Housetraining will not happen overnight. It is a process, just as toddlers are toilet trained. Expect messes here and there so invest in a good amount of pet safe detergents, cleaning supplies and carpet cleaning products. Also a great alley would be a crate. Crates work wonderfully in house training puppies. However, there are a few guidelines you must adhere to in order to succesfully house train your dog.
The Ten Commandments of Dog House Training
1. Purchase the right size crate
Crates work by adhereing to the dog’s natural instinct of not wanting to get soiled. In nature, dogs live in dens and dens are kept clean because dogs dislike sleeping where they soil. So in order to work, a crate should be large enough for the puppy to lay down and turn around but not so large as to allow the dog to defecate or urinate in a corner without being bothered by it. If you are not sure about the size, ask a pet store sales person for help.
2. Follow the month plus 1 rule
If you are not sure how often you should take your puppy out to urinate or defecate, there is a helpful rule of thumb for you to abide to. You will have to calculate how many months your dog is old and add 1. This will give you an approximation of how long your dog can stay without being sent out. For instance, if you have a 3 month old Corgi, you calculate 3 months +1= 4. Your Corgi therefore, should be able to keep his potty times for 4 hours apart. Once he is 4 months old he should be able to keep it for 5 hours and so fort.
3. Know the right times
Puppies and dogs in general feel the need to defecate usually within minutes or half hour right after meals. Puppies also may need to urinate right after they nap and when they play. Read your puppies signs of when he/she may need to go. A puppy that must go may leave the play area and start sniffing around. Catch him in time and take him right away out when he starts this behavior.
4. Tell him “NO”
Dogs must be disciplined within a few seconds in order to undestand their mishaps. If you catch your dog or puppy soiling your carpet say a loud “No” and immediately pick him up and let him finish outside. If he finishes outside, praise lavishly and give a treat. Should you discipline or should you praise, remember to go by the timing rule. Do not scold or praise if more than five seconds have passed otherwise your dog may not know why you are praising or disciplining him.
5. Teach about the door
Every time you see your dog approach the door ask “Outside?”. If the dog seems interested about the door take him out and see if he goes potty. If he does, praise. Sooner than later your dog will train you to open the door once he approaches it, which is a great way to properly toilet train your dog.
6. Give a potty command
Everytime you take the dog or puppy out and he starts to pee or poop say a command such as “Go potty” or “Do your business”. Your dog will learn to associate your words with going potty and later he may learn to pee or poop on command, making it easier for you to house train.
7. Use a good cleaning product
You need cleaning products with enzymes that will neutralize odors. This is very important as a puppy may smell his urine on the carpet and think “Mmm, this is where I went potty last time so it is ok to go here again”. Use these products to cover up all the accident areas. You may need to buy a special light from pet stores that will help you identify soiled areas that need cleaning. Such areas will appear to be fluorescent under the light so you can clean them up.
8. Take pup on walks
Walks stimulate dogs to go on potty. If you must head out and you want your dog to go potty so you can relax knowing he will not soil his crate, take him for a nice 15 minute walk. Most dogs will go right after walking a few steps.
9. Teach your dog to signal
Later on, as the dogs is better house trained you can teach your dog to alert you when he really has to go. If your dog is able to hold it longer, as soon as he approaches the door ignore him. Wait until he will do something new to attract your attention such as bark or whine. As soon as this happens get up promptly and open the door. Your dog will learn to get your attention by telling you vocally, which is great if you are in another room.
10. Practice make perfect
Be forgiving if your dog still now and then has an accident. It make take time to get it right. Most dogs will not be able to keep it through the night until they are 5-6 months old. Don’t forget to praise lavishly when he gets it right.
While house training may feel like a very long time, your dog sooner than later will eventually learn, it is just a matter of time. Just as human toddlers some get it quickly others take a bit more time but they all get it and that is what mostly matters. Eventually, all the cleaning days will be finally over and you wil be amazed of how fast that tiny furball has grown up to be an adult sized dog!