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Housetraining a new puppy

Mon, 01/11/2010 - 10:44am

HOUSE-TRAINING BASICS -- DOGS NEED A DEN!

If you were asked to watch a one-year-old baby and then had to step out of the house -- say to get the mail -- would you allow the baby to crawl around the house or would you put him in a crib or playpen? What could happen if the baby were allowed to crawl around the house alone for an extended period of time? What could happen if a 3 year old were left alone? A five year old? Teaching a puppy to accept a crate is only as cruel as teaching a baby to sleep in a crib. Leaving a dog under the age of two un-crated in the house is equivalent to leaving a child under the age of five home alone. Like children, dogs can eat poisonous things, can get tangled or electrocuted in wires and can injure themselves. Dogs also can suffer from separation anxiety and will often eat household items (such as shoes, clothing, and even furniture) that smell like their owners out of desperation. Teaching a dog to accept a crate is something knowledgeable dog owners do for their dog's own protection. If introduced properly, eventually, the dog will actually seek out his crate as a refuge of his own accord. Puppies and young dogs should be required to sleep in their crates at night and when no one is home. Dogs over two (or past adolescence) can be gradually weaned off their crates. Lastly, the best thing about crates is that they are portable. Take your crate with you when you travel and you can take your dog many places, assuring he will not cause any damage and will be safe from harm.

 
Crate Set-Up:

* Put housebreaking pads at one end, & bed, water, chewies, toys at the other end.

Introducing the Crate:

* Practice going into den, sit with dog, praise and pet. Feed the dog treats.

* Feed every meal in the crate, requiring dog to go into crate before food dish is set down. Close the door while dog eats.

* Close door and walk away. Don't respond to whimpers! Do not open door again until dog is quiet.

* Only make a big deal about going into the den not coming out.

* Leave den door open when home.

* Place den in someone's bedroom at night for dog to sleep in.                               

* Do not allow children to play in den.

 

KEEPING TO A SCHEDULE IS THE KEY!

* Keep the same feeding/exercise routine all 7 days of the week.

* Always feed at the same times, allowing 15-20 minutes to eat, then remove food. Do not allow unlimited access to food.

weaning - 3 mos. = 4x/day 3 mos. - 6 mos. = 3x/day
6 mos. - 12 mos. = 2x/day 1 yr. and over = 1x/day

* Always feed the same diet. Limit treats until housebroken!

* Take outside immediately: after each meal after each drinking session after each nap after each play session before going to bed if sniffing, circling, whining

* Take dog to same spot to do business and wait there.

* Give doing business a word (i.e. "business", "duty" etc.)

* Praise heartily as soon as dog does its business!!!

 

 IF THERE IS A MESS...

* Remember, you do not want the dog to make the connection:

OWNER + MESS = PUNISHMENT

or the dog will never eliminate in your presence and are likely to hold it on a walk outside only to run into the house and eliminate in a remote place like under the bed.

Rule of thumb:

YOU MUST PRAISE YOUR DOG FOR GOING OUTSIDE AT LEAST FIVE TIMES BEFORE EVER SCOLDING HIM FOR GOING INSIDE.
 

* If mess is on papers in den, clean up and use odor remover. Do not punish. Remember that a puppy's muscles are not capable of "holding it" until 14 weeks.

* If you find a mess on the dog's bed, remove bed from den set -up until the dog is housebroken.

* If caught in the act (outside of den) say "Wrong!" and rush dog outside. Even if he has nothing left, tell him "business" and point to the appropriate spot outside.

* NEVER use the word "come" and punish your dog. (He may never come to you on command again!)

* NEVER hit the dog for soiling or rub his nose in his excrement. (Hitting only makes him come to the conclusion that owner + mess = punishment. Rubbing his nose in the excrement makes absolutely no sense to a canine, as dogs usually like the smell of their own and other dogs' excrement enough to sniff it and roll in it.)

* If not caught in act, bring dog to mess and say "Wrong!" at the mess, not at the dog. (This makes a lot more sense to him; he understands you don't like the puddle or pile.) Note:

ONLY DO THIS IF YOU HAVE SUCCESSFULLY PRAISED HIM FOR GOING OUTSIDE AT LEAST FIVE TIMES.

* NEVER discipline submissive wetting. You can attempt to feed the dog a treat as you greet it, since it is very rare for a dog to eat and urinate simultaneously.

* If dog messes in same spot every time, remove odor each time, but start to feed him his dinner in that very spot. Use a pet stain remover or vinegar and water; do not use ammonia-based cleaners, as urine has a lot of ammonia in it.

* If dog messes after the point of being housetrained, check first with your vet for the possibility of illness.*

 And don't forget to be a responsible pet owner and always remove excrement from public or private property.   By doing this, you'll assure that dogs are welcome in your community.