Nothing tarnishes the new puppy joy you feel than a growing houseguest who doesn’t know the rules! Of course, it’s not your fur-babies intention to wreak havoc on your home. Just like any animal, they need to be trained on how to live in synchrony among your family and in your household. In this article, we tackle things like potty training, preventing destruction, promoting positive sleep habits and more, with tips and product recommendations to get you and your puppy on the same page!
Before we get started, here are some general details about housetraining. First, training your puppy will take consistency and communication. It can take anywhere from weeks to months to properly train your dog as he or she grows into an adult. So be patient! We’ve summarized this philosophy in this way:
Remember these three P’s
- Positive Reinforcement
You can begin training your puppy at about 8 weeks of age, but be aware: they may need shots to safely go outside and may have already gathered some habits during their first months, depending on where and how they were raised. Even if they have some habits to break, a well-trained puppy can quickly re-learn appropriate behaviors!
Here are our Top 12 Tips to Housetrain Your Puppy
Get your puppy on a schedule
A dog who has a repetitive schedule is much more likely to follow your cues as you begin training them. A schedule includes both going out on walks as well as their feeding schedule, which do go hand-in-hand. Do your best to keep to a consistent timeline so they are able to know what to expect, and react according to their visual cues.
Take your dog on walks – often
No matter what kind of dog you have, as a puppy, they will probably need to go out fairly often. As they grow, their bladder will expand, but when they’re young, be aware that they will need to tinkle more often. Be especially thoughtful of this with miniature and small dogs, who’s bladders are the tiniest. As a general rule of thumb, experts say that your dog should be able to hold their bladder for the number of hours equivalent to their age in months, plus 1. So, a 2-month-old should be able to hold their bladder for about 3 hours. This philosophy remains up to about 9 months. But as with anything, watch for your dog’s signals. She will alert you when she’s ready to go!
As we just mentioned, recognizing signs of distress in your dog is a pretty good indication that they have to “go”. This can look like whining or scratching, or overall uneasiness. Heeding their warnings and taking them on regular walks will establish a positive rapport together.
Be mindful of the 15-minute rule
A puppy (or an adult dog for that matter) will almost always need to eliminate between 5-minutes and 30-minutes after any of the following:
- When they wake up
- When they eat
- After rigorous playing
- After a nap
Of course, they will also need to go to the bathroom before bedtime, as well. This helps prevent them from needing to go at night, which may take some months to graduate to – depending on your dog’s size. To keep the habit strong, don’t forget to reward them when they go outside! Also – for some dogs – enjoying a nice walk, or an extra turn around the block, is another version of a reward for their good behavior. Associating good behavior with these rewards will help them understand the behaviors you’re expecting from them.
Reward your puppy every time they achieve their goal
As mentioned, every time your puppy does what you want them to do, reward them with a treat. It may seem like you’re feeding your puppy a lot of treats in the beginning, so be mindful of what’s actually in the treats they’re getting. We recommend using different treats, consistently; one specific for potty training, another specific for good behavior, and so on. It doesn’t matter which treat is which, just that you are consistent with which bag you are grabbing. Our range of treats are a delicious, all-natural way to keep your puppy satisfied. They’re formulated with cutting-edge ingredients like turmeric, apple cider vinegar and ginger plus natural probiotics for proper digestion.
To shop our puppy training treats, visit this page.
Always be consistent with feeding times. These are associated with both their understanding of their schedule as well as their pattern for going out. Also, never leave food out if your dog is uninterested. You want your puppy to understand that they will only have a specified window of time to eat (max 30 minutes). Being consistent with this will help them stick to their overall schedule. You may want to consider adding an appetite supplement to their food if you find them unwilling to eat. We recommend our Stress Relief drops, which are made with malt syrup, a range of B Vitamins, apple cider vinegar and ginger. This super-tasty supplement is a great option to help prompt your picky eater. To shop this product, visit this page.
When your puppy is still young, they may not be able to hold their bladder throughout the night. Be mindful of the need to take them out at night as this is just a factor of their current size. The smaller the dog, the smaller the bladder! As they get older, they will be able to hold it for longer periods of time, and eventually through the night.
Train using a confined space or Crate
Crate training helps puppies learn when and where to eliminate, and helps them get used to sleeping in your home. Crate training will also help prevent puppies from destroying things around the house, especially during the teething stage. Some general rules of thumb when it comes to crate training:
- Make sure it’s just big enough for them to stand up in and turn around
- Line the crate with shredded paper, blanket(s) and toy(s) to keep them comfy and entertained
- Always remove your puppy’s collar before placing them in their crate for safety
You may need to start small when it comes to crate training, allowing your puppy to stay locked in their cage for minutes at a time before letting them out. These initial stages are important to help them acclimate to the cage. Begin with one minute, or until they begin to get uneasy. Eventually, help them graduate by leaving them in for longer and longer periods of time. Only you and your dog will know the right timing, so pay attention to their emotional cues.
The best way to have a positive crate training experience is to associate the crate with happiness for your puppy. Never use the crate as a punishment. Instead, begin small by giving your puppy a treat in their crate or a food-filled toy to play with. Let them naturally walk into the crate and then shut the door for a few minutes – gradually adding time until they associate the cate with their own personal happy place. For quiet time, you can cover the top of the crate with a small blanket or towel to give them a warming sense of calm. Keep the TV or an Alexa device on, playing soft music to help lull them.
Don’t discipline your puppy
This may sound odd, but disciplining your puppy ultimately only does one thing: instill fear. Alternatively, the goal in getting your puppy to perform good behaviors is to reward them. If you notice they are about to do something wrong, redirect their behavior. Every time they do something right, reward that behavior. They will begin to associate good behaviors with rewards, thus naturally phasing out bad ones. As the owner, you are equally responsible to your puppy to practice patience and awareness. Being present is one of the best ways you can help enforce positive behaviors based upon a consistent schedule.
Clean & Clear
If your puppy has an accident, clean the spot using a formula that has specially formulated enzymes to eliminate the odor and prevent them from tracing the spot again. Accidents will invariably happen. The goal is to prevent repetitive behavior, and using a specific pet carpet and home cleaner will do the trick. We’re proud of the all-natural formulations we’ve developed to help with your pet cleaning needs, and offer our solutions in both a regular and extra strength. To shop our range of pet cleaning products, visit this page.
Use a safe, natural deterrent spray to keep your puppy from attacking attractive household items, like leather goods, the feet of furniture, pillows and more. We’ve got two great formulas for doing just that, which are made from 100% all-natural ingredients, so you don’t have to worry about your puppy licking or ingesting it. In fact, we even formulated our pet deterrent to include ingredients that pet parents just love, including sassafras oil, cinnamon oil, citronella oil, eucalyptus oil, lemongrass oil, cloverleaf oil, plant-based citrals, sage oil, fennel extracts, and ginger extracts. You can also curb your puppies desire to chew on household items by ensuring they have their own set of entertaining chew toys, and by keeping them on a crate schedule when you’re not home. To shop our selection of pet deterrent solutions for “problem chewers,” visit this page.
As your puppy starts to do well with their routine, gradually give them more freedom – whether that’s presenting them with a larger crate or introducing them to one extra room at a time. Keep watch over them because they’re more likely to get themselves in trouble when you turn your head. This will help them gradually acclimate to your home. Add on as you progress and soon your puppy will understand how to be a productive member of the household!