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Young puppies all do the same things: eat, drink, sleep, play, and toilet. The first four are always going to be much more pleasant, but house training a puppy doesn’t have to be a headache with these tips from The Upward Dog.
The million-dollar question! A common rule-of-thumb is that a puppy can hold himself for one hour for each month of his life, but it’s rarely as simple as that!
Be ready to take your puppy to the garden after every one of his activities: eating, drinking, sleeping, and playing. Also, take him out as soon as you get back from being away from him, first thing in the morning, and last thing in the evening.
Ideally, you should be taking him into the ‘elimination zone’ (aka the garden!) around every twenty to thirty minutes, unless he’s sleeping.
No Success? Try Again
If the puppy doesn’t toilet while you’re outside for several minutes, go back indoors and keep him with you (or put him in his crate), and take him out again in ten minutes. This level of consistency is what teaches pups quickly, and prevents any ‘accidents’.
Praising for Peeing
If your puppy toilets where you want him to, praise him, congratulate him, make him feel like he’s done the best thing ever! The happier you seem, the more likely he will be to want to repeat this by doing the same in future.
Don’t Try It
Many methods for house training a puppy have been suggested over the years, but often they just prolong the inevitable plan outlined above.
- Newspaper – the puppy learns to toilet indoors, on something that is placed on the floor. Be ready for wet rugs, and a pup that refuses to toilet outside.
- Dog doors – these are useful, but they don’t teach the puppy where to toilet, just that, if he wants to, he can get into the garden. Be ready for a dog who convinces you he’s house trained, until you visit a friend’s house, where they don’t have a dog door.
- Rubbing the dog’s nose in his ‘accident’ – this teaches him nothing, makes him fear you, and he believes he’s being told off not for where he has peed, but for peeing in the first place. Be ready for a dog that takes himself off somewhere secret to toilet, where you might not find it until you stand in it at 2am.
If your puppy has a mishap, it’s not the end of the world, your hard work isn’t wasted, and your pup will get back on track. The worst thing you can do is scold your pup, or punish him: at his age, he can’t be expected to let you know when he needs to toilet, so the buck stops with you, unfortunately!
Ignore accidents, and clean up when the puppy isn’t watching: if he senses you’re angry, in future he will toilet in secret; and if he is standing by, while you clean up, the presence of floaty rolls of kitchen roll might prove a game to him.
Keep consistent, mop up, and carry on!