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Article: Housetraining Your Puppy

Housetraining your puppy should be one of the easiest feats to accomplish. There are only five rules to housetrain a dog. If you don't break any of these rules you can look forward to having a dog that seldom, if ever, has "accidents."

1. Be sure to go with your puppy to praise him for doing his thing outside

Most puppy owners place their unhousetrained puppy in the great outdoors and expect the puppy to know why he is outside. Even if fate were with you, and the puppy does do his thing in the proper place and at the proper time, there is no reward or positive reinforcement to tell him this was the "right" thing to do. The reward would cause the puppy to try to repeat this behavior in order to receive the reward. With the absence of a reward, there is no reason for the pup to try this behavior again; apart from happenstance. Go outside with your puppy and put him in the same spot and say the same thing every time you go out. Keep repeating "go potty," or if it's really cold outside keep repeating "H-U-R-R-Y U-P!" As soon as your puppy does his thing praise him very enthusiastically. It was the greatest thing you have ever seen. Your enthusiasm is plenty. Don't use food as a crutch.

2. Take your pup out at the right time

You do not have to frustrate yourself waiting for your puppy to do his business outside. Puppies only do four things: eat, drink, sleep, and play. That's it. Make sure your puppy goes outside after doing any of the above. It is guaranteed your puppy will urinate towards the end or shortly after one of the previous activities. Give the puppy approximately five minutes outside with you. In the event your pup does not do his thing outside, bring him back inside and confine him to a limited area, and try again later.

3. Watch your puppy

Just as you must be present to reward the pup for urinating or defecating outside, you must catch him in the act for doing his thing indoors. Dedicate yourself for ten to fourteen days. Watch your pup's movements through a designated, confining area of the house so you can catch him should he make a mistake. You must be consistent. If you only catch the pup occasionally, you are bound to have a confused pup and a frustrated owner on your hands.

4. Don't over-punish

Due to our inconsistency in communicating what is desired of the dog, many think the way to punish a puppy is to rub his nose in the stool or strike it with a newspaper. The pup only had an accident for Pete's sake! You didn't expect that?

A mistake is a learning experience and should be treated as such. If you have never made a mistake, you have never learned anything. Simply startle the puppy with a shout as he is making a mistake, get him outside to "his spot," and use your phrase for doing his thing.

5. Confine your puppy

If your puppy is allowed to have the run of the house or even a room, how are you going to catch him in the act for doing his thing indoors and to tell him that it is "bad?" Keep the pup confined to a crate or a cage when you are not available to watch him at all times. He will grow to appreciate his own room and will thank you for keeping him out of trouble.

reprint courtesy of Innotek Pet-Products

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