With the right crate, constant supervision and patience, you can housebreak your puppy in a week. It's important to make sure someone is at home with him during this week. Puppies are creatures of habit, and keeping to a schedule is important. Enlist the entire family if possible.
Young puppies can not physically control their bodily functions as well as a grown dog. It's important to remember that even after your housebreaking appears to be a success. Not many four-month-old puppies can go eight to 10 hours a day without having an accident. Keeping your puppy to not get a "potty break" for more than a few hours is nothing but poor dog owner training.
To effectively housetrain your dog you must have a crate, if you did not purchase one when you bought your puppy home. The reason crate-training works is that a dog will avoid urinating and defecating in his den. If his crate is too big, then your puppy will not associate it with his nest. That's why it's important to partition part of a larger crate if you bought one to accommodate your puppy's full adult size. Your assignment, if you choose to accept it, is to teach your puppy that your entire home is his den.
Here are some housebreaking tips.
1. Feed your puppy in the morning and in the evening – do not leave food out for him all day. Dogs will normally need to relieve themselves within minutes of eating. After he eats, take the dog outside. When he relieves himself, praise him. Then put him in his crate with some chew toys.
2. The first and second day, take him out to do his business after every meal and every hour. The third day, increase the time to 90 minutes; the fourth day to two hours, the fifth day to two-and-a-half hours, the sixth day to three hours, and the seventh day to four hours. Praise him when he goes outside. Keep him outside for at least 10 minutes during each "potty break." Distract him if he wants to go in before the 10 minutes are up. If he does not tie himself during the "potty break," put him back into his crate until the next break.
3. If you catch your dog in the act of urinating or defecating, say "No!" and take him outside. Keep your puppy, or grown dog, tethered to you while you are housebreaking him if possible. This allows you to see what he's up to and helps you bond.
4. If you find an "accident," do not correct your dog – only correct him if you catch him in the act. Clean it up with a pet deodorizer. It is important to use this product rather than household cleaners because your dog will smell his waste since the household cleaner, and smelling his waste stimulates him to urinate and defecate – right where he is not supposed to.
5. If you have to miss a scheduled "potty break," put your dog in a bathroom or small room that can be closed off from him until his housebreaking is complete. Put down newspaper or puppy pads so you can easily remove any waste and minimize the odor that your dog will be able to smell later.
6. Take puppies that are under 16 weeks old out when they wake up at night. A young puppy can not go all night without relieving himself. Keep both puppies and dogs being housebroken in their crates overnight.
Author: 'Dog Owners Boot Camp'
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