Friday, September 22, 2006

Housebreaking a Puppy

You absolutely love your new addition to your family. Cute, cuddly, and he tickles you with his wet nose! You have a brand new puppy. As the excitement wears off you may be wondering the most effective method for housebreaking your new family member. This article will examine some ways effectively to housebreak your puppy.

If you have not done so already, it is important to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for your puppy to have a complete examination. If he is in ill health in anyway this can affect the success you have at housebreaking him. It is important to take care of any illnesses that he may have before you begin housebreaking your puppy. You want your puppy's diet to be reliable with a high-quality dry puppy food. As tempting as it may be you should avoid feeding your puppy table scraps and if you prefer canned dog food remember that this type of food can loosen his stool, which will increase the difficulty of housebreaking him/her.

While you are attempting to housebreak your puppy, you will need to keep close eye on him. You may crate train him or keep him confined in a small space with newspapers, in necessary. It will only take a small amount of time for your puppy to have a house-soiling accident. Some signals to watch for when your puppy is ready to go outside is when they start sniffing the floor, walking in circles, or suddenly running out of sight. When you see this behavior, it is time to take them outdoors. You do not want to leave your puppy alone for extended periods of time. They need a balance of companionship and exercise. If you leave your puppy alone for extensive amounts of time this can be very detrimental to your puppy and can sabotage your efforts at housebreaking along with contributing to numerous other behavioral problems.

In the beginning phase of training, keep a journal of the times your puppy urinates and defecates. Note the intervals in between elimination. This will give you an idea of when to take him outside and will lessen the accidents that occur within the home. Puppies normally need to urinate shortly after they eat, drink water, play, chew, or sleep (quite frequently until they learn to control their bladder). For the majority of puppies over ten weeks old that means you should be prepared to take them outside no less than five to ten times per day. When you are taking your puppy for a walk, you should not come back in until they have either urinated or defecated outside. Yes, they will want to sniff, run, and jump - this is normal - but you are also teaching them that outside is where they urinate. Something to remember, puppies are smart, and if it happens to be cold or they simply do not want to be outside they will tinkle a little bit and want to go in. Do not give in to this (even if you are cold) remain outside until they have fully eliminated the bladder. As soon as your puppy eliminates outdoors offer him generous praise and a special treat.

Praising your puppy is an excellent behavior modification tool and works great for housebreaking (along with those treats). Choose a trigger word when you take him out such as, "potty," "business," or another word of your choosing. Say this word when you take him outdoors and while you want him to eliminate. Repeat this word when he is done and you are going inside for a treat. Delayed praise is ineffective and will not yield the results you are looking for.

You may find that your puppy prefers certain surfaces to eliminate on, such as rugs. When you notice this keep your puppy away from these areas until he has learned the appropriate place to eliminate.

About the Author

Zahid N. Sindhu is a dog enthusiast who, after noticing the lack of an online resource for dog lovers in Pakistan, decided to launch The site features a comprehensive list of breeds, breeders, veterinarians and online classifieds. The site also has a forum where people meet to discuss their canine friends.

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