Happy Housetraining Tips
Copyright © 2004 Gene R. Sower
Author of "Happy Housetraining"
Here are some basic tips for housetraining your dog or puppy based on
the tried and true crate training method.
Establish A Regular Eating Routine
As I'm fond of saying, "what goes in must come out". To help you
figure out the best times to get your dog to go to the bathroom it's
important to feed your dog at the same times every day. This is the
ideal time to practice your housetraining lessons. For your dog's
comfort it's also a good idea to feed your dog in the same place every
day, a place that they will identify as their eating spot. With your
puppy, there's a very short time between eating and eliminating.
Figure around 15 - 20 minutes. When feeding your dog, give her 15-20
minutes and then pick up the uneaten portion (if any). This will also
teach your dog to eat when fed. Again, these rules can be relaxed once
your dog is housetrained but for now it's key to establish a routine.
Until your dog is housetrained, also avoid treats and in-between meal
snacks. The whole idea is to feed your dog, observe them constantly
for the 15 -20 minutes after they eat and then bring them to the place
where you want them to do their business. Do it like clockwork and
you'll be putting your puppy in a position to succeed. This is all
about setting expectations and teaching your eager learner to do what
you want. And when they do, praise them wildly. Make it seem like that
little pee or poop that they did is the greatest and most magnificent
thing you've ever seen in your entire life. Your friends and neighbors
may think you're crazy, but I can't stress enough the power of praise.
It's what your puppy craves. Give it to her in generous amounts.
How Old Should Your Puppy Be?
How old should your puppy be before you begin house training? Start as
early as you can but don't expect results until the pup is about 14
weeks old. Before 14 weeks your pup cannot physically hold it in. Then
why start early you may ask? Well, even though your pup may not be
physically able to hold it in, she'll at least begin learning what's
expected of her. Consider any training before 14 weeks to be
"pre-school". When her physical abilities catch up with what you
taught her, it will make it that much easier to put the lessons into
If you're considering crate training your dog as a means of house
training, keep in mind that the size of crate you choose is very
important. A good rule of thumb about size is: the crate should only
be big enough for the dog to comfortably stand up and turn around in.
You don't want the crate so big that the dog will mess at one end and
sleep at the other. For large-sized breeds that will continue to grow
substantially, you may need to buy a larger size later on if you
intend for your dog to continue using the crate after it is house
trained. You can also look for "Life Stages Crates" made by Midwest
that includes a divider so you can increase the area within the crate
as the dog grows.
And remember, be consistent and observant and your dog will get the
hang of it in no time.
Gene Sower is the author of the Happy Housetraining ebook