House Breaking

Attitude - The first thing you want to do when you bring a puppy home is bond with him. To the dog, your home is a strange new world and he needs love and affection to adjust to it, not hitting and yelling. Think of a puppy as a baby; would you yell at a six month old baby for making a mistake? Of course not! So we never yell at a dog, and we never use the dog's name with the word "no". When you keep saying "No Spot", then Spot starts to associate his own name with bad feelings.

No Papers - You housebreak your puppy by teaching him to go to the bathroom outside, not by training him to go on newspapers. Housebreaking and paper training are two very different things. It's important for the owner to appreciate this, because if you train a puppy to go on paper, and then expect him to go outside, he's going to be confused.

Outside - You want to take the puppy outside every time after he eats or drinks, then praise him once he goes to the bathroom. It's important to establish a routine, where you feed the puppy and give him water on a regular schedule, then take him out. When you first get a puppy, you should take him outside just to go to the bathroom, because number one he hasn't gotten all his shots yet, and two, you want him to associate going out only with going to the bathroom until the connection as been firmly established.

Accidents - Food stimulates defecation and water stimulates urination, so don't leave the puppy anything to eat or drink if you're going to go away for an hour, because he'll probably have an accident. If a puppy does have an accident, the worst thing to do is rub his nose in it and yell. A dog has a 10-second attention span, so you can't correct his behavior unless you catch him in the act. Not only will yelling fail to teach the dog anything, it will only hurt him emotionally. A dog's hearing is five times better than ours, so when you yell at a puppy, think how loud it must sound to him.

Surroundings - You should give the puppy all his meals and have him sleep in one confined area such as a crate. The puppy will see this area as his own den. This "den" should be relatively small, because this will give the puppy a stronger incentive not to mess it up. If you confine the puppy to a big area, he's likely to go to the bathroom on one side, then come back and sleep on the other.

Effectiveness - Following a non-yelling, non-hitting housebreaking system works. It took the author of this article only three days to housebreak his puppy. All owners can get results like this if they teach rather than holler.

© Jared Foerch  2015