House Training your Dog
House training a dog can be a long and difficult process – though of course it is also an essential one, if you value the cleanliness of your floors and rugs!
It can also be a good time to bond with your dog. Because training your puppy will require a lot of close observation and interaction with your pet, this can be a great time for a loving bond to grow and develop between owner and pet.
The typical time frame for house training a dog is four to six months. Just as with human babies though, some dogs will pick it up quicker than others, and of course don’t feel too discouraged if your dog takes a little longer than the average. Dogs from smaller breeds, for example example, can often take a little longer owing to their smaller bladders and higher metabolisms.
The best age to begin housetraining your puppy is between 12 to 16 weeks old. By this stage, your dog should have developed sufficient control of his bladder and bowel so that he can begin to respond to training.
In the early stages it is important to keep your dog confined to one room – do not let him roam around the house until he is further along with training and knows that the toilet is outside – not in the closet!
The three keys to housetraining your puppy are consistency, positive reinforcement and patience. Build your training plan around these three principles and you won’t go far wrong.
For example, show consistency in feeding your dog. As much as is possible, always feed your dog at the same times every day, in the same room and using the same bowl – though of course feel free to switch up his food every now and then!
Take your dog outside straight away when you wake in the morning, and follow this up with repeated trips every 30 minutes to an hour, the time gap will of course depend on your own dog. Always remember to take him outside immediately after meals and when he wakes up from sleeping.
Take your dog to the same spot in the garden or street every time. He will quickly recognize his own scent and this will help him to feel safe. Stay with your dog too, this will give him the sense of security he will need.
When your dog is successful, always remember to reward him. This can come in the form of verbal praise, a food treat or perhaps five minutes of playtime with his favorite toy – this is positive re-enforcement, and is very important.
Lastly, there is patience. There will be setbacks and your dog will have accidents from time to time. Resist the urge to shout, but firmly admonish the dog by clapping loudly then lead him outside. Never hit or strike your dog.
Follow these tips and you will have a happy, confident house trained dog in nest to no time!