House breaking your new puppy does not have to be a nightmare if you go about it properly. Believe it or not you can even teach your dog to eliminate in a specific area of your property and go on command.
Here are some simple rules to follow to get off on the right track:
- Use a crate. See "Why Use a Crate".
- Have your pup drag a leash in the house so you can get him /her quickly and it does not learn how to evade you and play the catch me if you can game.
- Watch your pup 100% of the time when he is free in the house.
- Prepare for accidents, they will happen.
- Teach your dog an elimination command. “Hurry Up”, “Do your business”, “Go Pee Pee”, or what ever phrase you choose.
Take your pup out on a leash in the beginning and go to the same place. This will become his soiling area. Stand firm in the place of your choosing until your dog eliminates. Use the catch phrase as they circle and sniff. When your dog eliminates praise! Then move off and play a bit and let the pup explore. If you are lazy, have a fenced yard and you just let your dog out off leash to do it’s business you will have lost the opportunity to teach it where to go and as it matures it will very often not listen to you when it is time to come in. Also your pup may not want to go on a leash when you travel with it. That freedom should come a bit later, or you may cut them free after they eliminate. Again, make a play session as a reward. A treat or two at the proper time can also be an incentive reward.
When you now your dog’s signs that it may need to eliminate ask it if it needs to go using your catch phrase. Often at first the pup will get excited and may even give you a bark or run to the door. Great! You are teaching the pup to tell you it needs to go out. We like to have you do this right after feeding with the dog still in the crate. They most certainly will need to go shortly after eating. Also, with them being in the crate it creates a frustration factor that can help with them verbalizing they want to get out to eliminate.
If you catch your pup starting to eliminate in the house, and you will because you are watching it 100% of the time, right? And it is dragging a leash, right? Startle the pup by clapping your hands, saying no, no, no, or use a negative tone, ehhh, ehhh, ehhh. Then grab the leash immediately and get them out to finish. This is very important because your pup will learn quickly that every time it attempts to go in the house it will get caught. This helps reinforce that he/she must tell you that it needs to go out. If you do not catch your pup in the act of going in the house do not punish it. Often they may sneak off and go. The fault is yours for not watching. Clean it up and be prepared for next time. Remember your pup has a limited time perspective. Catch him/her in the act or you have missed the opportunity to communicate your desires. Any discipline after the fact will cause confusion for your pup and very often the wrong associations.
Be patient, consistent, and fair.