|Home |||History/Staff |||Directions |||Contact Us|
|Dog Lodging |||Cat Lodging |||Boarding Rates |||Make Reservations|
|Nutrition & Health | Agility Classes | Obedience Classes | Puppy Training | Class Schedules | FAQ | Pet Memorials |Events & Clubs | Grooming|
We average 1 to 2 calls per week from people who struggle with potty training their new puppy or are having behavioral problems. We hope these tips help and give you some insight to your new companion. Your puppy is never too young to start learning, so start your training right away.
The purpose of this page is focused on preventing accidents before they happen. To train your puppy to do the right thing from the start rather than trying to correct the bad behavior after it is learned.
Ok, so you have just gotten this beautiful new puppy. It is a blank slate. What ever it learns, good or bad, will depend on you. Now is when the work and fun begins. One of the first things I ask people when they call and say they can not get their puppy potty trained is .. "Do you have a dog crate?". Most reply "No". Often, if they do have a crate, they tell me they think it is cruel to confine the dog in it, or it hates being in the crate. The longer this goes on the harder it will be to break. That is why one of the first things I am going to address is potty training your puppy, and why it is so important.
See also: Rules for Children This is a Word Document. Feel free to print this out and tape it to the refrigerator for everyone to view.
1.) Purchase a crate if you don't already have one. (Be sure to get the right size-see below).
2.) Pick a designated potty area in your yard.
3.) Figure out what command you want your dog to learn to "potty". It is important that everyone involved in the training use the same command. The words you use are really not important. What is important is that you say the same word every time, so that it develops a meaning. You could say "sticks" instead of "potty", it doesn't matter as long as you are consistent with using the same word.
4.) Set up a schedule for feeding, play, training & potty breaks (see below).
5.) Puppy proof your house!
We suggest that you purchase a dog crate that is large enough for your dog to lie down and move around in. A create is not a "cruel" thing. It is your puppy's own private room where it can eat, rest and feel safe.
The dog should be able to lie down, turn, and stand up, but not have enough room for them to play around in. They generally won't potty where they have to sleep. If the crate is too large, then they could relieve themselves and stay out of it, which will not encourage them to control their bowel and bladder.
Always make the crate a positive experience for your puppy. Keep some toys in there, and or give him a SMALL treat when you put him in the crate. Some puppies will cry and scream (very much like a baby being put to bed when it doesn't want to go). If you leave them alone they will usually give up after a while and lie down. We do not recommend that the puppy be left there for hours on end. Young puppies have to be let out to potty every 1-2 hours. The younger they are the shorter the period of time they can be left there.
The main purpose of the crate is that it is a "SAFE and SECURE" place that you can put your puppy when you can not be watching or playing with it. Just like a small child, you can not just turn them loose in your house and expect that you don't have to monitor them. After a while your puppy may go to its crate automatically at bed time, feeding time, or when it feels insecure.
Your puppy may not like the crate at first but don't give in to the complaining or tantrums! If you are sure your puppy is not hungry or does not have to go potty, just ignore it. Eventually he will settle down. Again, be sure to give the dog a treat when you put it in the crate. We want the crate to be a positive experience.
Be sure to keep your puppy's crate clean. Dogs instinctively want a clean place to sleep. If the puppy does have an accident in the crate, clean it good and put down fresh bedding in it. For very young puppies, especially when they first wake up, pick them up and carry them outside. Their little bladders are probably full and they may not make it all the way to the door.
FEEDING & WATER
Within 10-15 minutes of feeding or your puppy drinking water you should take it outside. If your puppy has just awakened from a nap, take it outside right away.
If you want your puppy to potty in the same area of the yard, be sure to keep it on a leash and keep it in that area until it does potty. Don't walk around. Stand in one spot. Don't stare at the dog, or say anything more to it. The more you move around the more the puppy will want to move around and get distracted from the business at hand. Once he/she has sniffed the area it is limited to it will pick a spot and do its business. Once it does, praise it. Now don't get overly excited here, just say, "Good dog" in a cheerful voice. If you want your dog to pretty much learn to potty on command (which can be very nice, especially if traveling with your dog or on cold winter days, then tell your dog "potty" when it does start to potty. Do this repeatedly every time you take your dog out to potty. Walk over to your designated area, calmly say "potty". After your puppy does its business, tell them "good dog!".
** One of the biggest mistakes that people make is putting their puppy out in the yard and leaving it there, then bringing it back in thinking it has done its business. Puppies have a very short attention span, and their mind will jump from the flower in the grass to the bee buzzing by to the bird that just flew over. The owner can not figure out why the puppy just went potty in the house when it had just been outside for 15 or 20 minutes. This is why it is so important to go out with the puppy EACH TIME, WATCH IT, and MAKE SURE it does its business before coming back in.
Do NOT over feed your puppy or give it a large amount of food or water right before you have to crate it, or you could come back to a VERY messy crate to clean and puppy to wash. Think about yourself. Would you like to eat a large meal or drink a lot of water, and then be put in a position where you could not go to the bathroom for several hours? Please, don't ask your puppy to do this either.
Set up a feeding schedule for your puppy. If the puppy isn't done eating after 20-30 minutes, take the food away. By controlling its feeding schedule you can gain faster control and your puppy will quickly learn a reliable potty schedule.
Be sure to keep your yard cleaned up of puppy stools. The stools should be firm and fairly dry. Loose, sloppy stools can be an indication of worms, health problems, stress or digestive problems.
Keep your puppies vaccinations up to date. Puppy vaccinations are usually given 2-4 weeks apart. Be sure to get your puppy to a veterinarian and set up his vaccination and worming schedule. This is very important to keep your puppy healthy.
NERVOUS or EXCITED WETTING
Some puppies will squat and urinate when it greets you. Often at times when it is really nervous or excited. DO NOT scold your puppy for this. Most young puppies will grow out of this. Punishment will only make this problem worse.
ACCIDENTS DO HAPPEN
Accidents may happen. Do not go overboard scolding your puppy. If you catch it in the act, calmly go get the puppy, tell it "NO" firmly and take it outside to the designated area. DO NOT try to rub it's nose in it. If you find the accident area after the fact it is too late to do anything about it other than clean it up and you have only yourself to blame.
PUPPY PROOF YOUR HOUSE
Your puppy will chew up shoes and socks. It will pull toilet paper off the bathroom roller. It will grab the newspaper or your mail, and shred it into tiny pieces. Electrical cords can be a favorite for some puppy's, which can also hurt them very badly. So be sure that anything you don't want your new puppy to destroy, to put up out of its reach! Once it learns a bad habit like chewing things up, your training time and repair expense has just doubled. So the logic is, don't let it get a hold of what you don't want it to have. By doing nothing, you have just reinforced to the puppy that this is an OK thing to do. If you still think that you have puppy proofed your house and you don't need a crate, I can give you the names of people who have called and told how their dog chewed the wall paper off the wall, ate a hole in the door, or shredded their new carpet, rug, bed spread, chair legs, coat, etc., because they didn't crate their young dog when they ran to the store. "I was only gone for a few minutes!", they say. Once it has gotten away with this once, the next time could be even worse. This same logic holds true if you have just adopted an older dog. Until you KNOW what the dog is really like, and what good or bad habits it has, don't chance it. You can not leave a toddler alone in the house running around if you leave, so don't leave your puppy either. They are curious, and possibly bored and just looking for things to get into.
OTHER THINGS TO DO
* You could keep your new puppy on a leash in the house. Just let it drag it around. When you need to get control of the puppy it is a simple matter of going over, stepping on the leash so the puppy can't run off and then picking up the end of the leash. If your puppy tries to chew on it, you could spray it with a product called "Bitter Apple", or when the puppy has the leash in its mouth, just give the leash a quick jerk. This makes it an uncomfortable thing to put in its mouth.
* When you do praise your puppy, do not get overly excited about praising it. If you act really excited, the puppy is so focused on you that it has no idea what's happening other than it must be time to play, jump and bark!.
* Always remember, your dog is not human. It can not speak English, and it is not a mind reader. Try to look at things from the dogs perspective when problem solving.
* If your dog is doing something wrong, a firm "NO" is usually all that is needed to stop the behavior. Do not be so loud that your pet cowers from you as it may then start to avoid you. If the dog returns to the problem item, remove the item or move the dog away from the item or to its crate for a short time.
OTHER THINGS NOT TO DO
* Never excitedly yell at your puppy. Your puppy will only learn to run away. Patience is the key to success.
* Never play "Catch me if you can". If you make a game out of this you may never catch your dog when you really need to.
* Never let your puppy growl at you, over food or anything. It may be cute when it is young, but it won't be so cute later when you reach down for it food bowl and it bites you or someone else.
* Give your puppy it's OWN toys to play with, rotate them so it does not become bored with the same toy all the time.
* Never let your puppy have personal items like an old shoe. It does not know the difference between an old shoe and your new shoes!
* Always be patient and positive.
NOTE Some puppies learn very fast, and some take more time. Once you have developed good habits with your puppy they are much more enjoyable. A puppy is never too young to start learning right from wrong. It is up to the owner to endow the commands with meaning. Be patient but firm and consistent. Just like people, animals can be creatures of habit. Your goal is create positive habits.
We hope this page was helpful and we are always interested in your feedback.