Housebreaking

  • Timing “potty breaks”
    • As a general rule, potty the puppy before and after naps and about 15 minutes after feeding.
    • At 9 weeks, take the puppy out for a potty every 30 minutes when awake.  Add 5 minutes per week.

  • Use a leash and take the puppy out the same door and to the same place to potty.  Walk slowly in a fairly small area.  You can't just stand there. You must get the puppy to move.  Usually they will sniff the ground before they poop, but not so much when they urinate, so it's harder to tell when it is going to happen.

  • Make a big deal out of the puppy pottying—use both praise and petting.  “Good Job” or “Good Dog” or “Good Boy/Girl” with each potty until it is common for it to do so.  Some people like to give a treat for a successful potty.

  • If you are going out for a playtime, first take the puppy on the leash to potty.  After the puppy pottys, let off the leash to play, assuming a safe, fenced in area.  Put the leash back on the puppy and take to your potty spot before going back in the house.

  • Watch the puppy and notice if it seems distracted during the potty—watching something or walking as it parks. Use the “Two-Squat” rule when that occurs and don’t go back inside until the second squat.

  • Restrict the puppy to a room or two in the house at first.  Gradually add space as the puppy becomes more reliable.  If you can’t be actively watching your puppy, keep it in a crate in the same room where you are. 

  • If the puppy has an accident, place a towel over the wet spot (if carpeted) and step on the towel, blotting up as much liquid as possible.  Make a solution of ¼ vinegar and ¾ water in a spray bottle.  Spray the area well and rub with towel to neutralize the odor. As the puppy will pick up the sent and use the same area again, if you don't. You can also buy odor spray of various brands at pet stores or on-line.

(If the dog is older and still having accidents—3 months or so, you might need to put the dog on a leash all the time when it is not in the crate, so you are always in control of it—inside or out of the house.)

Written by Darlene Colmar, Asheville, NC 

   
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