Nothing is quite as fun as bringing home a new puppy. Puppies are always cute and cuddly but the honeymoon can be over very quickly if puppies needs are met. In today’s post I am going to address one of the four main issues that puppy owners need to know to raise successful happy pets.
The 4 most important issues new puppy owners need to know about are:
- Potty Training
- Handling problem behaviors
Really, any dog, not just new puppies need these issues conquered. So I will address the first one, potty training today.
Potty Training Your Puppy
Potty Training a new puppy is much like potty training a human toddler, but you are letting them roam around your house without a wearing a diaper. If you can imagine what you would do with a toddler without a diaper – it also goes for dogs. It almost goes without saying; WATCH THEM VERY CAREFULLY! You shouldn’t let them out of your sight because that is just asking for an accident. Keep your puppy in the same room as you. If that means put up baby gates, close doors, keep them on a leash – do it. As your dog makes progress toward becoming potty trained, (success with it going to the door and asking to go out, etc) then you can slowly introduce freedom to them.
It might be nice if we could all watch our dogs 24/7 so they don’t have accidents, but that is not reality. We often have busy schedules and many other things demanding our time. When you can’t be watching your puppy, it is very important to put them somewhere they either won’t have an accident, or it will be easy to clean up. It is better to put them somewhere they won’t have an accident – like a crate. Crate training is one of the best methods for potty training dogs. The small confined space of a crate discourages dogs from having accidents because they are naturally clean animals and do not like to pee or poop and then have to sit in it. The crate often takes some getting used to for the dogs. They are also naturally social animals and don’t like to be alone in the crate. There might be some whining and/or barking while they adjust, but it is worth it to get them used to it. Some dogs may have an accident or two in the crate, but that is what will teach them that they don’t want to go in there, and they need to hold their bladder. Depending on how old your puppy is, will depend on how long they can hold their bladder. Generally, however many months old the dog is, is how many hours they can hold it; 2 months old = holds bladder for 2 hours in a crate. That last statement has some give and take to it, depending on what breed your dog is. The smaller the dog, the smaller the bladder; therefore, the smaller dogs might not be able to make it as long and vice versa. The size of the crate can also be an issue. You want your dog to be able to stand up and turn around in the crate without crouching or being crowded, but that is all the space they need. If the crate is too big, then the dog is more likely to have an accident because if they can pee in one corner and get away from it, they will. If you wanted to buy a larger crate because your dog will be growing larger, it is easy to still use it for potty training. You just have to put something in the crate to make the area the dog has access to smaller. Some crates come with divider panels, but the ones that don’t, you can just put a box in it or a large stuffed animal to make the puppy’s area smaller. Just be aware that whatever you put in the crate has a likelihood of getting chewed on frequently.
I mentioned before, that if you don’t want to use a crate you can also put your dog somewhere it is easy to clean up accidents. This may prolong the process of potty training because it may teach them it is okay to pee or poop in the house. The more often you can get them to the right place to go potty (usually outside), the sooner they will be trained to go potty there. If you must because you aren’t using a crate, I would use a kitchen or a bathroom where it will be easy to clean up the dog’s messes. This is also where you might use the products called puppy pads where they can pee or poop on them. I am personally not a huge fan of the puppy pads because they are similar to “pull-ups” for humans. They just delay the process of potty training because it’s teaching them to pee in the house. The only times I think puppy pads can be useful are if you are doing indoor training because you live in an apartment or another living space that doesn’t have a yard where your dog can go potty, or if you are going to be gone for more hours than your dog can hold their bladder and you need to give them somewhere to go potty while you are gone.
The subject of indoor training will have to be addressed in another entry because there are many issues that go along with that subject. Dogs can be litter box trained similar to cats, but I generally only recommend it for small dogs because it is a big maintenance issue.
To be continued…
- Use a crate for potty training
- When you can’t be watching your dog closely, put him or her in the crate
- The crate will take some time for the dog to adjust to it
- You can potty train without the crate, but that is inviting the dog to have more accidents and may also make the process take longer