House training can be challenging in the first few weeks your new puppy or dog arrives home. Depending on the puppy’s age, previous experience in different home and any medical complications and most importantly your consistency will all affect how quickly your dog learns to relieve themselves outside.
Do NOT correct or scold your puppy for any accidents. The majority of puppies do not understand they are being corrected for having an “accident” indoors rather just for the act of relieving themselves. It is important the puppy or dog feels 100% comfortable to relieve themselves in your presence. Any mistakes that are made while you are at home are due to your inattention. You should always know where your dog is, and what they are doing.
If you realize it’s almost time for a potty break, don’t delay or you may miss the opportunity to positively reinforce your dog’s bathroom habits. By observing your dog you will learn to tell the difference between a dog exploring his new home and his searching for a location to relieve himself. If you cannot supervise, put the dog in a confined area such as a crate or room where you are. Have the dog on their leash if necessary. If you are relaxing, watching TV, reading or on the computer, keep your dog with you. Try giving your dog some of their toys to play with to keep them occupied.
Designating A Relief Spot
When designating a relief spot, certain factors should be considered. Will this area be easily accessible all year round, including during the winter months? What about garden areas and walk ways? Once you have designated a relief spot, take your dog on-leash to the designated toilet area. Stand quietly, so that the dog can sniff around. Have a cue or command word that comes naturally to you, many people use “do your business” or “potty time,” but do not repeat this request and distract the dog. Do not praise your dog during his or her search. If after about 2-5 minutes your dog hasn’t gone to the bathroom, return to the house. Keep a close eye on your puppy and try again every 5-10 minutes.
Often the excitement of being outside is distracting to many dogs, especially puppies and once you return back to the more familiar indoor environment, the urge for relief returns quickly.
When people wake-up in the morning, their first stop is usually the bathroom. If another family member already has the bath room occupied, we know how uncomfortable it can be to wait. Your dog will appreciate access to relieve himself as much as you do in the morning. Take your dog out to use the bathroom as soon as possible.
Create a schedule that is practical for you to maintain. If you cannot stick to your schedule, you can’t expect the dog to adhere to it. Try to feed your new dog about 1 to 2 hours before you have to leave. This should provide your dog time to digest their breakfast and ensure they have an opportunity to use the bathroom before you leave for work. Schedule your dog’s bed time and waking-up time. Adhere to these times as closely as possible. If you have a puppy or young dog and will be away from your home for more than a few hours, arrange to have somebody come in to take the dog out to their designated relief spot. Keep track of your dog’s routine. Some dogs will “potty” two or three times per outing in the morning, but only twice per outing in the evening.
If the weather is foul, do not let your dog know that you don’t want to go outside with him. By teaching your dog that even in bad weather going outside is “the thing to do,” they will be more willing to convey their needs to you.
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