HOUSEBREAKING YOUR PUPPY
Never punish a puppy. Don’t yell or hit. Don’t rub their nose in anything. Use positive reinforcement and only give attention to behaviors you want to encourage.
A crate should be used for housebreaking - Puppies naturally don’t want to eliminate where they eat or sleep, so crate training helps speed up housebreaking. The crate must be small enough that they can’t sleep in one area and go potty in another.
Daily consistency is the key to good habits. Feed and walk your puppy at around the same time every day. Feed puppies 3 times a day on a regular schedule and always take them outside as soon as they are finished eating.
Take your puppy outside when they wake up in the morning, after eating, after playtime, after naps and after any car trips. Take them to the same general area outside each time. A young puppy can’t hold it all night, so you’ll need to get up about every 3 hours to let them outside during the night. (A good rule of thumb is a 2 month old puppy can hold it for 2 hours, and a 3 month old can hold it for 3 hours)
Unless they are very small and you are afraid they will have an accident, you should lead them on a leash, rather than carry them, so they learn the way outside. Once outside, keep calm and don’t pressure the puppy to potty. Just wander nearby and let the dog relax and feel it’s in safe surroundings to relieve itself.
Don’t rush back in as soon as they are done. Spending time outside is a reward in itself. If your dog associates holding in potty inside the house with the reward of playtime outside or a walk, it will be more motivation for them to practice that self control.
Praising your puppy with a treat, or at least your positive energy and kind words after they potty outside is very important. Praise as soon as they finish, but NOT while they are going. Play with the puppy a while outside, or take it back inside and allow some free time outside the crate. After about 15 to 20 minutes of playtime, put the puppy back in the crate for a nap. After about an hour, lead it back outside and repeat the process.
Gradually lengthen the amount of time your puppy is allowed to play out of the crate after going outside to potty. Set limits and boundaries. Don’t give your puppy the run of the house right away.
Supervise your puppy as much as possible.
Invest the time NOW to establish a lifetime of good behavior. But keep in mind, accidents happen. Don’t make a big deal out of a mistake. The only correct response is patience. Just like kids, dogs will sometimes take negative attention over no attention at all. So if they are bored, and you have conditioned them to realize that peeing on the carpet gets them some attention, even if it’s negative attention, they’ll pee on the carpet.
Be consistent and be patient!!
Tips from Dog Guy Darin:
2. Bringing Home A New Dog
3. Crate Training
4. Puppy Training
5. Basic Commands
6. Teach "LEAVE IT"
7. Teach "SIT"
8. Teach "COME"
9. Teach "STAY"
10. Teach "DOWN"
When you bring a dog from a kennel or someone else’s house, you don’t want to bring the dog immediately in to your home. You need to “migrate” and “bond” together, so give them a little water after the car ride and then go for a walk in the new “territory.” It’s important for them to have a sense of the environment they are going to be living in. Otherwise you are just moving them from one kennel to another.
After the walk, walk the dog in the house to the space that will be their “kennel” and let them have just THAT space… you have to go slow when introducing a dog to your home a little at a time.
Done correctly, crate training provides your puppy with a ready-made den they can associate with safety, tranquility and quiet. Instead of calming themselves in a destructive manner such as chewing when they are alone, puppies will learn how to soothe themselves by going in their private den and relaxing there.
Crate training also provides a familiar surrounding when traveling in cars or visiting new places.
Use the crate as a place to give treats and rewards. Let your puppy play, and when they tire, invite them in the crate, close the door and let them rest for 15 minutes at first, then longer time periods, so they never think the crate is a punishment, but rather, a nice comfortable place to hang out. (Always take them outside to potty as soon as you let them out of the crate)
Keep the crate in a room close to other family members to lessen the puppy’s anxieties. Move the crate in to the bedroom at night so the puppy feels like a member of the family. (Dogs are used to sleeping with their pack)
Keeping your puppy in a confined space or crate during the times when you are unable to supervise them is a huge help with housebreaking. It’s all about prevention. If you don’t give them a chance to make a mistake and pee on the carpet, they’ll never know what peeing on the carpet is.
Over time, as your puppy matures and shows it can be left loose in the house, you can give them more freedom, little by little - maybe a room at a time. Eventually, your home becomes like a large den to your dog, and it’s not natural for them to relieve themselves inside the confines of their own personal nesting space.
Even after your dog has the run of the house, keep their crate set up with the door open so they will be able to go to their “safe spot” anytime they want.
** Excerpted from HOW TO RAISE THE PERFECT DOG by Cesar Millan
Puppy hood is the prime time for training. Puppy training can begin as early as 8 weeks of age. You can begin teaching certain rules of the house and a few basic obedience commands.
Positive reinforcement. When your dog does something right, reward them, either with food, praise, or both. Don't be afraid to use verbal corrections when needed. The word NO is as vital to the good behavior of a dog as it is to a child. If your dog is doing something it shouldn't, don't be afraid to say "no chew" or "no bite." Adding the word NO to the behavior your dog is committing makes your point. Be stern to make an impression, but be sure to control your emotions. Anger should never be a factor when training your dog. Always give the verbal correction while the action is taking place. Correcting your dog any time later after they have committed the crime will teach them nothing.
Consistency is important when training. People often forget this and then can't understand why their dog doesn't learn. Know the rules in your own mind, and then enforce them every single time. If you let your dog get away with responding to your commands only some of the time, you soon won't be able to get them to pay attention to you at all. And don't repeat commands. Teach your dog that they must come, sit and stay the first time you say it.
Practice and keep practicing. Don't assume that once your dog has learned basic obedience they never have to brush up on it again. Reinforce what they know on a regular basis throughout their life. Preventing your dog from establishing a bad habit is the best way to keep him from performing that particular behavior. If a dog is allowed to potty in the house, they learn that it is okay to potty in the house.
Puppies not only need to learn the rules of the house, and how they fit in the world, but they should also learn some basic commands. Little puppies grow up to be big dogs and you need to be able to control them. Dogs who are obedience trained are generally better behaved and easier to live with.
You can start introducing your puppy to obedience training as young as nine weeks. This is when they should learn to wear a leash and collar and begin learning basic commands including sit and down and some behavioral commands, including leave it and drop it.
Remember positive reinforcement works best. Every time your puppy does something right, give them a food treat and plenty of praise in the form of happy talk. Your puppy will be eager to please you. If your puppy makes a mistake do not punish them. Instead, ignore the mistake and set them up for success by repeating the command and ensuring they will comply. Remember they have a short attention span. Training should be brief and upbeat. Don't give your puppy a chance to become bored. Provide breaks during training by giving the release command and playing a game or just by running around together.
The release command creates a beginning and an end to every command you give. Use whatever word you like, but use it consistently. Something like Go Play, or All done.
One of the most useful commands you can teach your puppy is leave it. This command is used whenever you want your puppy to stop doing what he's doing. Not only can it save your dinner, but it can save your puppy's life. If he's about to eat the steak you just dropped on the floor, you can say leave it and he'll stop in his tracks. If she's chasing a cat into the street, you can say leave it and get her to stop. If they are about to put something hazardous in their mouth, leave it will motivate them to cease and desist.
To teach leave it, you must have your dog under leash control. Put a piece of food on the ground and walk by it with your puppy. When they approach to investigate, say leave it and pull them away. Then say GOOD leave it, and give a scratch or a treat. Practice this repeatedly with food items, toys, or anything else that stirs the puppy's curiosity.
Other ways to reinforce the leave it command are to keep an empty soda can filled with coins or a spray bottle filled with water handy. When your puppy approaches something he shouldn't, say leave it. If they ignore you, give them a squirt with the bottle or toss the can near them, not AT them. As long as you are consistent, your puppy should learn the command quickly.
When your puppy has something in their mouth that you want them to relinquish, the drop it command comes in handy. Drop it tells them to let go of whatever they are holding. The best way to teach drop it is to trade something like a treat or favorite toy, for whatever is in their mouth.
When they drop what is in their mouth, give them the treat. Do this often and you'll find that your puppy will instantly drop on command.
If they refuse the command, gently press your fingers into the gap behind their canines which should cause them to release the object. Praise them and offer something in exchange. You can reinforce the drop it command by using a toy to play tug with your puppy and periodically asking them to drop it. Ask them to sit, then return the toy and continue to play. Remember to always end a tug game with control over the toy.
One of the easiest commands you can teach is to sit. You can train your puppy to sit by using a treat lure. Stand in front of your puppy while holding a treat in one hand. Starting directly above his nose, slowly raise the reward in a vertical line and slightly out. As their head lifts to follow the treat, your puppy's rump should drop to the ground. Make sure they keep their front paws on the ground.
Once the pup is sitting give them the treat and praise them. When they are consistently sitting with the treat lure, introduce the sit command. They'll quickly associate the action with the command and their performance with receiving a reward.
Teaching your puppy to come when called can save their life in a dangerous situation, and it allows off leash freedom in a safe environment. To teach the come command, you want to get your puppy to think coming to you is a really good thing. With a treat in hand, say your dog's name and "come" and run in the opposite direction from your dog. They'll probably chase after you. When they do, stop and wait for them to run to you, and then praise them verbally and give them the treat. Do several times a day for a few weeks until you don't have to run for them to come right when you call them.
Another way to practice come is to get a few friends each with a handful of treats to sit in a large circle. Have each person call COME to the puppy one at a time. When your puppy responds appropriately, he gets a treat. Your puppy soon learns to respond to the come command.
You can also use a long leash to teach the COME command. If your puppy doesn't respond to your first command to come, simply draw in the leash gently but firmly. Praise her and give a treat once she is in front of you.
To reinforce the come command throughout your dog's life, occasionally call her simply to give her a treat.
NOT TO DO: Don't use the come command simply to end play time. This will quickly teach the puppy not to respond. Also.. never ask your dog to come, and then scold them.
STAY is an important command because it enables you to control your puppy off leash. You can use stay when you need your puppy to stand or sit in one place. This can be in any situation, from outside at the park to inside your house at dinner time. Your puppy must know the sit command first, then you can incorporate stay.
Start by telling your puppy to sit. With particularly exuberant puppies you might have a friend hold a leash from behind the puppy. While standing about 6 inches in front of him, present your open hand, palm side facing his face. Say STAY and give puppy a treat. Continue to say STAY and give treats every few seconds. If he moves, don't give a treat, but start over. Once the puppy is reliably staying for 10 seconds, move about 6 inches further away and repeat. If making this move is challenging, or if the puppy wants to move towards you when you reach to give it a treat after a successful stay, you can have your friend stand next to the puppy and give treats as he stays, while you are further away. Your puppy may grasp the concept in one training session, but might not retain the info, so it's best to start each training session in the initial position and gradually increase distance.
Once your puppy sits quietly for 10 secs, release them and give them a treat. Offer lots of verbal praise. Practice daily so your puppy consistently stays for 10 seconds, then try to move up to 20 seconds, and so on. As your puppy gets more comfortable with more time, gradually increase distance as well. Be consistent about making the puppy hold stay until released. Every time they break stay, you walk them back into place and start over. Once your puppy is reliable at staying on a leash, you can graduate to teaching the stay command off leash, in an enclosed area. Again increase time and distance you ask them to hold the stay as they gets better at it.
DOWN is a great command if you enjoy having voice control over your puppy. Combined with the stay command, you can keep your puppy in one spot under control for an extended period of time.
Down should be easy if your puppy knows the sit command. From the sit position put a treat under their nose and lower it towards the floor. Say their name and DOWN. They should lower their head to attempt to get the treat. Pull the treat away, at floor level. You might need to put one hand on their rump to prevent them from standing up. You can also pull their front feet out and gently put them in a down position. Usually after once or twice, they will figure out what you want.
Once the entire body is on the ground, give the treat. Once the pup is comfortable in the down position you can increase duration over several days of training sessions by offering a treat but not allowing them to take it immediately. Say, GOOD DOWN and release them.
Once the pup reliably responds to down and sit stay you can add the DOWN STAY command. Teach the down stay using the same technique as sit stay. Have them hold the down stay for longer and longer periods of time. As your puppy becomes an adult you should be able to walk away and leave them in down stay.
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