Housebreaking is the first form of training that is tried by most new puppy owners.  Over the years, it has been determined that the high percentage of failures in housebreaking are due to the lack of adequate knowledge and communication to the puppy by the owner rather than the inability of the dog to learn the task of being clean in their new environment.

Before we discuss the proper procedures to follow in housebreaking your new puppy, there are three additional facts that you must be aware of.  They are as follows:

1.     Make certain that your puppy is in good physical health.  A puppy that has worms or an upset intestinal tract, cannot be expected to control his eliminations.

2.     Housebreaking is a procedure that most puppies younger than ten weeks of age have a hard time conforming to.  At ten weeks of age, the puppy moves out of the infant stage and is now physically and mentally ready for housebreaking.  However, starting a puppy that is younger than ten weeks of age is excellent because it starts to set up the habit pattern that we are looking for.  But, remember not to get upset or frustrated when a puppy at this age makes mistakes.

3.     The largest threat to success in housebreaking is the way the owner corrects the puppy when it does have an accident in the house.  The owner must remember that they are dealing with a puppy. You must expect many mistakes in the beginning.  With your patience and the correct method, the pup will eventually learn what is expected of him.  Do not hit the puppy – all you will do is promote fear and/or aggression.  Do not stick its nose in the mistake, because all you are doing is rationalizing that since you would not like your nose put in it; than the puppy must not like it as well.

Do not forget: your puppy cannot rationalize like a human being!  The theme behind housebreaking that we will follow is that we are not going to give the puppy an opportunity to make any mistakes.  If the puppy has a mistake anywhere in the house, without being caught in order to be corrected, it is the owner’s fault, rather than the puppies.  The preferred method for housebreaking is based in the concept of confinement.  The most useful device for housebreaking your new puppy is the dog crate.  Initially, the philosophy that we will use is that when the puppy cannot be totally supervised, he is to be placed in his crate.  With this method, we are eliminating the puppies’ chance of having a mistake when out of your view, since we can only correct the puppy if we catch them in the act.

                Some people refuse to use the cage method because they feel it is cruel.  Just remember that the dog is originated from the wolf and their dwellings were in a small confined den, it helps them feel secure.  Usually if a puppy does not like his crate it is not because of the crate itself, but the separation away from the owners that the crate brings.  Most of the time if you spend sufficient  “playtime” with your puppy, this problem will not occur.  If you would prefer not to use the crate method, than you will want to make a designated area in which to confine your pet.  You will need to make them a small area, (3x3 or 4x4).  Some people want to use a bathroom, but it usually ends up being a destroyed bathroom.  The puppy will do much better if it is in an open confined area, obviously if the best option: a crate, is not available.  A corner of a kitchen or hallway usually works out to be the best.  But, remember all four sides must have the enclosure so the dog cannot get at the baseboards.


                Now lets talk about a few of the most important procedures in housebreaking your new puppy:





1.     DO NOT correct the dog for house soiling unless you caught him in the act of going potty on the floor.

2.     Command ‘potty’ several times on the way outside to the proper ‘potty spot’.  Immediate praise once you arrive to the spot.  Do not use sentences. 

3.     Once the puppy eliminates in the proper ‘potty spot’ outside praise the puppy a lot over and over for at least one full minute.  DO NOT give him a treat, you are only causing him to essentially have to eliminate again very soon.

4.     Try taking the puppy out the same door to the ‘potty spot’ to start to develop a pattern with your puppy.  This way the puppy may start to indicate going outside by sitting at that particular door.

5.     Confine the puppy to the crate every single time that you cannot give him complete supervised freedom.  This will avoid the problem of having any accidents in the house without being caught in the act and corrected for it. 

6.     Never hit your dog.  Regardless to if it is just a little ‘tap’ on the behind.  This will cause your puppy to become fearful of your hands and/or aggressive to your hands.  This can promote nipping at hands. 

7.     Do not rub the puppy’s nose in the accident.  Dogs do not have the ability to reason and rationalize!!  You are rationalizing that since the puppy won’t enjoy getting his face rubbed in the accidents than that means that he shouldn’t go potty there.  WRONG!  Dogs only learn through association.  You have to cause the association: that it is negative to go potty in the house but very positive to go potty outside.

8.     Do not allow free food and water to be down at all times.  Especially if you aren’t going to be home to let the puppy eliminate.  Put the food down two times per day only. If you are not going to be home, DO NOT allow the water to be left down.  After you see the puppy consume water, take the puppy outside to eliminate.

9.     The last water of the day should be 2 hours before you go to bed at night.  Then pick the water bowl up until morning time.

10.   The very last thing you should do before going to bed at night is to take the puppy outside to his ‘potty spot’ and have him eliminate.


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