You Have a New Puppy – Now What?
Congratulations – you just got a new puppy! You’re probably excited for all the new changes that having a puppy brings. You should be! Raising a puppy is certainly a rewarding experience, but it can be frustrating at times too. One of the biggest sources of frustration during this time is potty training. Luckily for you, you don’t have to do it alone. This guide will help save you time, money and frustration in cleaning up accidents. More importantly, however, you will be setting your puppy up for a successful adult life. Follow these tips and you can make this time a bit easier for both you and your new furry friend.
Regular Feeding Schedule
By feeding your puppy on a consistent schedule, it will make it easier for you to anticipate trips outside. Generally, puppies need to be fed around three to four times a day (depending on age) so be sure to space these feedings out.
Establish a Potty Spot
Pick a spot to take your puppy for potty breaks and stick to it. He’ll recognize it as his territory, and this consistency can make it easier to get him to go.
Learn the Signs
Knowing when your puppy needs to go can help you get him outside before an accident happens. Lookout for the following behavior:
- Pacing in circles
- Whining or whimpering
- Sniffing the floor
- Barking or scratching at the door
Go Outside Often
A good rule of thumb is to take your puppy outside first thing in the morning or whenever they wake up from a nap, after every feeding, during vigorous play sessions and immediately upon seeing any of the above cues. With time you’ll eventually have a good idea of how often he needs to go.
Give Him Positive Reinforcement
Let your puppy know you’d like them to continue this good behavior by rewarding him. How you do this is up to you – you can give him a treat or just praise him. Whatever you choose to do though, make sure to do it right after they are done relieving themselves, so they know exactly which behavior you want them to continue. It is also a good idea to associate a word with their bathroom behavior while they are doing they’re business by repeating it as they are going. Through repetition and association, they will learn this word to mean it is time to go outside and do they’re business.
Crate or Cage Training
Using a crate or cage is very helpful with house breaking your puppy. You will have times when you are busy and cannot keep a close eye on the puppy. This is when most of the puppy’s accidents will occur. By using a crate or cage during these times your puppy is less likely to have an accident then if they are running free. As soon as you take the puppy out of the cage or crate you must immediately take them outside to potty. The cage will not keep them from going forever but will buy you some time when you are busy.
Accidents Will Happen
Even the most attentive puppy parents will experience accidents. However, it’s how you react to these accidents that really matters. Make sure you calmly address the situation and redirect your puppy to his designated potty spot. Yelling at him could be confusing and may lead to more accidents in the future or a unwillingness to potty in front of you when you take them outside. Also, you’ll need to clean up the mess as soon as possible. Smelling urine or feces in your home could lead him to think it’s okay to relieve himself indoors. Do not let the puppy watch you clean up the mess. This will look like the behavior they saw the mother dog do when she was still caring for them. They will then think they are suppose to potty just anywhere and you will clean it up.
We know it’s tough but remember to have patience – your puppy will learn if you keep at it. It takes time and effort but once you’ve finally gotten him potty trained all the stress and frustration will have been worth it. Good luck!