House Training for Puppies
This is the number one priority. Many
puppies will not have had any house training before they arrive at their
new home. They will have lived in their kennel or box with their litter
mates, but even there the sleeping area is usually taboo for toileting
once the puppies are old enough to move around. This can be used during
the course of house training.
There are two methods of teaching a puppy to use an appropriate site for
its toilet, and they can be used simultaneously.
The first method involves eternal vigilance. Puppies squat to urinate and
use a slightly more humped squat to defecate. As soon as the puppy
postures to do either you must scoop him up and put him on the designated
spot. If you miss the signs, do not scold the puppy. He doesn't yet know
what he's supposed to do; he hasn't done anything wrong.
The second method is to use newspaper to cover the entire floor area on
which the puppy runs. He will learn that newspaper is a suitable medium
for his natural functions, and a gradual reduction in the size of the
available newspaper will result in the puppy using a smaller and smaller
area of floor. The theory is that you can then move the paper outside, and
the puppy will continue to use it, until he learns that only outside the
house is appropriate. Both methods work, one will suit one puppy better
than another. A combination of the two by using the paper at night and
extreme vigilance during the day, will usually produce the best results.
Not uncommonly, older puppies may "unlearn" about toilet training. Some
trigger will cause them to break their newly formed habit. Again, please
don't punish them.
This is where a dog's instinct can be useful. A healthy dog will not soil
its own bed. It can be extremely helpful, for all sorts of reasons, to
teach a dog to use a cage as a bed, and this is one of them. If you make
it comfortable, the dog will very quickly learn to regard it as his own
place to retreat to when the world gets too complicated. If the puppy does
"unlearn" his house training, let him sleep in the cage, and put him out
into the garden in the required place immediately after you open the cage
The cage mustn't be a prison for the puppy, rather a refuge, but it is
useful for him to learn that sometimes the door must be shut. Suitable
treats, something extra tasty, will usually persuade him to accept it.
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