So you have bought a puppy, and within a short time you have a puddle on the carpet. Housetraining can be started immediately you get your pup home, using dog obedience training techniques, because it is really never too early to start.
But first I want to tell you how I use the traditional rolled up newspaper. Take around 6 to 10 pages from a newspaper and starting at one corner, roll the newspaper into a tight tube. Holding the tube in one hand lift it into a striking position, up behind your head.
Now, with a flick of the wrist, hit yourself repeatedly, in the back of the head and say “I was not watching the puppy – I was not watching the puppy – I was not watching the puppy”. That is as close as you need to get with physical violence in relation to your puppy.
Here is another tip. When you bring your pup home, you have just ripped it away from its mom and siblings and dumped it into a strange environment. It is going to be a little upset and stressed. You need to have bought a dog crate before the dog comes home.
If there is going to be someone at home with the pup, have a good game with the pup to tire him. Let him stop huffing and puffing and then give him a light meal. If you feed any dog immediately after strenuous exercise, you have a good chance of ending up with stomach torsion.
You can stay outside with the pup, let him explore and investigate his world, but watch him.
When his breathing is calm, feed him, and then, as soon as he is finished eating, take him outside and wait for him to poop.
Now put him in the crate and put the crate in an area where the pup can see you. He will settle down and when he wakes up, you will be able to release him from the crate and take him straight outside.
When you go to sleep, the pup should sleep in the crate next to your bed. He will cry but with him close to you, you are able to reassure him, and he will quickly settle down.
A pup’s bladder takes around 4 months to develop and in this time it has little control but pups will seldom mess in their beds, so, as long as you wake up early and take the pup out straight away, you will have dry and clean nights within a few days
Like humans, a pup will usually pee as soon as it wakes up and will poop shortly after eating. So these are the 2 times when you need to be really observant. When you see or hear the pup stir, you take him out of the crate and outside immediately.
You are going to have accidents. Without a doubt. Simply because you will not watch your pup 100% of the time, and because when he goes outside, he may be over excited and he will not totally empty his bladder.
Until he has gained some control of his bladder at around 4 months old, I recommend you use some form of barriers to keep the pup contained in an area that has floors easy to clean whenever he is not in his crate. If you put newspaper on the floor, this will help with the clean up.
The obedience training technique I recommend is the use of a clicker which you use to tell the pup he has just done the right thing by toileting outside. You need to introduce the pup to the noise of the click as quickly as possible.
Start by just clicking and rewarding. Use tiny morsels of roast chicken. About the size of a match head. You want to get as many clicks in as you can in a minute, but every click must be followed instantly with a reward, and the pup must be able to swallow the treat instantly.
This continues for about five minutes. Then slow down the click rate and put a short gap between clicks – around 5 to 10 seconds. You are now teaching the pup that the click means he gets a reward.
Do not do this exercise for more than 5 minutes, and then take a break. When you restart, give the pup around five quick click and treats. The next stage is to start teaching the pup that he will need to earn the click and the treat and this is where you start your dog on training obedience activities, such as the sit, drop and some easy tricks.
Using shaping, along with the click and treat system, will very quickly teach the pup to listen for the click to tell him he has done the right thing.
Toileting outside is the right thing so you use the click to tell the dog he is a good dog. The click must come as soon as the dog finishes his business but be sharp and get that click in as accurately as possible.
What you are now achieving is a dog that gets a click and reward for toileting outside but does not get any reward if he pees inside. How quickly do you think he will start going outside?
Combine this with the crate, and being very aware and observant, and in no time at all you will have a house trained pup.