Housetraining puppies

Housetraining your dog can be quite a challenging task. It takes a lot of time, commitment, and most of all, patience.

However, it is very important to realise that your puppy is bound to have several 'toilet-related accidents' in your home. This could go on for weeks, and with smaller breeds, it may take even longer.

One can make it far easier to housetrain one's dog if they follow these tips:

  • Establish a regular schedule for your pet. Take your dog outside on a regular basis. Do this approximately every two hours. Most importantly, remember to always take your dog outside after they have had a nap, had some fun through play, or had their meal.
  • Remember to praise your pet when they have 'done their business' outside. Even give him a treat. This needs to be done immediately after the dog has done its duty, as it is the only way they will know what you want them to do.
  • Identify a private, suitable spot in your garden for your dog to make its mess. Lead your dog to this area on a leash, and take him for a walk after they have made their mess. If by any chance your dog has made a poo in the house, pick it up and drop it off in the area of your garden where you want them to do their business. This will help your pet to notice the area as being its toilet.
  • Keep your dog on a regular eating schedule. This will regulate the bowel and bladder movements of your pet and therefore, you'll know when to keep watch during its time of housetraining.
  • Supervise you pet as much as you possibly can when he is indoors. Look out for signs such as sniffing around the house or circling a specific area. As soon as you see these signs, take your dog outside straight away to their special spot. Praise your dog and reward him with a treat when he does a 'drop-off'.
  • When you need to leave your puppy inside for a long period, give him just enough space to sleep and play, with a separate area for his excrement. Once you notice poo or urine in the area, place it outside in the designated toilet area so your puppy can notice the smell.
  • Do not punish you pet for making its mess indoors. Rather clean it up immediately. Puppies tend to do their business in areas that smell of urine of faeces so it is vital that you clean the soiled area properly.
  • Despite the effective ways of housetraining your dog, your pet can also make a mess indoors if they are perhaps overexcited, frightened, marking their territory, or even separated or anxious. If you notice that your pet is still not house-trained after following these steps, it could also be a medical problem and you should pay a visit to your nearest veterinarian.

Here's how to deal with pet behavioural problems.

 - (Health24, December 2008)

Last updated: July 2012

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