The principles underlying housetraining are very simple. You want to teach your puppy to eliminate on a specific surface or in a specific location, while at the same time preventing him from developing a habit of eliminating on any unacceptable surfaces or areas. Following are some tips for successful housetraining. Ask your veterinarian about paper training if it is not practical to take your puppy outdoors to eliminate.
Keep Your Puppy within Eyesight
Prevent your puppy from starting any bad habits in the home by keeping him within eyesight of a family member 100 percent of the time. When this can't be done, your puppy should be confined to a relatively small, safe area. Your puppy should be under supervision or confined until he has gone at least four consecutive weeks without soiling in the home.
Create a Schedule
Teach your puppy where to eliminate by frequently taking him to the desired area and allowing him to sniff around. Your puppy should go out shortly after he eats, plays, wakes up from a nap, before confinement and whenever he sniffs around like he has to eliminate. Feed your puppy two to three times daily on a regular schedule. Avoid feeding your puppy for an hour before confinement and before bedtime.
Reward Good Behavior
As your puppy eliminates, quietly praise him, and when he finishes, give a Science Diet™ Puppy Treat or Science Diet™ Puppy kibble as a reward. Reward him immediately, not after he returns indoors.
Puppies are not perfect and messes will occur. When this happens, do not make the mistake of punishing your puppy. This will damage your relationship and may actually slow down house training. If you catch your puppy in the act of eliminating in an unacceptable area, make a sharp noise (clap your hands, stomp the floor) without saying anything. You just want to interrupt the behavior, not do anything that will frighten your puppy. Then, immediately take your puppy outdoors to finish. Be sure to clean up any odor from floors and carpeting to help prevent resoiling. Wash bedding regularly and take your puppy out during the night if necessary, as sleeping on soiled bedding could slow down your puppy's housetraining.
About Dr. Wayne Hunthausen, DVM
The Puppy Training section was contributed by Wayne Hunthausen, DVM. Dr. Hunthausen is a veterinarian and pet behavior consultant who has worked with pet owners and veterinarians throughout North America since 1982 to solve companion animal behavior problems. He has also served as the president and executive board member of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior.
Dr. Hunthausen has written for numerous pet publications, co-authored pet behavior books and helped develop an award-winning safety video for children and pets. In his spare time, he is an avid photographer and enjoys skiing, cycling, movies, traveling with his wife, Jan, and hiking with their dogs Ralphie, Beau and Peugeot.