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Housebreaking a Puppy: Advice for Beginners

Jun 25, 2008
The first training lesson for pet owners is housebreaking a puppy outdoors. The appropriate age for teaching your pet to eliminate is usually done when the puppy is between six and eight weeks old. Dogs whose ages start from four weeks have been started on the program. However, at that age, only a small number of dogs have developed proper muscular control to make it outside when going potty.

The dog owner's patience is as important as the dog's temperament. This is typical in any dog training routine. Different behaviors like "sit" or "stay" can usually be learned quickly. Potty training, on the other hand, usually requires weeks and sometimes even a month or more to accomplish.

Like other taught behaviors, it is a good idea to look for signs of the intended behavior, then guide the puppy with a voice command and reward it with praise. This technique works to the pet owner's advantage as all pets have to eliminate waste sooner or later. The idea is to train the puppy to do their business at the appropriate time and place.

When housebreaking your puppy, you need to watch for circling or squatting. Once you've spotted this behavior, you need to pick up the puppy and say "outside." Then quickly take the puppy outside. As the puppy begins to go, you need to give it a recognizable command such as "go potty" using a strong and clear voice, but not an angry one. Once the puppy is done, lavish your puppy with praise and do it on the spot.

If you fail to catch the puppy before it begins to go potty, don't get upset or annoyed. Your dog will need some time to learn the desired behavior, as well as to develop proper control of its bowel and bladder muscles.

Usually, a puppy will need to go once every two or three hours. If you don't observe any pre-elimination behavior within that period, bring the dog outside, just in case. Tell it to "go potty," and then be patient.

Of course, in the beginning, the dog will have no idea what you want it to do. Watch and wait for the appropriate behavior, and then give the command. That will allow the dog to quickly link the command with the behavior. In case nothing happens after several minutes, let the dog inside again but watch for behavior that may indicate a need to go potty. Then return outside and let the puppy go potty.

Dogs can quickly pick up precisely what their alpha (or leader) would like. This usually happens when the dog owner helps the dog associate a spoken command with an action, and then praising the dog for doing the right thing. Punishment generally gets you nowhere and this is especially true when it comes to housebreaking a puppy. Do not physically harm your puppy when accidents happen and never put a dog's nose into its own mess.

Paper training is another method that some dog owners use. A dog can be trained to go potty on a newspaper or on highly absorbent housebreaking pads that are treated to attract dogs to use them. A few smaller breeds of dogs that stay at home all day can be potty trained indoors. This is also an option for pet owners who do not have a yard where they can do elimination training for their dogs.

This process, however, has some negative aspects. Dogs, unlike cats, do not like to use scented litter boxes. The use of newspapers soon results in a bad odor, even when the "dirty" parts on top are regularly disposed of.

Dogs have such a good sense of smell that they can detect their own odor and they actually like it. Therein lies the problem. A paper-trained dog will smell his odor indoors and will usually choose to eliminate indoors rather than outdoors. And what's worse, it may often miss the paper and leave a mess for you to clean up.

Dogs tend to seek the same spot after detecting its odor and consider that as the place where it is supposed to go potty. This makes it even more difficult to teach the dog to go potty outside. Rather than create a habit that is hard to break, it's better to suffer through a few accidents.

Have patience and be consistent as you continue your dog training efforts. Also, make sure to praise your dog when you get the desired behavior. Housebreaking a puppy can be difficult, but if you persevere, you will soon get the results you want.
About the Author
Looking for supplies for housebreaking a puppy ? Visit www.happydogstoday.com , and find great items like dog grooming supplies, dog training aids & more.
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