House Training Your New Pet

A beautiful adult Golden Retriever

A beautiful adult Golden Retriever

 Potty Training 101

Congratulations on the new addition to your family!

Weather you have a new puppy or have adopted an adult dog from a rescue group or shelter, treat your pet as if he doesn’t know where to go.  Your new canine does not know where the toilet is or the rout to get there.

One of the most important keys to your success is having a management plan.  Manage the environment with baby gates, doors, tethers, and a crate or ex-pen.  If introduced properly a crate is a cozy, comfy place to your pet that will keep him from peeing all over your house.  When you don’t have your pet confined, have him tethered to you with a leash.  If you want him loose in the room with you make sure you are watching the dog closely, not watching TV or on the computer.

Another part of your plan is a schedule.  Your pet will learn to anticipate when his next meal or walk is happening if you stick to a schedule.  Also you can learn the timing of what goes in, comes out either very quickly for a young pup or four hours later or more for an adult dog.  So have an itinerary of all of the events that make up your dog’s day; wake up, out to toilet, training time, eat morning meal, out to toilet, play  time or a walk, crate time, potty break,  play time in house, potty break, crate time, potty break, afternoon walk or romp off leash, training time, evening meal, potty break, walk or play time, potty break, evening cuddle time, potty break, bedtime in crate.   We don’t want the dog to spend more than a couple of hours at a time in his crate or exercise pen except at night.  If you work long hours, have a neighbor or family member help you with your pet’s needs while you are away.  If you don’t have someone to help, hire a dog walker or a trainer to do some Day Training.  A basic rule of thumb is your pup can hold it for approximately one hour per month of age.  But, if you have a small bread dog it may never be able to wait for eight hours to relieve its self.

I always have pet parents ask me, “When will he tell me that he needs to go?” If you always take your dog out through the same door, he may start to go to the door or bark at the door, to let you know he needs to go. But, don’t count on it. Only a small percentage of dogs will “tell” you their toilet needs. Learn your pet’s toileting body language. Does he sniff in a circle to look for the perfect spot?  Does he stand and arch his back a certain way?  When your dog is squatting you are too late!  If you catch your pup going in the wrong place, quickly scoop him up or lead him outside to the toilet area of your yard. Reward your pet with a treat and praise when he eliminates there. Do not punish or scare your dog for toilet mistakes.  The dog will not understand that you are upset about where he is toileting.  He will think that toileting is bad and learn to hide to go potty. Then you will have a dog that goes behind or under the furniture to poop or pee.

When cleaning up toileting mistakes, use an enzymatic cleaning solution from the pet store.  Do not use hot water or steam to clean up pet waste.  Heat will set the smell into the carpet, fabric or floor. First, pick up any solid waste; soak up as much of the liquid with paper towels or rags. Next, spray the spot (soak it well) with your pet cleaning product and let it sit for five to ten minutes. Then, blot the spot with paper towels until there is no more yellow coming onto the paper towel.  You will more than likely need to reapply the cleaner and let it set again for five to ten minutes and blot it up again when cleaning carpet. I usually stand on the paper towel to press out as much liquid as possible. You want to be certain that you have removed all of the urine so your dog doesn’t return to this area to toilet again.

Pick an area in your yard or on your walking rout to be the poop spot.  If you have a yard, choose an out of the way back corner of your yard or behind a shed or garage as a toilet area. Having a designated poop area makes it easier to keep it cleaned up when your dog begins to go out to toilet on its own. Keep your yard clean.  Feces left out in your yard can attract rats and other vermin. I suggest daily poop patrol. Clean up after your pet when out on walks. Always have a plastic shopping bag or a doggie poop bag with you when out and about town.

Toilet training your new pet can take from a few weeks, up to many months. All dogs are individuals and learn at their own speed.  Try to be patient with your dog and reward all toileting successes. Set them up for success with a predictable schedule and many opportunities to go in the right place. Give your pet adequate exercise and mental stimulation to keep him healthy and happy.

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