House Training for Puppies

House training for puppies is central to integrating a new puppy into your home. Learning about how the puppy's mind works and learning established techniques is key. It's helpful to get very clear about the behaviors you want from the puppy and to establish a designated toileting area. Treats and other rewards as well as consistent scheduling and simple commands can ensure the success of crate training.

Applying Puppy Cognition and Memory to House Training

There are several tasks to work on in housetraining for puppies that works with the puppy's natural way of thinking. First of all, establishing yourself as the pack leader will automatically encourage the puppy to obey you. You can do this in housetraining by interrupting inappropriate elimination with a loud sound and sternly using the word "no". The puppy will also see you as the alpha if he realizes that everything he gets, from treats to food, comes from you after he obeys a command.

Remember that a puppy has very poor short-term memory. It's important to only interrupt an accident as it's happening versus scolding the puppy after the fact. If you scold the puppy more than 10 seconds after the accident itself, he won't understand what the scolding is about. He'll learn to fear you and try to hide his elimination from you.

Establishing a Designated Toileting Area

Designating a specific area for toileting helps your dog know exactly what is expected of him. Dogs tend to like to eliminate outdoors on grass, dirt or sometimes gravel. Some will use an indoor pad or other indoor grass pads that are on the market. Find a spot you can get to easily each time it's time for your dog to pee or poop. Take him there at key times after eating and when first waking up and provide a treat or favorite toy immediately after he uses the area.

Speaking the Puppy's Language

A puppy understands simple commands that consist of one or two words. He also learns language by repetition. Decide on toileting commands and stick to them. Tell them to anyone else who will be caring for your dog including other family members and dog walkers. The best commands are clear and easy, i.e. "go pee". If you immediately give a treat or reward when the command is obeyed, the puppy will quickly learn the words themselves.

Crate Training and Scheduling

Crate training involves the central concept that a puppy won't eliminate where he sleeps. If you make the crate enticing enough with blankets, toys, and treats, your puppy will feel safe there. Stay with him and keep the door open the first two times you put him in the crate so that it doesn't feel like a jail or scary place.

A puppy can be in the crate for 30 minutes per month of his age. On days when someone is home, it's best to take him out of his crate and to the designated outdoor area every hour to two hours. Create a clear and consistent schedule for elimination times that you can stick to every day. If you're working full-time, you can take the puppy out 20 minutes after breakfast, at noon via a dog walker, right when you get home, 30 minutes after dinner, and once before bed. Consistency equals success.