The Dos and Donts of Housetraining a New Puppy - The Trupanion Blog
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The Dos and Donts of Housetraining a New Puppy


Few things are as exciting as a new puppy. They are sweet, lovable, and so darn cute! Puppies are just like babies, and with each comes a whole new set of responsibilities; you have to teach them how to communicate their needs, interact with other people and animals, and how to take care of their business in the proper spot. Starting to housetrain a puppy can feel overwhelming, and there is so much information out there, but these simple housetraining do’s and don’ts will get you started on the right path.

puppy-housetrainingDo: Establish a Routine with Your New Puppy

A schedule will train your puppy’s body to expect certain things at certain times, so they are ready when it is time to eat or go to the bathroom. By taking him to the same spot at the same time each day, you teach that this is the time and place to relieve himself. Giving praise and a small treat will further reinforce this lesson. Feeding times are also important during this period. Feed your puppy at the same time each day and make sure to take him out 30 minutes after he eats.

Don’t: Change Your Puppy’s Food during Training

Puppies have sensitive stomachs and giving them new dog food can have a negative effect on digestion. Unless there is a medical need, don’t change their food while they are potty training.

Do: Offer Treats When Going Outside

A little praise and a small treat can go a long way in potty training your puppy. It shows they have done something right and encourages them to continue with that behavior.

Don’t: Get Frustrated When Your Puppy Has an Accident

Housetraining is a process and your puppy will make mistakes. If you catch yours in the act, interrupt and place them where they should be eliminating. Be careful not to scare or hurt your puppy, as this can cause them to stop eliminating completely or think negatively about bodily functions. If you find excrement, but do not see the puppy do it, clean it up without a fuss. Punishing a dog after the fact is ineffective as they do not relate the act with the result.

Do: Crate Your Puppy When You are not Watching

While your puppy is small, you need to have an eye on them at all times. Puppies can quickly get themselves into mischief and eat things that might hurt them or make them sick. This is especially important when you are housetraining. Puppies need to be told immediately what they have done is wrong. If you do not catch them in the act, it is useless to punish them after the fact. If you are busy and cannot watch your puppy, confine them. Put them in a space, like a crate, that is large enough for to turn around in, but not big enough that they will want to eliminate there. Dogs are naturally den-dwelling creatures. If you make the crate a cozy den, puppies will enjoy time spent there and you can relax knowing they are safe.

These practical steps can get you on the right track to a loving relationship with your new puppy, but don’t stop there. There are many more things to teach your dog. You must teach them to be friendly in all environments, and not to bite or scratch. Puppies can bring so much love to a family if you train them properly.

About the Author: Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. If you have an accident while training your new puppy make sure you have resources like a dog bite attorney or dog trainer on hand that you can contact. Brooke is available via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.


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