Housebreaking may be one of the most important training steps when bringing home a new puppy. The process can take awhile, not to mention be a messy one with lots of accidents.
It’s important to remember that housebreaking takes time and to be patient – you’ll both get the hang of it quicker that way!
To help new dog owners housebreak their puppies, the American Kennel Club offers the following tips:
Create a consistent schedule: If your dog knows when bathroom breaks are, accidents are less likely to occur. When you first begin training, take them outside on the leash to the same spot, and stay there while they do their business. In the mornings, before bedtime, after naps and feedings, you should bring your puppy out to housebreak them; after a while, they’ll know when it’s time to go.
Establishing a schedule not only for when you take your puppy out, but also when you feed them, wake them, and put them to bed will make their training easier.
Crating: Utilising a crate for your dog is a great training mechanism – if it’s the right size. This should be a safe and positive experience for your dog; crating should not be used as a punishment in any way.
To see if your crate is the proper size, your dog should be able to stand up inside of it and turn around in a full circle. But there also shouldn’t be so much room in the crate where the dog can sleep on one side and soil the other end of the crate.
Always bring your puppy outside to go to the bathroom before and after putting them in the crate, and should only be in it for three to four hours a day.
Praise and reward: Rewarding your dog after doing their business is as important as creating a schedule. Rewarding good behaviour reinforces this, so it’s important to stay consistent and positive. Once your dog successfully goes to the bathroom outside, reward them with praise and a treat. Do not punish your dog for any accidents that may occur when you aren’t watching. – Tribune News Service/American Kennel Club
Additional housebreaking tips can be found online at the American Kennel Club website at akc.org.