Wee-wee pads are a good solution for dogs with incontinence problems, but using them as a replacement for proper housebreaking is setting yourself up for a lot of hassle! Don’t miss the opportunity to get your dog into good habits around the house. If you don’t know how to house train a puppy, keep reading. Like any part of puppy training, housebreaking takes some work and dedication, but you’ll save yourself a lot of time and money by making this investment now. Below are some tips on how to house train a puppy, but these same techniques can also be applied to older dogs that were never properly house trained.
When you’re training a puppy to go to the bathroom outside, there are two main goals to accomplish:
- Get your dog to make the association that outdoors is where they should go to the bathroom
- Get your dog to associate being indoors with being clean, and to stay clean by holding it when they need to go
Your greatest tool in housebreaking your dog is crate training. Since we cannot possibly watch over our puppy 100% of the time, we use the crate until housebreaking is completed. Every single time you take your puppy out of the crate, you will take him or her right outside to go to the bathroom. When your puppy is indoors and out of the crate, you will stay with them 100% of the time. This gives a mischievous puppy no chance to wander around and go to the bathroom in the house, or develop other unwanted behaviors such as chewing. Give your puppy a chance to go to the bathroom outside every 3-4 hours.
Slowly start giving your puppy more freedom in the same room you are in. You still want to be able to keep an eye on your puppy, but by slowly introducing more independence you are training your puppy that good behavior indoors is expected at all times, whether they have your undivided attention or not.
Accidents happen. Housebreaking is a process; be ready for your dog to make mistakes along the way. If you notice the progress starting to backslide, reel in some of the space you had given your puppy. Be prepared to correct your dog’s behavior. Every dog responds best to different types of corrections, but whatever method you use, be sure to thoroughly research and understand the principles involved. Yelling, hitting, or wiping your dog’s nose in their mess are never appropriate corrections, and will only act to hurt your puppy’s training (and feelings). Corrections need to be given during the behavior, not after, otherwise the connection won’t be made. Be sure to reward good behavior with plenty of praise! Every time they go to the bathroom outdoors, praise them, take them inside, and enjoy your time with your dog!
The problem with wee-wee pads is that you are training your puppy how to go to the bathroom indoors instead of outdoors. The last thing we want is to get a dog into the habit of going in the house, whether it’s on a pad or not. Dogs should prefer being clean than dirty, so by cleaning their crates regularly and keeping waste outside, you encourage good behavior, and if you follow the above steps correctly the number of accidents should be minimal.