Housebreaking Your New Puppy

1. Feeding and Watering

* Set up a feeding and watering schedule. Feed and water your dog at the same times every day.

* Leave food down for fifteen to twenty minutes; even if it is not finished, pick it up.

* It is recommended that puppies under 6 months of age be fed times 3 per day. From 6 to 12 months feed 2 times per day. Dogs 1 year and older can be fed 1 or 2 times per day.

* Consider initially making water available 5-6 times per day, rather then leaving water down all of the time. (especially with dogs who frequently urinate in the home). Do not leave water in the crate, as your dog may drink it and then need to eliminate soon thereafter (except in extreme heat).

* Remove water two hours before she goes in the crate for the night (except in extreme heat).

2. Get your pup outside!

* Establish an area outside where you want your dog to eliminate. Every time you go out, bring your dog on leash to the elimination area and give you dog a cue such as “do your business!”

* Reward proper elimination immediately after with a treat and exuberant praise.

* Your dog should be taken outside:

  • First thing in the morning
  • 10-20 minutes after consuming food or water
  • Immediately after coming out of the crate (especially if she has been in for a long period)
  • After napping
  • After or during high energy play.
  • Right before she goes in to the crate for an extended period of time.

* If your dog does not eliminate outside on leash, return her to the crate and try again twenty or thirty minutes later.

3. Use a crate

* Crate Size: the crate should be at least big enough for your dog to stand up, lie down (with legs extended), and turn around. The crate should not be too much bigger, otherwise your dog may begin to use one corner of a large crate as an elimination area. If she does eliminate in the crate, decrease the size of the crate by placing a box in the back of the crate.

* Most dogs enjoy being in their crate if it is properly introduced (they are den animals).

* Make sure your dog is comfortable being in the crate; be sure to introduce the crate in a calm and patient manner. Do not introduce the crate by forcing your dog in and leaving. If your dogs begins to bark or whine, do not let him out until he quiets down. You should leave desirable toys or bones inside the crate to keep her occupied.

* Your pup should be in the crate when unsupervised. This includes overnight. Having the leash on inside the house is often helpful in maintaining a closer eye on your dog; it may also prevent her from wandering off and getting into trouble. This way you pup does not have to spend as much time in the crate and will remain under your supervision. If there is another safe location where your dog never eliminates, then you may substitute that area for the crate.

4. Address improper elimination

* If, and only if, you catch your dog in the act of urinating or defecating inside startle her by slapping your hands together; say “NO!” and immediately escort your dog to the proper elimination area and reward if she eliminates there. Never rub his nose in the mess! If you did not catch her in the act, you should not reprimand her.

* Clean the area thoroughly and treat with an enzyme activated solution such as Nature’s Miracle.

* Figure out why this happened. Did you forget to let her out in time or forget to keep an eye on her?

Continue this program completely until your dog is not having any accidents in the house for at least several weeks. Gradually, allow your dog to spend more time unsupervised out of the crate, perhaps limited to the kitchen or some other confined, easily cleaned space.

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