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Housebreaking Puppies

Housetraining PuppyThere are several methods of housebreaking puppies. We always believe in rewarding your puppy and keeping it positive. Your puppy actually does not know that he/she has done something that you don’t like. You need to teach them in a positive way that going to the bathroom outside is going to make you very happy! When you are consistent and positive, you can successfully train your puppy to toilet outside the home.

Clicker training and supervision can and should be combined with crate training since it is impossible to watch your new puppy 100% of the time. We feel that using a crate is one of the most effective and quickest ways of housebreaking puppies.

We know that some of you may be resistant to the idea of training your new puppy using a crate, but when used appropriately for short periods of time, it is a quick and totally humane way to get your puppy to understand that they are going to make you much happier if they go to the bathroom out of doors.  The trick is to always use the crate in a positive way and NEVER put your puppy in there as punishment for something that you perceive they did wrong. The truth is that they do not instinctually know where to go to the bathroom.

One of the things that puppies do know is that they don’t like to be close to their urine and defecation. A crate helps take advantage of this and teaches them to hold off going until you take them outdoors to go in the place you choose.

In our opinion, paper training is not a good method for house training. Certain situation sometimes make it difficult to get your puppy outside immediately when they are showing signs of needing to go. If you live in a high rise building and have a balcony, you might want to consider boxes that you can plant with grass and other systems that simulate a outdoor environment that is not too far away. These can be quite helpful, and can be used later if you can train your dog to use it when you are away.

A crate is definitely *not* designed to be a permanent place to keep your puppy for very long periods of time. When used appropriately, many crate-trained puppies learn to enjoy their crate and will seek it out even when you don’t require crating. They will enjoy their crate more if they do not associate it with having to hold their urine for many hours. Our dogs have all been crate-trained, and they like to retreat to their crates, which we don’t need to close anymore since they are fully housetrained.

Some Tips for Housebreaking Puppies:

  •  Housebreaking Puppies - Image of puppy in her crate

    Photo courtesy of bdollproject on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

    Take vacation time to housebreak your new puppy

  • Carefully monitor food and water intake
  • Out-of-crate sessions need to be 100% monitored by you
  • Do not keep a new puppy in their crate for more than two hours at a time without interaction with you outside their crate
  • Reward lavishly when they go to the bathroom outside
  • Do *not* punish mistakes
  • Ignore whining, and praise quiet behavior in crate
  • At night, it is best to keep the crate out of your room so that you can sleep, but set an alarm and walk your puppy twice during the night

Video Training About Housebreaking Puppies

Below are some links to two great videos, explaining how crate training works for housebreaking puppies, what to look for in a crate, getting the proper sized crate and appropriate lengths of time to keep your puppy in a crate.

The videos are from Dr. Matthew Wheaton, DVM, of the Alicia Pet Care Center of Mission Viejo, California. His video series on crate training puppies is in two parts and imparts some very useful recommendations on housebreaking puppies.

Here is the 1st Video on Housebreaking Puppies Using Crate Training:

Here is the 2nd Video on Housebreaking Puppies Using Crate Training:

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