How-To Potty Train a Puppy

There are many ideas out there for first-time dog owners, but it can be a bit overwhelming when everyone is giving you different suggestions! This article will break it down for you so you can potty train your dog in the way that works for you... and your new furry friend!

So you've got yourself a puppy... congratulations! You and your dog will become best friends in no time, but no amount of love is going to clean up the poop that's probably hidden in little piles throughout your house right now while you are sitting around reading this article. That's why you need to pick a training strategy, and stick to it. Once you decide on your approach, CONSISTENCY is the key to quickly training your puppy. If you have a yard, training your dog to signal when a trip outside is necessary can be very convenient because there is no mess for you to clean up. Using puppy pads can work for people who live in apartments or who plan on leaving the dog inside all day long, but if a dog is trained to go on a square of fabric, he may go to other people's houses and choose to go on their nice white Persian rug because he doesn't see a pad anywhere, and that's the next best thing.

1. If you and the people you live with are gone for more than 4 hours at a time every day and you have no one who can come over to let your dog out, you may want to think about waiting until you have a couple months where you have more free time to get a dog.

2. You should get a crate to keep your dog in during the day because most animals will not go to the bathroom where they sleep unless it is an emergency or they are not feeling well. Do not use the crate as a punishment when they do something bad. Give the dog a treat every time he or she goes in, and fill it with soft blankets and a safe chew toy, like an old sock tied in a knot or one of your old t-shirts. (They love things that smell like you!) You want the crate to be a safe place where they feel relaxed. Make sure the crate is not near a draft or heating vent. Keep it in the same place all the time with the door open, and your dog will actually go in on his own when he wants to take a nap.

3. Do not let your puppy run around when no one is watching him or her. If you watch closely, your dog will start sniffing the ground before he or she goes to the bathroom. If the dog has an accident, it's not his fault... you probably just weren't watching. Rubbing his nose in it or hitting him is only going to confuse a puppy. If he does have an accident, pick him up immediately and take him outside or to his puppy pad if that's what you are using. He might go a little more when you get out there, so give him a chance to sniff around. If you take the dog out about every 2 hours and pay close attention to any sniffing of the ground, you can avoid a lot of accidents. Oh yeah and just like having a child, you will have to take the dog out during the night for the first couple weeks. Don't worry it won't last forever! Their bladders just aren't big enough to hold it all night long, and if they are barking, don't expect them to wait! They are completely dependent on you, so don't be neglectful.

4. Make sure to buy some floor/furniture spray that neutralizes pet odor. This isn't just for your own benefit. Regular carpet cleaner won't do it, either. Your puppy smells for his scent to tell him where to go, and if he gets a whiff of an old spot where he had an accident, he is likely to use that spot again. If you live in a house where there have been dogs before it may be more difficult to potty train for this reason. The scent can last for years in carpet; so make sure to shampoo before you bring your puppy home!

5. Make sure you feed your dog the same exact brand and amount of food regularly and keep fresh water in his dish. When you first bring him home, try to find out what food he was eating before you had him. If you are determined to change to a different brand, switch slowly. Many puppies start off eating soft food, but hard food is better for their teeth, so a mix of the two can do well for awhile until his baby teeth come in all the way. DON'T EVER FEED THE PUPPY TABLE FOOD!!! It's like training him to beg, and it's not good for him. Improper feeding and dehydration can lead to diarrhea... and as we all know, this can lead to accidents that even a trained dog might not be able to prevent! Talk to your vet about how much and how often to feed your dog. Some puppies will overeat if you leave food out all day, so feeding a small meal 3 times a day is best.

6. Give your dog a small treat every time he does his business where you want him to. Positive reinforcement has a much stronger effect than negative!! Don't try to punish your puppy if you find a spot but did not see him make it. A puppy's memory is pretty short-term, and if it's more than a minute or two old, he won't remember doing it and will have no idea why you are yelling at him.

7. Remember to be consistent!!!! Even down to the types of treats you feed your dog and the door you use to go outside, getting your dog into a routine is the best way to get him or her trained quickly. Stick with it, and you'll be happy you did when you have a well-trained dog!

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