It is critically important that you start housebreaking your new pup the day you bring it home! I know this sounds fairly simple but I also know that you’d be amazed if you could spend a day in my shoes. Imagine being in and out of countless homes, working with countless dogs and pups that still struggle with bathroom issues after they are six months old!
The key is to remember how incredibly fast the baby dog grows into an adult. We’ve all heard the old average of seven dog years to one human year…well…let me tell you, that’s just wrong. Let me explain. It is wrong in the sense that the growth and maturity rate of a pup is astronomically greater than a seven years dog-human average their first year. A dog’s first year of life should be understood to be more like the human equivalent of 15-17 human years! Their second year growth and maturity rate could more accurately be compared to 7-10 human years. After that the growth is greatly diminished. The point is, our pups go from newborn, toddler and then right on to older teen!
“So what!” you say. “Who cares about this crap?” Well, I have to inform you that if you don’t pay attention to what I’m saying you, or members of your family or friends, will certainly begin to care when you come home to plenty of literal, stinking crap on what was formerly your beautiful, plush carpet.
Follow Garrett’s housebreaking rules for SUCCESS:
1. Have a definitive plan of action that fits right into a very strict schedule. If you get a young pup (typical ages to receive a pup from a breeder are around 8-9 weeks old- **Avoid getting one younger!**) you will have to alter your schedule to make potty breaks for the little guy. At this point the pup is so small the bladder simply cannot hold too much water/waste. I always suggest staying up extra late the first week or two and getting up extra early so that you don’t have to get up in the middle of the night.
Say you normally try to go to bed around 10:30 then I would stay up till 12:30 to let the pup get a “last out” to pee/poo. And if you get up at 7:00am then I would get up at 4:30am or 5:00am to let the pup out to pee. This way those key sleeping hours in the middle of the night are not disturbed and as the pup gains more self control, which should be extremely quick due to the fantastically rapid growth rate, you can extend out a half hour each week until your back on your normal evening and morning rituals. (** Please note the first week there may be exceptions where you hear the little guy whining in the crate to go out at 2:00am- This is your call to let the pup out or not but remember not to make middle of the night potty trips a habit more than the first week! **)
2. Don’t think of a crate as a bad thing. Crates teach pups to hold it and not just go whenever they feel like it. People are so over-sensitive these days about anything they think is even remotely going to hurt an animal’s feelings. Toughen up and act like an older dog instead of some pathetic, bleeding heart, lilly-livered, gutless, spineless, moron. IF you do act like a pathetic, soft brained, sniveling, bonehead please understand your precious pup will manipulate the hell out of you and you will end up having a host of other serious behavioral issues on top of the nasty urine and feces that adorns your lovely home.
Remember, most dogs and pups do a couple things when humans aren’t around… I’ll tell you what they are now. Believe me they are super exciting and secretive…are you reading closely…lean in and get ready! Here it is! Puppies sleep and sometimes chew on a bone. WOW!! Amazing, eh? They do basically Nothing when the pack (you or your family) is out and about. So whether they are in a crate or loose they don’t do much. So please, relax, and if a crate can help accelerate housebreaking you might want to use it! **Get one that has a divider to adjust to the size of your rapidly growing pup!**
3. Clean up the mess right away! This is, of course, assuming that you caught the pup in the midst of an accident and ran him outside to finish. Then don’t let him come over and smell and see what you’re doing. Some dogs are so dominant they will go pee or poo just to have you clean it up! Remember how amazing your pups sense of smell is and don’t keep a disgusting, pig-sty of a home. Cleanliness is next to Godliness.
4. For God’s sake, please do NOT buy those ridiculous potty pads. What a scam. What a dumb product. If it was in my power to do so I would remove each one of those potty pads from all those stores that sell and promote them and Everyone on earth would have a much better house-trained dog. If there has ever been an instant gratification (no work required) product it is those dreaded pads.
Think for a moment like a dog and picture it from their point of smell! YES, I said point of smell. Imagine how you are conditioning your pup to go the bathroom in the house! Then calculate the obvious like when the pup misses (as in the dog pees near but off the stupid pad-or the pad leaks, or the pee is half on or half off) that will happen, as it invariably does. Then think how it takes any and all responsibility off of you the owner and it take responsibility off of the dog so that they Never learn to hold it!
If you have some of those ridiculous pads in your home right now, start weening them off ASAP! If there are two pads on the floor down size it to one. Start moving them toward the back door or wherever the pup is going to learn to go out. In a couple days move the pad to outside of the door so there are never pads inside the house again. A couple days after that you can get rid of them altogether and throw yourself a huge party because now you are going places!
5. Pups need to go out every couple of hours but beware taking them out too much! I’ve found from listening to many owners over the years that they are taking their pups out too often. The pups then use the opportunity outside to explore, play, wander, get distracted, get into trouble, anything but go the bathroom! If this is happening to you and the pup does not urinate or defecate I always suggest bringing them back inside and placing them right in their crate so they have to hold it! Yes, it is a great tip! And for free! After they’ve held it for a while try taking them back out and they usually have no trouble going right away.
6. Never let a young puppy out of your sight. If you do you are asking for an accident. If you need a mental or physical break from watching the little guy just place him in the crate for a while and relax. Many times I hear stories that the pup was waiting at the door for a while or whining and the owners did nothing and then the pup had an accident – Don’t be stupid… when you see/hear this happening get off your butt and move! Help your pup succeed.
“To be prepared is half the victory.” – Miguel de Cervantes
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