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Housetraining, not breaking

We are getting close to that time of year where puppies will make their way into homes for christmas. A major problem new puppy owners have is toilet training or house training. Poo and wee potentially everywhere, just not where you want it.

Let us look at some real benchmarks that will help you get your puppy house trained in this article.

It is important to note that not all dogs are equal and each dog is an individual. The same way that people mature at different rates so too do dogs. Whilst specific breeds can indeed mature at different rates, our dogs are still individuals with individual maturation speeds. Let us not go too fast or slow for your new pup.

Without a doubt, the largest headache is the science and art of housetraining a young pup.

There are two main aspects to consider when housetraining a puppy:

  • Diet, i.e. Food/Water intake; and

  • Age of the pup.

As long as a puppy has access to food and water, they will also need access to an area within which they can toilet. The frequency for this need is dictated, generally speaking, by age.

Below is a table that shows you the amount of hours between toilet breaks for a pup during the day and night time:

You will notice that during the night a pup can easily go without needing to toilet for a greater period than during the day. This is simply because they are not taking any food or water in, nor are they in a state of activity or excitement. Much like people, nothing in results in nothing out. Assuming all is biologically in sound working order. But, as is usual when dealing with living organisms, there are some limitations to this.

There are a number of factors that can have an effect on the amount of hours between toilet breaks. The amount of play sessions, the portion size of your pups food, the quality or type of food, the maturation rate of your pup and the health of your dog are just some examples of influencing factors. The hard and fast rules are surprisingly simple:

  • Your pup wakes up - Toilet time

  • You finished playing - Toilet time

  • Your pup has just drunk - Toilet time

  • Your pup has just finished eating - Toilet time

  • Your pup is getting ready to sleep - Toilet time

Do both yourself and your puppy a favour and stick to an age appropriate schedule! Forewarned is forearmed, now that you have an idea of when, it is up to you to carry out the how.

When, for example, you take your puppy out, then allow them time to relax and get to do their business, this may take some time and guaranteed that there will be accidents. Just remember that the pup cannot hold their bladder very well and that they are still learning. If they are drinking and eating and not toileting, they may well be simply too excited to toilet. Give it time, set the PVR to record. Put down the phone. Be vigilant. As soon as your pup finishes their business, reward them with some praise before moving back inside. There is no shame in catching your pup as they are about to go! Simply scoop them into your arms and whisk them outside. That is pretty exciting and your pup will certainly need to calm down, that is fine. Babies wet their nappies when they are toilet training too. It is only a big deal if you make it one. Now. not all dog owners have a yard to access. Some dogs are apartment dwellers. That is fine and poses no problems. Simply stick to your schedule and if you are finding the situation difficult to manage. Buy some turf and use that in emergencies in place of whisking your dog down flights of stairs. Turf has the advantage of simulating that naturally occurring toilet substrate found in most places: Grass. It requires little care and is easy enough to clean up. The last caveats are this: When your pup has eliminated, get into the habit of picking it up and disposing of the waste then and there. This creates a situation whereby you spend a little more time outside with your pup and you get in the habit of cleaning the waste up and last but not least, you end up with a cleaner garden for it. Please, please, please, avoid staring at your dog as they toilet. Professionally speaking, I believe that our dogs do deserve some level of privacy. Particularly in public, your dog is very vulnerable and you can be scouting the area for possible events that would be problematic to your dogs bowel movement. You will notice that there is no nose rubbing for soiling in the house. Given the above information, you now are equipped to be able to provide your pup with a space to toilet as well as pertinent and consistent timing of the required toilet breaks.

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