I phoned my vet’s office today, at my wit’s end. I have a puppy, born 10 weeks ago and I’ve had him for 2 weeks. I think I am doing everything wrong that can possibly be done wrong, and I’m afraid he will never be housebroken. I’ve wasted a lot of money on training books, puppy pads, etc. I’m getting very confused and I don’t know what to do and I am totally at a loss. I love my puppy and would like to have a loving relationship with him but I’m beginning to worry about my own mental and physical health. I am desperate. Thank-you. – .B. (London)
I hope there are some breeders reading this. House training is a high priority for the owner of any new puppy and breeders can go a long way to making life easier on both the owners and the puppy. The first thing is obvious. Keep things clean and provide at the very least a potential target area away from the bedding, feeding and wrestling area. Once pups are weaned a breeder should start scheduling feeding several times a day but at specific times and provide an area to put the pups well within twenty minutes of their last bite. The reason for this is something called a gastric colic reflex. Essentially within a scheduled feeding the dog’s bowels are going to start to move and whatever is underneath their feet at the time becomes the bathroom. This is one reason. why so many dogs that come from dirty breeders, pet stores and even shelters are so tough to housebreak. Depending on where the pups are going to (good breeders typically have the pups sold well before they’re born) the pups that are going to apartment life head off to the litter box/puppy pad area and the dogs that are going to use the outdoors are put on grass. The grass doesn’t even have to be outside. A piece of sod will work great at getting the pups started in the right direction. Remember the pups only have scheduled access and shouldn’t be practicing their landscaping skills. Mistakes will be made but it’s a great start.
Pups become programmed just as we are as to where elimination takes place and will “hold it” with every ounce of their will power to go only to the “bathroom”. Not to be indelicate, think of that drive home and that tummy starts to rumble and you start thinking “Oh my!” Most of don’t just pull over and let it rip. Well house trained dogs won’t either. They’ll do their absolute best to hit the target.
The other must do for a breeder is to stick a big crate in the comfort area of the pup’s space. They can be encouraged to go in by feeding them in there and moving them in when they get sleepy. The breeder can even put a low set heating pad designed specifically for dogs to encourage them.
Now house training is going to be a lot easier for the dog owner. The puppy has and inkling as to what’s expected and with scheduled feedings and diligent supervision, and a crate to use when dragging a leash around isn’t possible a dog owner is going to find by 16 weeks of age they have a dog trained to eliminate 3 times a day in one spot. Before that the dog just as a child can miss the internal body signals due to distractions. I should add that crating and leash dragging as opposed to gating areas of the house is better. A lot of dogs find it confusing when the gate comes down. Some think that they’ve been taught don’t go in the area they’ve been gated into only and then the “house trained” dog once the gate comes down heads off to the living room.
There’s more to it, nothing complicated though and anyone interested in learning more can just send me an email and I’ll send a general guidelines.
– John Wade the Dog Trainer