House training a young dog is all about patience, positive reinforcement, and consistency. Our objective should be to instill good habits while bonding with your pet.
Some pups may take as much as a year to be fully house trained, but typically it takes 4-6 months. Size can be a measure for this, as smaller breeds have a higher metabolism, smaller bladders and thus require more frequent trips outdoors. Their previous living environment can be another influence, and you may need to break his old habits in order to establish more desirable ones.
You can start out by taking your pup out at the first sign he needs to go and offer him rewards in return.
When to Begin
When a pup is 12 – 16 weeks old, he will have enough control of his bladder and bowel movements to learn to restrain himself. If you adopt a pup older than 12 weeks, house training may be tougher as you might have to reshape his behavior.
Signs to Look For
Sniffing, barking, whining, circling, or if your puppy is unconfined, scratching at the door, can all be signs that he needs to go. Be sure to allow him outside right away.
Steps to take
It’s recommended to confine the puppy to a defined space, be it a crate, a room, or a leash. As your puppy gradually learns to do his business outside, you can give him more freedom to roam about the house. In addition, follow the below:
- Keep the puppy on a regular schedule and do not give it food between meals.
- Take your puppy out to relieve itself first thing in the morning and then once every few hours. If possible, take them outside after meals, when it wakes from a nap, the last thing at night and before he’s left alone.
- If you take your pup to a regular spot, his scent will prompt him to go.
- When your puppy relieves himself outside, reward him with a treat. A walk around the neighborhood can be nice too.
- A crate can be a good idea for house training your puppy in the short term. It will allow you to watch him for signs and teach him to hold on until you let him outside the crate.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Punishing your puppy for an accidental incident is a definite no-no. It will only teach him to fear you.
- Instead, if you catch your puppy in the act, clap loudly, so he knows he’s done something unpleasant. Proceed to take him outside leading gently by the collar. Once he’s finished, praise him or give him a small treat.
- Never react angrily by yelling or scolding him. Pups aren’t mature enough to connect your behavior with their accident.
- Spending more time outdoors with your pup may help curb accidental incidents.
- It’s better to clean up accidents that happen indoors with an enzymatic cleaner as opposed to an ammonia-based cleaner to neutralize odors that may attract the pup back to the same spot.
Related Post: How you can get your pet’s smell off you!