Posted by Pets Best on 4/12/2006 in Training Tips Articles
A new puppy can be a fun addition to a household, but is a decision that should be thoroughly thought through before making the commitment for the next ten to twenty years. Puppies while being cute and entertaining require a great deal of time, patience and supervision. A young dog is not fully mature until the age of three or four meaning a good number of years before that puppy settles into a quiet adult dog and all puppies even if well supervised will wreck some havoc on a home and yard. If a new puppy is going to join your household or already has the first steps to take are potty training and puppy proofing.
…The key to potty training is setting your dog up for success by creating a daily routine of pattern behaviors…
Potty training is an absolute must for a canine companion in order to allow them in the house and in public environments. The key to potty training is setting your dog up for success by creating a daily routine of pattern behaviors. To start a new puppy off give them a safe and comfortable doggy space such as a crate where they can eat, sleep and are unable to exhibit any bad choices. The area should be small enough that your puppy cannot go potty on one end and sleep on the other. Dogs do not like to eliminate any place they sleep or eat so go ahead and feed meals in the crate or small space and in addition this will keep the space positive.
During the day set your pet up with a set schedule. Regular feeding times and regular potty breaks are essential, keep in mind a puppy will need to defecate approximately twenty to thirty minutes after a meal. Before allowing your puppy play time in the yard or quiet time in the house, always make sure they eliminate in the appropriate location. Anything is more fun then going potty, therefore it is typically necessary to take your puppy outside on leash, be patient, walk back and forth in the designated location and verbally state to your puppy a cue to go potty. Watch closely for sniffing, walking quick in circles and holding the tail up, all good signs we are about to go potty. Once we have gone potty reward with lots of praise, remember dogs are mans best friend and want to please us. After going potty then your puppy can enjoy playtime or activities in the home.
Inside your home set your puppy up for success by keeping them on a leash until potty training is complete and you can trust that the puppy will not be destructive, endangering your home or your pet’s health. Homes are generally too large is size for a new puppy that will have no problem going into another room for potty breaks. If you keep your puppy in sight they will be less likely to have an accident since dogs do not like to eliminate in lived in spaces, and you can watch for signs of having to go potty such as sniffing or acting restless. If you notice these signs head to the appropriate location and remember to reward.
It is also recommended to keep the water bowl outside. A water bowl in a crate can be quit a mess and you will be unable to keep track of how much water is consumed. A puppy given regular potty breaks with a water bowl on the way to that designated location will get plenty of water and you the owner can keep a mental track of water intake. If a puppy has drank a lot of water a potty break will be needed shortly. Since your puppy will be on leash in the house a water bowl in the house will not be easily accessible, also many puppies love to put there feet in the bowl and even splash water.
All dogs including puppies should be proofed, meaning anyone can manipulate any part of your their body without the pet becoming defensive or upset. The reason this must be done is so that you the owner can handle your pet, if a child runs up and grabs your pet the child does not get bit and for visits to your veterinarian and groomer. These exercises not only make life easier and less stressful for both you and your pet but make the veterinary visits and groomer visits a simple task.
…As you touch the dog’s tail, feet, ears, and belly reward with verbal praise, food rewards, and a calm soothing voice…
To begin this exercise start slow and reward often. Practice by touching areas you would normally pat and move to other body parts such as the toes, ears and tail. Keep the first few sessions short and positive however try to have a few sessions each day. As you touch the dog’s tail, feet, ears, and belly reward with verbal praise, food rewards, and a calm soothing voice. As your pet gets used to these body parts being touched start to be a little rougher, without hurting your pet. We want your pet prepared for an ear cleaning at the veterinarian’s office as well as being tackled by a neighborhood kid. If you get some resistance or nipping go ahead and say the word ‘no’ but continue with the exercise until your pet calms down and allows that body part to be touched. If your dog is nippy you can hold the pet under the chin to prevent being nipped or keep a plush toy available to keep the mouth busy. Remember to reward often when the puppy is still and allows their body parts to be manipulated.
In addition to dog proofing you need to teach your pet that it is ok to be restrained by a person. The best way to do this is to sit on the floor and roll your pet unto their back into what is called a settle position. The owner can hold onto the dogs front legs and place their legs on either side of the dog to provide support. If the puppy is a small breed this exercise can be done on your lap while sitting on the floor or while sitting on a sofa. Reward by providing praise when successful and keep the first few settles short. If your pet resists and try’s to get up continue to hold until still and then let your pet up. The exercise of proofing needs to be continued through maturity and ideally for the rest of your pet’s life.
Keep in mind any new pet needs a great deal of time, attention, and structured exercise. Any further questions regarding potty training and proofing should be directed towards your local veterinarian who may refer you to a professional dog trainer. It is always recommended for inexperienced dog owners to seek the assistance of a professional trainer to get your pet off to the right start and all dogs should be trained basic obedience and taught proper social skills in addition to potty training and puppy proofing.