So you’ve brought your fur ball home. The kennel told you he was house trained but, they lied. You have carpets that you’ve been scrubbing wee out of and cleaned up more poop than you care to share. What do you do? Do you role up a newspaper and whack your puppy over the nose? Do you lock him outside and hope that he understands why hes left outside? What do you do? How do you house train this ball of joy?
Firstly, you wan to make sure you are feeding your pet on a regular schedule. Personally I am a Hills fan. I love their dedication to dog nutrition and health and they have a wide range of wet and dry food catered your your dogs specific size, breed and activity which makes your job as their parent a hell of a lot easier and your vet bills a hell of a lot cheaper.
You want to make sure that you do not give your new friend too much freedom. You want to control your pups environment which is an extremely important thing with a new dog and makes potty training not so much of a struggle as it would be if your new pet doesn’t have boundaries put in place. What do I mean by boundaries? I mean actual physical boundaries. You want to introduce your dog to its living space room by room because dogs are not born knowing where they can and cant relieve themselves but it is their instinct not to want to do their business where they live and sleep so you need to teach them that your house, is their house. Controlling your dogs environment is key in helping them to understand the boundaries you are setting. There is no point screaming and shouting at your dog for relieving themselves in your bedroom when you have not put in the effort to train them where their living space is. This is important. I can take my toddler out of diapers but if I never teach him how to use the potty, he would just poo anywhere because, well simply because he needs to poo.
It can take a while for your dog to generalise an entire house. So you absolutely need to control your pets environment room by room the goal being to teach your pet that the whole house is his living space and primary residence. So, give your dog a section of your living room to familiarise himself with, then slowly allow him to generalise the whole space as the living area and then move onto the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom until they realise that the whole house is their living space. Do this by slowly giving your dog access to the rest of the house under heavy supervision and taking them outside very often. They will recognise the affirmation they receive from you when they do their business outside.
Baby gates are a great way to control where your pup can and cant go and play pens are great at giving your pup a controlled space to play with a fav toy or chew toy while you take a break. I recommend a large glass of red to accompany this free time.
Your Dog crate should not be too big or allow too much space for your puppy to pace around in. Obviously it should not cause your dog to hunch or constrict his movement so much that he cant stand, turn around or take at least two steps in. A crate is necessary for when you cant supervise and need to keep your pet from eating your post or just generally staying out of trouble. Please don’t be one of those people who just throw their dogs into the crate and expect their pets not to whine out of fear or anxiety. How would you like it if I locked you in a cage and left the house. Would you trust that I was coming back? Could you be sure that you are safe in the cage? You need to affirm your dogs trust in you so introduce him to the cage by letting them sniff and explore it first. Sit with them and encourage them by giving them treats. Place the treats at the front of the crate, keep the door open so that your pup can go in and out freely. Then start placing the treats further back continuing to let your dog walk in and out the cage freely all the while letting him sniff around and explore. The treat gives a positive association to the crate. You want your dog to feel comfortable and relaxed in and around the crate. If you just chuck him in there, the association to the crate could be one of isolation and mistrust. So don’t do that. You brought this precious soul home, so put in the work it takes to take care of them because they didn’t have a choice in choosing who gets to take care of them.
You may find it helps if you place the crate in your bedroom at night and are close to your pup, then take it back into the lounge during the day. It is okay to get a larger crate once your dog is familiar with his living space because, like i said, they instinctively dont want to poop where they sleep,eat or live. Cats on the other hand….. they plot your murder while you sleep.