How to Train Puppies

There are many thoughts and theories about how to train puppies. A moderate and eclectic approach to potty train puppies can help in housebreaking your new dog. To crate train puppies, a sensible dog owner will learn more about how a puppy thinks and what is the most humane and effective way to help the puppy learn how to ask to go outside when he needs to eliminate.

How a Dog's Mind Works

It is important to know a bit about the dog mind and dog memory in learning how to train puppies. A puppy's short-term memory is only about 10 to 20 seconds long. All long-term memory, especially related to training, is based on associations to people and places. To effectively train your puppy, he needs to have a positive association to you and one that consistently reminds him that you are the pack leader.

A Positive Approach

A positive approach in training puppies has been shown to yield better results than a negative approach. The best way to potty train puppies is to reward them for the correct behavior versus punishing them for the wrong behavior, especially if it is more than 10 to 20 seconds after they make the mistake.

Giving your dog a treat or special play time immediately after he uses the proper place outdoors to eliminate will make him want to do that behavior again. If you catch him beginning to eliminate in the wrong place, you can discourage the behavior by making a loud sound or saying no. The best teaching, however, takes place after that when you put him outside and reward him for finishing outside. Scolding a dog for mistakes more than 20 seconds after the fact, will only teach the dog to fear eliminating around you. It won't teach him what he is supposed to do.

How to Crate Train Puppies

Utilizing a crate or puppy carrier can make housebreaking much simpler. It's important to introduce your puppy to the crate with treats, a blanket, and toys in the crate before closing the door on him. Give him time to think of the crate as his safe place and his own little cave. A dog will not eliminate where he sleeps unless he is very ill so while he is in his crate, he won't pee or poop. Once he likes the crate, you can put him in and close the door.

A rule of thumb is that a puppy under 3 months of age should only be in a crate for an hour at a time. Then he can stay in the crate for an additional hour for each month older that he gets but never more than 4 hours at a time, 6 at the most. You can keep the crate in an area where other members of the family are so that the puppy doesn't feel isolated. After the appropriate amount of time, if you take the puppy outside for 5 to 10 minutes, he will most likely eliminate. Then you can reward the behavior and play with him before returning him to his crate. After 3 weeks with no accidents, you might be able to try having your puppy out of his crate for longer and longer periods of time.