Saturday, August 8, 2015

New Puppy Day 4 - House training

Hi again Judy,

OK, after a few days things are starting to settle down now.  The puppy understands that crate time is a good thing and is actually sleeping thought the night (well until about 5 am anyway)!  We have the crates all set up and her area in the kitchen is all set up with her crate and bed and toys.  The kids are learning that the more they get excited, the more the puppy nips and chases them, and while they still have trouble with this I now have a way to keep the puppy from chasing them since she’s dragging her tether around and all I have to do is step on it to prevent the chasing and nipping problems we were having before.

My next question is about house training.  She keeps having accidents in the house and I’m wondering if it would be ok to put down pee pads for her?

Judy’s Response

I’m glad to hear the crate and the nipping and jumping are coming under control.  At this stage a lot of training is really about managing the puppy so they can be successful.  I.E. Making sure they CAN’T get into trouble in the first place. 

The same is true with house training.  It’s all about preventing accidents.  I do NOT recommend the use of papers or pee pads as ultimately this sends the puppy mixed signals (do you really want your dog learning it’s ok to eliminate in the house?).

So the trick here is to make your dog successful, this means setting up a schedule that works for you and your dog and taking them out frequently enough and at the right times so that they don’t have the opportunity to eliminate in the house.  In addition we have to help the dog distinguish that eliminating outside is a good thing, so every time they eliminate outside we click and treat!  Make sure you do that just AFTER the dog has finished, if you click too soon (while the dog is eliminating) some dogs will stop to get the treat and then finish the job as soon as they get inside!
Until you get to know your puppy’s routine I recommend you take the dog out at least every hour during the daytime.  Amazingly, most puppies can hold it overnight so no need to get up in the middle of the night unless the puppy is insisting on it.

In addition to the hourly trip outside, any time the pup is active they will need to eliminate more frequently (sometimes as often as every 15 minutes) and any time the pup wakes up from a nap – outside again!

Often house training accidents can be traced to a lack of supervision.  If you puppy is not under your direct and ACTIVE supervision (wandering around the gated area of your kitchen while you make breakfast is NOT active supervision), or outside under supervision then they should be in a crate or small gated off area, this could also be an exercise pen set up with their crate and bedding in it.

While under supervision watch for the tell-tale signs that your dog needs to go. 
-          Sudden disengagement from play
-          Sniffing
-          Circling
-          Running to a corner or hidden area of the room
-          Going to the door and looking at you expectantly (if you are lucky)
While not all puppies give these signs a lot will, you just have to learn to see them!

Good Luck - keep me up on what's going on.

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