Puppy training is a huge part of making sure your new family member is a welcome addition to your home. Dog training is also important, whether you’re talking about a therapy dog or a loveable household mutt. In fact, training is something that should simply go throughout the duration of your pets life.
A big part of overall puppy training is house training. It’s going to take some time, and you’ll need a lot of patience. But once you put in the effort, the results will last for a lifetime – and you won’t have to worry about those troublesome “accidents” on your furniture or flooring.
Here’s a look at how to properly train your new pup or an older dog. Just remember to always be patient and use positive reinforcement at every turn – no matter how young or old your furry friend may be.
Puppy Behavior And Training – Training Basics
When you bring a new puppy into your home, that’s the best time to start training. Even though a puppy has a short attention span, they can comprehend basic skills, such as “stay,” “down,” and “sit,” as early as two months of age.1
Now, this doesn’t mean you’ll have to commit to basic obedience training for several hours every day. All you really need to do is about 15 minutes each day. You can even spread your sessions into three, five-minute periods. You could do one in the morning, another in the afternoon, and another in the evening – whatever works best for your schedule.2
When Should I Start Socializing My Puppy?
Socializing is also an important step in training. More than likely, your pup started socializing when they interacted with their mother, father, and the other puppies in their litter. However, you’ll want to continue socializing your puppy all the way into adulthood. The most important time for socialization is when they’re about three months old.3
Start gradually when introducing the puppy to any other animals or humans in your home. As the pup starts getting more comfortable, you can increase the duration of socializing.4
Housetraining Your Puppy
One of the most challenging aspects of obedience training is house training – it’s also one of the most important. The need for patience can’t be emphasized enough. There will be some accidents and other missteps along the way. But if you have a plan – and you follow it closely, it might make things a little easier. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Set A Daily Routine
Puppies, just like humans, are creatures of habit. They like waking up at a certain time and eating at a certain time. Putting them on a schedule is a great way of showing your pup that there’s a time to play and a time to eat. When setting their “business” schedule, remember that a puppy can “hold it” for about one hour for every month of age. So a three-month-old pup can control their bladder for about three hours.5
You’ll need to set a potty training schedule. Try to take your pup outside every two hours during the day. Also, do it as soon as you get up in the morning, during and after playtime, and then after they eat or drink. Put your pup on a leash, and then go to a safe area for pooping or peeing. Use a phrase, such as, “go pee pee” or “time for potty” while they’re going. They’ll eventually learn that phrase means it’s time to go.6
Watch Their Food Carefully
During house training, pay close attention to how often your pup eats. Their digestive system is still developing, so they’ll likely have to go pretty soon after mealtime. Instead of feeding a bigger meal, split those meals up into smaller portions, and feed your pup three times a day. Feeding too much at one time might increase the chances of diarrhea.7
Checking your dog’s stools is unpleasant, but it’s necessary. If your pup is having loose stools regularly, you might need to change their food. Check with your vet and see what they recommend.8
Focus On Positive Reinforcement
It might get frustrating while you’re house training your puppy. But the last thing you want to do is scold or punish a dog when they make a mistake. Instead, heap plenty of praise and love on the pup when they do the right thing. Never rub your dog’s nose in an accident, or punish them for not doing what you want. This will only make them scared of you.9
A treat could be a great addition to love. Once your pup goes where they’re supposed to go, give them something tasty to eat. This will help them associate going outside with something good. If there’s an accident inside, promptly clean it up with something that will remove the scent, like a cleaner formulated with enzymes. If they can still smell their mess, they will think its a safe area for them to pee or poop again.10
How To Leash Train A Puppy
Leash training can make it easier to take your pup outside. You don’t want to just let them out alone to do their business. It’s a risk to their health and safety. It would be all too easy for your pup to find an open spot in a fence and escape – and that could be disastrous.
There’s a chance your pup might get scared if you just break out a leash without them having seen it first. Put a lightweight collar on them first, and then attach the leash. Let them drag the leash around inside for a while, and offer treats and love while they do it. Your pup should eventually get used to being on a leash.11
Dogs love to walk. They look at it as a reward. If you stop, they stop – even when they want to keep going. Practice walking your dog on a leash inside before you go to the backyard. If they start pulling, stop walking until they return to your side. Your puppy will eventually learn not to pull.12
House Training An Older Dog
There are some instances where an older dog might need a refresher course in house training. The dog might have never even had a home before you rescued them. Whatever the case, if they’re going to the bathroom inside, you’ll need to rule out a medical or behavioral problem by first visiting your veterinarian.13
If everything checks out okay, the process will be a lot similar to that of house training a puppy. Watch closely for signs the dog needs to go, such as pawing at the back door. If you see a sign, take them out as quickly as you can.14
What Is Puppy Obedience Training?
When it comes to puppies, professional obedience training is an option if yours just simply can’t do whatever it is you want them to learn. Research shows that puppy training classes may help alleviate some of the fear and/or aggression that affect some young dogs when they move into a new home. According to one study, puppies who went to a training class behaved better and experienced less stress than those who did not attend.15
Hopefully, you won’t feel a lot of stress while housetraining your beloved new family member. But if you do, just remember that the work you put in now will be worth it in the long run.