It may seem as if housebreaking your puppy is breaking your spirit, not to mention ruining your favorite carpet. Soldier on. It will get better. Start with the proper attitude: love, patience, and consistent behavior will go a long way in making sure you train your new effectively. And since it’s probably not realistic to think you can constantly supervise your puppy as he is being housebroken, here are a couple of tried-and- true methods to breaking in your pet without breaking your spirit.
There are two major methods to housebreaking your puppy recommended by Trupanion pet insurance. Ultimately, you’ll have to decide which method is right for you. Definitely touch base with your veterinarian and see which one they recommend.
Get your hands on pretreated pads or paper that is scented to attract your puppy in his time of need. Lay them down in key spots around your home. When your puppy starts his pre-potty routine, every dog has a “tell” such as circling and sniffing the floor, reposition him on his paper or pads. As he gets comfy with the process and starts seeking out the papers on his own, move the papers closer to the door, then outside, then remove them altogether.
You’re not a bad pet owner if you keep your puppy in a crate while housebreaking him, although you may feel that way at first. It’s not puppy jail! In fact, your puppy will come to regard the crate as his bedroom and he will be reluctant to mess his bed. He’ll start to learn that he can “hold it” until you let him out of the crate. Whenever you are not home or unable to watch your puppy, place him in the crate. But be sure to take your puppy outside right before putting him in and letting him out of the crate. Don’t put food or water in the crate (remember, it’s his bedroom, not the dining room); a blanket and toy will do just fine.
A Few Final Thoughts
Regardless of which method you choose, there are a few other tips for housebreaking your puppy. Use consistent and distinctive verbal cues, such as “Outside?” or “Potty?” or “Gotta go?”, to steer your puppy toward the door and doing his business outside. While outside, use another word or phrase to cue him, and praise him when he’s relieved himself. Like us, a puppy responds well to a good ego stroking.
If you don’t see your puppy in the process, don’t punish him. He won’t know why you’re scolding him! Instead, pick up your puppy (remember you adore him!), say “No,” and move him toward the door or his papers. It’s also good to push his tail down, as it might act like a handle and turn off the faucet, if you get our drift. Punishment may actually make your puppy nervous and you’ll suffer a setback. Remember: Positive reinforcement = good, punishment = bad.