One of the very first dog training exercises you will want to work on with a new puppy or an adult dog moving into your home is—housetraining!
Housetraining is indeed a real test of your patience, but it is one of the first opportunities that you and your puppy will have to bond.
Housetraining is a lot of hard work, but it is necessary.
You will need to have a lot of patience—and maybe even a sense of humour—as you train your dog.
But don’t worry, after all of your hard work, you will have a dog that is housetrained!
When it comes to housetraining, every dog succeeds at a different rate.
It takes some dogs only a few weeks to learn, where it may take other dogs several months.
Here is perhaps the most important thing to know about housetraining:
The rate at which the puppy succeeds is determined by the amount of consistent training that you as the owner give him.
You should begin housetraining your puppy as soon as he arrives home, which is generally around 7 or 8 weeks.
It is important to understand that he does not have full sphincter muscle control, so puppies are not able to hold their bladder and bowel movements for very long periods of time.
If your dog is not fully housetrained after one year, you should talk to your veterinarian to make sure there is nothing physically wrong. If there is nothing wrong, then you may want to seek professional training for the housetraining problem.
Although every dog trains at a different success rate, there are many commonalities for general housetraining. This chapter will explain those.
When you prepare for housetraining, keep in mind that consistency and reward are things that you should always do: be consistent with your training efforts and reward success every time!
OLDER DOG TRAINING
If you are bringing an older dog into your home that has not yet been housetrained, it may be more of a challenge. Older dogs already have developed their habits, so it will take time to retrain him. However, it can be done!
All of the lessons below can be applied to both the younger and older dog. It may just take longer with the older dog, so be patient.
Additionally, older dogs eliminate fewer times than puppies throughout the day, so you have fewer opportunities in the day to train him.
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT HOUSETRAINING
Before you begin housetraining with your dog, there are some basics that you should know. Including:
WHERE DOGS WON’T ELIMINATE
Dogs develop natural preferences for where they want to eliminate. For example, dogs usually don’t want to eliminate where they eat, sleep, and spend their time.
You may be wondering “So why does my dog eliminate on the rug?” The reason is probably because he was expected to “hold it” too long and wasn’t let outside. Or, he may have gotten overly excited about something.
PHYSICAL CAPACITY TO “HOLD IT”
Young puppies will need to eliminate every one to two hours during the day when they are active. If your pup has been eating, drinking, playing, or exercising a lot, he may need to go even more. They may or may not be able to hold it throughout the night. Generally, the younger the puppy is, the less he can hold it.
Older dogs that are healthy have the ability to hold it for six to eight hours during the day and eight to ten hours over night.
However, every dog is different so you should track your dog’s elimination cycle so you can better estimate when he will need to go out. For example, track his schedule for a couple of weeks.
Then, once you see a pattern, let him out 10-15 minutes before that scheduled time. Of course, he may need to go out more if he has been eating, drinking, playing, or exercising more frequently.
If the situation arises when you need to leave your dog for a longer period than which he can hold it, don’t keep him in his crate.
Rather, put him in a small room such as a laundry room or bathroom where he can eliminate in an area on newspaper if he needs to, and still keep his sleeping and food area separate.