If they eat, take them out. If they wake up, take them out.
If they just got done playing, take them out.
So you bought a new puppy and the first thing he does as soon as he walks into your home is pee on the floor. You feel a tinge of anger creep in, but it’s a new relationship so you just clean up the mess and move on.
Fast forward to two weeks later, you and your puppy come inside from a potty break and he walks straight to the carpet and pees again. This time it’s full out frustration as you grab your puppy and shove his nose in it. I hear this story over, and over, and over again – typically my response is the same: It’s Your Fault!
I’ve thrown together a quick guide of what has helped me over the years to housebreak a dog and yes, it does require you to crate train your dog.
1.) Buy a crate: A crate should be big enough for the dog to stand up, turn around, and lay down. If you give your pup too much space he or she will use that extra space as he or she pleases. If you have a puppy, most wire crates have a divider piece that will allow you to make the kennel smaller. If it doesn’t I have used a large cardboard box to block off sections of the crate.
2.) Crate train: Crate training is an essential part of housebreaking as it restricts the dog from finding his favorite spot to relieve himself. I can go on for days on how to crate train, so instead of taking up space on the housebreaking blog – I’ll write another blog down the road about crate training.
3.) Create a schedule: Getting your pup on a consistent schedule will help eliminate any accidents. A general rule of thumb for how long your puppy can hold its bladder is 1 hour for every month of age. Having a regular potty schedule, as well as keeping a feeding schedule will help you predict when your pup needs to go outside. I would also recommend removing access to the water bowl 2-3 hours before bedtime.
4.) Go to the same spot: This is not super important but can help speed things along. Take your pup to the same spot every time they go outside. They will have an urge to eliminate in the same area due to smell and you can start marking that behavior with a word, such as “go potty.” An added bonus is this makes “poop scooping” easier!!
5.) Reward your dog: As soon as your pup is done using the restroom, shower him or her in praise or treats. Your timing must be on point so as not to distract the dog from using the restroom.
6.) Tether your puppy: This is the best advice I can give anyone with a puppy that is 6 months or younger. This will take care of most unwanted behaviors as you’re able to manage the dog better on a leash. If you’re not going to pay attention to your puppy while on a leash, then please put them in a crate.
I should point out that your pup will have an accident here and there, but if you’re consistent with the above tips then housebreaking should go rather smoothly and quickly. If you do catch your dog in the act, simply tell them no and move them outside. You can teach your puppy how to ring bells or something of that nature to let you know when they need to go out. I have found this method to be effective, but allows for a lot of room for error, especially if you do not move fast enough.
My best advice is: Find what works best for you and your pet, whether it’s the above tips or something your granddad taught you. Just for the love of dogs, stop shoving their nose in it!