Housebreaking a Puppy When You Work

Housebreaking a puppy can be difficult, especially when you work all day. However, you can use training aids to help you even when you aren't home.

Using a Crate

A successful housebreaking program focuses on preventing your dog from making mistakes. If you are always with your puppy to guide him to the correct spot, he will learn will you want him to go and do so. To do this, you must always watch your puppy for cues. If he begins to sniff, you lead him outside. If you can't supervise him, he should be in his crate.

If the crate is properly sized, it should be big enough for your puppy to stand, turn around and lie down. If it's any bigger, use a partition to block him from the rest of the crate. Dogs are clean by nature and won't eliminate in such a small area.

That being said, if you have a small breed or young puppy, he may not be able to hold it for much longer than an hour. It's cruel to leave your puppy in a crate longer than he can hold it, so if you are gone all day, using a crate isn't an option. No dog should be left in his crate for longer than four hours.

Using an X-Pen

If your job keeps you away from home for longer than four hours, you must set up another area to prevent your puppy from making mistakes in the house. There are many options, including a small room partitioned with baby gates or an X-pen, which is like a playpen for puppies. When choosing your area, try to pick a spot without carpet to entice your puppy to go where you'd like him to go.

Set up the area with food and water bowls, a bed, a toy or two and an elimination area. Try to keep the area small enough where your puppy must choose to go in the elimination area. Keep this area away from his bed and food bowls.

Selecting a Litter Box

20 years ago, everyone used newspaper to train puppies when at work. Today, we have many more choices. Which you select will depend on your personal preferences.

The most common selection for housebreaking a puppy is potty pads, small squares of absorbent tissue and plastic. Manufacturers claim that your puppy is attracted to the smell and will be encouraged to use them. This isn't always true, and many puppies are enticed to tear them up.

There are also many litter box options, which use different types of substances on which your dog can eliminate. The best of these use sod or synthetic grass. If you eventually want your dog to eliminate only outside, this is a good choice.

Puppies are very influenced by early experiences and many learn to eliminate only on potty pads. If you are concerned about this, select a substance that is most like where you would like your dog to eliminate when he is older.

If you find that your puppy isn't using the elimination area that you selected, begin leading him to it, on leash, when you believe he needs to go. Stand there for a few minutes and reward him if he does. This will reassure him that he's doing what you want.

As your puppy can hold it longer, you will be able to give him more freedom. However, in the initial stages, you must prevent him from making mistakes, even while you're at work.