You’ve finally picked up your new, fluffy little bundle of joy and taken it home. But now what? The number one question on most new pet parent’s minds is, “How am I going to potty train my new puppy?” Setting a training plan in place to help your puppy adjust and transition to his new home is crucial and will make the process a lot smoother. At Anasazi Animal Clinic serving Gilbert & Chandler, AZ, we’re convinced success in this initial training period will help set you and your pet up for a happy life together, one reason we’re sharing the following suggestions on house training methods for pets.
Establish a Routine
In one sense, puppies are like babies; They do well when they have a schedule to follow. Knowing when it is time to eat and when it is time to go outside will help your puppy immensely in the house training process.
Food. Puppies have small stomachs and a maturing digestive system, which means they need to eat 3-4 small meals a day. Employing a regular feeding schedule allows you to anticipate when your puppy will need “outside” time.
Water. Your puppy should be given unlimited access to water throughout the day, but it may be a good idea to take the water bowl away two and a half hours before bedtime. This will lessen the chance that your puppy will need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Outside time. A general rule for puppies is that they can hold their bladder one hour for each month they age. So a two-month-old puppy will need to go to go to the bathroom at least once every two hours.
Use Positive Reinforcement
A key to the training process is to praise or reward your new pup when it “goes” outside. To be effective, the reward needs to be given right after your puppy eliminates. If you reward your puppy once you’ve come back inside, the positive reinforcement opportunity will be lost. Instead, take a treat with you on the trip outside, so you can immediately reinforce your new puppy’s good behavior.
Here’s another important insight on the training process. Punishing your puppy for soiling your rug or floor inside the house will only make it afraid of you. That fear will cause them to prefer eliminating when you’re not present and increase the likelihood of your puppy relieving itself again inside the home. If you catch your puppy in the act, interrupt it and take it outside to finish. If it finishes before you can get to it, the teachable moment is gone.
Remember, the key to training any dog is to have patience. It’s normal for housetraining of your new friend to take 4-6 months. The more patience and time you have for your pet, the easier training will be. Whether your goal is to have your pup potty outside within two weeks, walk calmly at your side, or bring your paper to you, training creates a bond between you and your pet that will last a lifetime. Our staff at Anasazi Animal Clinic hopes your relationship with your new canine family member will be a joy for both you and your pet!
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (3/14/2018) Michael (Flickr)