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Housebreaking a Puppy

Although there are many different methods of housebreaking a puppy or housetraining, it is an essential task that should be addressed early on in the pup’s formative weeks. Most dog owners who wish to bring a new puppy into their home between six and nine weeks of age; this is the time to begin establishing rules and routines of housebreaking a puppy with the new member of your family.

Dogs are relatively clean animals and housebreaking a puppy can usually be accomplished in a short amount of time without extensive input on your part. You must remember that this youngster is adjusting to his new environment. When housebreaking a puppy, you have to remember young puppies have little control over their bowels or bladders and by their nature, animals go when they need to go. Waiting to relieve themselves outdoors is a learned behavior and as such must be taught. Anxiety from being separated from their mother and littermates, introduction into new surroundings, overexcitement, being frightened and marking instincts may all cause a pup to spontaneously urinate from time to time.

There are many different tips and techniques for housebreaking a puppy - some of which are controversial, for these purposes we will briefly outline the basics.

Most people will designate an area such as the kitchen or laundry room as the place to confine their new puppy. These areas will usually have linoleum flooring, making it much easier to clean if an accident does occur when housebreaking a puppy. Some recommend "paper training" the pup, however, others argue that this can confuse the dog, making him think it is okay to eliminate in the house.

When housebreaking a puppy is often a good idea to introduce him/her to a crate. A quick tip on crates; most dogs will not eliminate in their crates unless left for too long a period of time. The crate will basically become the dog’s "den" and needs to become the pup’s "safe place." Therefore, never use the crate as a punishment. Be calm when approaching your pup to remove him from the crate or confined area. If you excite him, he is more likely to urinate before you get him outside.

While housebreaking a puppy designate an outside area specifically for your dog to eliminate or not is up to you, but take your pup out often and give him plenty of praise immediately after he does void! Wherever the pup relieves himself, that area should be kept relatively clean, as leaving feces in an area can attract other dogs and increase the spread of parasites. Dogs are creatures of habit; they like regimentation and will quickly adapt to a schedule. It is therefore important to establish these routines as early as possible and stick to them. You must also learn to read your dog and be aware of his individual needs. Most dogs will display their own individual signals when they are ready to go. Sniffing the floor, circling an area, staring at you or the door, whining or barking can all be indicators to inform you that he needs to relieve himself.

As in all dog training, housebreaking a puppy is a process that requires time and commitment on your part. Above all, remember that being patient and using common sense and consistency will make housebreaking a puppy and other training drills much easier to accomplish for both of you.

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