wandering away from you. These are signs that he needs to “go.” Take him to his place to go! Also, take him after he: chews heavily on a toy, plays hard, or wakes from a nap.
- Give your pup a treat *immediately* after he “goes” in the right place. The right place is going to be outside or the wee-wee pad, depending on what you are training for at any particular time. Choose one high-value food treat that you will only use for going to the bathroom in the right place. This makes it more memorable. Hint: If you are using wee-wee pads, and you eventually want your pup to “go” outside only – do not offer a food reward for going on the pads. Save that for outside. For now, offer lots of verbal praise instead.
- If you catch your puppy “going” in the wrong place, interrupt him with “eh! eh!” or one sharp clap, then:
- If you think he will relieve himself further, immediately take him outside or to the wee-wee pad. If/when he finishes in the right place, praise him warmly and give him that special food treat. Or…
- If you think he has already relieved himself enough that he is not going to “finish” outside or on the wee-wee pad (this is the most likely scenario), then be sure to confine him immediately after you catch him in the act. This is so that he does not run over to play with your towel while you clean up the mess.
Remember, when you catch him in the act, DO NOT yell harshly – you only need to interrupt the unwanted behavior – you never want to frighten your pup to the point where he thinks he should hide from you.
- NEVER scold your pup if you find a mess AFTER he has had an accident in the wrong place. He will NOT learn anything from this after-the-fact correction, and it will make him nervous, which makes training far more difficult.
- Always clean up accidents as quick as you can with an odor neutralizer, such as Nature’s Miracle or equivalent. Household cleaners are not the same as pet odor neutralizers!