Help! My puppy thinks the house is a potty spot!
One of the most frequently asked questions I hear is about house-training. Sometimes it is more of a scream for help before I re-home the dog!
Perhaps I am getting arrogant because I think it is one of the easiest things for a puppy to learn. It is really a simple process. But then again maybe not. One of my mentors cautioned about arrogance in dog training. I liked the way he put it – everyone’s brain has different priorities. My brain is a dog trainers brain. My doctors brain is a doctor brain. I fill my head with dog stuff, the doctor fills his brain with doctor stuff. So of course, the doctor has trouble house training his puppy. I don’t understand a lot of doctor stuff either. So what is simple to me is very complex for someone else, even really smart people like brain surgeons and engineers.
We have all heard that dogs don’t like to soil where they sleep, so why would they keep eliminating in the house? They don’t sleep in the whole house. We need to only give them small amounts of space and increase it as they earn it and figure out the entire house is the den. So if your puppy is allowed free reign of the house unsupervised, chances are good you will have house-training problems.
We can look to humans to understand the need for a schedule. I was a young mother at one time and as of a few days ago I am new grandmother! All babies lack the ability to control their bowels and bladder until they are around 3 or 4. Puppies are no different. It takes a while for the brain to develop pathways to control those functions. So until the pathways are developed we rely on a schedule. Just like we try to get newborns on a feeding and sleeping schedule and then toddlers on a potty schedule.
When I house-train a puppy there are few necessary tools. One is a crate. Crates are not cruel unless used too much or for punishment. Crates are natural dens and safe places for puppies. Crate training is easy. If you think that is not true, go look for your dog. You will probably find them behind a chair, under a table or something similar. Yep, they made their own den.
The other important item is a tether or a baby gate. Puppy needs to be supervised ALL THE TIME! I use a leash to tether my puppy to me for a few hours each day and alternate between the crate. If I cannot keep my puppy in sight, he or she is in a crate or behind a baby gate on a tile floor or other easily cleaned surface.
Next are good tasty treats. Use a few treats to reward eliminating in the right spot.
Now for the most important item – a schedule. Your puppy will need to potty shortly after eating, drinking, playing or sleeping. Just like humans. Work your schedule around these life processes and make sure puppy is taken out to potty after these life processes and the rest is really pretty easy.
There are some breeds that are more difficult to house-train because they are so small. But they are trainable, they may just take longer. Any medium to large breed dog that is not house trained by 6 months should be evaluated by a vet. Small breed dogs may take up to 9 months to train.
If you are still having problems contact me for a one on one.
Photo’s from Pixabay.