Welcoming a new puppy to the household is an exciting experience, after all this little bundle of fluff is going to be part of your family for the next 8-15 years. However, having a young puppy is also a lot of work.
They are relying on you to look after them, and part of this looking after involves house training them. Nothing can be more frustrating to waking up to piles of poop week after week, or finding your puppy has gone in the house yet again.
So where do you start?
First things first, you need to remember that your 8 week old charge is like a small child. At this stage, they are focused on three main things; eating, sleeping and playing. Luckily, this also provides an indication about when they are going to need to go outside and you can base your training around this schedule.
The second thing to remember is that your puppy will also decide they need to go to the toilet, and then at this age they will have to go pretty much immediately. Self-control is somewhat lacking with a young puppy! Yet if you follow a few simple rules you can help them get the hang of it pretty quickly.
The rules There are three key times to take your puppy outside; immediately after feeding, after they have woken up and after play time. The crucial thing is little and often. They can’t hold it for that long, so don’t expect them to. When you take them outside, praise them when they go. Give them a fuss and make them aware that you are pleased with them.
Saying a command as they go will help them learn to associate it with the action, and they will start to catch on with what you want them to do. If you do not want your dog to mess everywhere in your yard or garden, it is perfectly fine to train them to go in a certain set aside area.
Take them out to this area every day so they get used to it and learn that this is where they need to go. Remember, many dogs will not like urinating on concrete due to splashing (and who can blame them!), so consider having this area made of grass or gravel.
Always take your puppy out first thing in the morning and last thing at night too. Accidents overnight are inevitable to start with, but by doing this you are minimising the chances of it happening. If they do stay clean overnight, give them lots of praise in the morning and again when they go outside.
This is good progress after all! What to do if they have an accident Telling your puppy off after they have messed indoors achieves little. If you do not see it happen, there is NO point in it. All you are doing is confusing them; they will not understand what they are being reprimanded for. At best you’ll have a confused puppy, at worst a frightened puppy. They may start to associate them greeting you with a negative response. DO NOT rub their nose in it. It achieves little and is upsetting for them. If you catch them in the act, either whizz them outside very quickly (try not to get weed on!) and then praise them when they continue there.
Or, reprimand with a short sharp ‘ah’ sound (which may make them hesitate and then again you can get them outside) or a firm ‘no’. If you cannot watch them all the time but are able to give them outside access, when they are little it is easier if they do not have the run of the whole house.
This way if they need to go they do not have to go very far until they are outside. As they mature and are able to show more self-control they can gradually be given access to more and more of the house again. If they do go in the house, make sure it is cleaned up well. The smell will encourage them to go there again, so give the area a good scrub!
Conclusion: Having a puppy is a rewarding experience, and once they are house trained it is a weight off your mind. However it will take time, but with a little patience and hard work at the start your puppy will soon get the hang of it!
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