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How To Potty Train Your Puppy

Is your dog piddling everywhere in your home?
Are you finding unwanted "doggy deposits"?
dog sleeping in crate
To potty train your dog, remember "Confine & Observe". From your dog's point of view there is no wrong place to go potty, he'll feel like going and just do it. Using a doggy door or opening your back door every couple of hours to let your dog out will not potty train your dog. Instead, you want to prevent mistakes and establish good habits. Know that dogs have a natural instinct to not eliminate where they sleep. The potty training method described below utilizes this knowledge to our advantage.
  • First, develop a food and water schedule. Routinely feed your dog each day at the same time, but never close to bed time. Before going to bed, and after your dog's last potty break, take away your dog's water bowl (don't forget to put it back first thing in the morning!). Feeding your dog on a schedule makes elimination more predictable.
  • Crate train your dog. Use a properly sized crate that is large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around, but no bigger. If the crate is too big, he’ll think he’s got a bedroom with a bathroom built in. He’ll potty in one corner and sleep in the other.
  • During the potty training period, your dog should be in his crate unless you can observe him with your full attention. Otherwise put your dog on a 4 foot leash, put a carabiner on the other end and clip it to your belt or clothing so your dog is tethered to you. At the first sign your dog needs to go, quickly escort him outside. Those signs include circling, sniffing, anxiousness, whining among other symptoms. Take your dog to the spot where you prefer him to go and give him at least 10 minutes to do his business. Say nothing, be quiet, or you can put too much pressure on your dog. If he doesn't do anything, place him back in the crate for 20 minutes, then bring him back to the spot. Repeat until he eliminates, then praise quietly. Do not get over excited when your dog goes in the right place or he may stop going. You don't want a cheering squad when you go either, do you? Be sure to spend some time with your dog before bringing him back inside, at least 5-10 min. If you immediately bring your dog in after he relieves himself, he may learn to hold it so he can spend more time outside.
  • This method makes it near impossible for your dog to have an accident. You’re either right there to take him out, or he is in the crate where he won’t want to relieve himself. Be sure your dog is not spending all day in the crate. While on-leash, spend time playing with your dog and let him wander outside the crate. By being diligent now, you will be able to give your dog years of freedom without worries.
  • When you’ve had a month with no accidents, you can begin to let your dog earn a little more freedom, but only for a few moments at at time. You want to slowly build a record of success. Attach an 8-10 foot light nylon cord to your dog's flat collar. Observe your dog 100% in case your dog gets tangled. Should your dog attempt to leave out of site, simply step on the line. This long cord also allows you to interrupt and stop destructive behaviors such as inappropriate chewing by giving light tugs on the line.
  • No matter how attentive and diligent you are during this process there is bound to be accidents. Don't worry about it, don't scold or punish your dog, just ensure that you clean up mistakes thoroughly. Be sure to use non-ammonia based cleaners or your dog will continue to go in those same spots. If your dog has an accident, go back a step in training, reducing freedom for a few days. Be reasonable with how long your dog can go without eliminating. You may need a dog walker, friend, or neighbor to assist you with taking your dog out.
Be patient. It won't be long before you’ll have a dog that you can trust in your home!
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