Thursday, 11 August 2022
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The Pet Expert: 5 Simple Steps to House-Train Your Puppy

housetraining270For those who have visited our outlet store recently, you may have noticed two new puppies hanging around: Blue, a 9-week-old Burmese Mountain Dog, bottle-fed since 2.5 weeks of age, and Bodhi, a sweet-hearted 3-month-old White Shepherd who loves to give snuggles. They have been having a blast making so many new friends!

With the excitement that comes with new puppies, we have been re-familiarizing ourselves with the ins and outs of house training. And while every dog is different, the underlying basics remain the same.

Be Consistent

House training takes a lot of patience, and more importantly, consistency. Being too lazy, or too tired, to take the puppy out to pee regularly may result in bathroom problems for some time. However, providing consistent pee breaks at regular intervals will result in a pup that trains easily and quickly.

With young pups, take them outside every 30-45 minutes during the day, and every 4-6 hours throughout the night. Training your puppy to sleep in a crate will usually result in fewer night-time accidents. Always take your puppy outside immediately after waking up in the morning, and also after each nap.

Keep a Regular Feeding Schedule

Feeding your puppy at the same time each day will help sync their bathroom routine. Remove uneaten food between meals. Fresh cold water should always be readily available throughout the day. Pay attention to when they take a drink – they’ll likely need to pee within the next half hour at the most. To help eliminate nighttime accidents, remove their water about an hour before bed time.

Make a Big Deal About It

Puppies respond very well to positive praise. When your pup eliminates outside, make a big deal about it! Smile, tell them what a good dog they are, clap, pet them, and any other gesture that shows you’re pleased. Your dog will quickly associate eliminating outside with happy things. Small training treats also work as a great reward for more food-motivated dogs.

On the other hand, reprimanding dogs for having indoor accidents is actually counteractive. Dogs don’t understand why you’re yelling at them, or why your body language is negative. They know you’re upset, but they cannot connect the dots.

And the old-fashioned technique of rubbing a dog’s nose in their own mess? Forget it! All this does is create fear and anxiety about eliminating.

Be Prepared

Accidents happen. And trust me, they will happen. Even the most attentive, in-tune dog owners can’t stop every accident before it happens. This is why patience is so important.

Be prepared for accidents with a good-quality stain and odour remover, as well as an ample supply of paper towels. Also consider tether training: temporarily keeping your puppy on a leash of no more than 10 feet while indoors. This allows you to keep your puppy in sight whenever needed, and also makes it easier to identify if an accident is in the making.

As your puppy gets better at understanding the rules of the household, give him more freedom to roam around. Remove the tether when housebreaking is complete.

Remember to provide adequate exercise, as many behavioral problems stem from lack of exercise and mental stimulation. A pent-up pooch needs to release their energy, so be prepared with a consistent exercise outlet. Also, don’t forget about toys and chew products for in-home activities.

Have Realistic Expectations

Even the most intelligent dogs may take a while before they are fully house-trained, so try to set realistic goals. Expecting too much of a young puppy will often lead to frustration.

Young dogs cannot hold their bladder for long, and are easily distracted, so expect accidents to happen. Throughout the night, be prepared to get up a few times to take your pup out for a bathroom break.

Understand that puppies do not come pre-programmed with any rules or guidelines. They need time to learn from their environment. The more consistent you are, the faster your puppy will learn. The more love and encouragement you surround him in, the more he will want to learn.

After all the accidents, the late night bathroom breaks, all the nipping and biting… thankfully, it’s all temporary. Housebreaking can feel like a real grind at times, but the hard work will eventually pay off.

Getting a new puppy is the start of a wild and wonderful journey, so enjoy your moments together – even the less glamourous ones. The sweet isn’t as sweet without the sour, right?

Brandon Forder – also known as The Pet Expert – is vice-president of Canadian Pet Connection, a family-owned and -operated business located in Meaford. He has over twenty years’ experience specializing in pet nutrition, behaviour and lifestyle. Canadian Pet Connection is an industry leader committed to providing their clients with the highest levels of personal, attentive service. Learn more at


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