Many new dog owners approach house training with all sorts of misinformation. It should be a straight forward, simple procedure but many people feel stressed. I have heard many reports from owners saying it feels like process with never end!
Here are some common mistakes people make in house training their puppy:
Mistake 1: When you find a mess, take the puppy to where you want them to go potty and then scold them.
Your puppy needs their potty place to be a place of praise and encouragement! Do not use it as a location to punish your dog.
Mistake 2: When you find a mess, you should hit the dog and then ignore them.
First of all, you should never hit your puppy. Next, puppies don’t have a negative association with going potty. Therefore, scolding them for going potty just makes them think you are crazy and can make them scared of you, hurting your relationship with them.
Mistake 3: Dogs can be trained to go potty on paper, or outside, or both.
More than anything this can confuse your puppy. The key to house training is consistency. The only time puppy pads should be used when the situation demands it.
THE BIGGEST MISTAKE: After finding a mess, rub the dog’s nose in it.
Never do this!! It’s like cutting off your nose to spite your face! This puts the dog at risk for infections/bacteria and encourages stool consumption.
Our recommended approach to house training:
- Schedule, schedule, schedule. The key is to make positive associations with your puppy going outside and eliminating accidents. Your puppy is naturally going to need to potty. If you can use crate training and a consistent schedule, you will be able to control as many elements as possible and create those connections each potty break, avoiding accidents. They should be going potty every 30-45 minutes at first.
- Create associations with going potty outside by bringing them to the area you want them to potty in right after they are done with crate time. Each time they go potty in the designated area, praise and reward the puppy with verbal and physical affirmation.
- Use the same word or phrase when taking them potty. We use “go potty.” This is all we say until they go potty. Then we can play and tell them what a good dog they are.
- If they have an accident inside, don’t call the dog to punish them. Puppies don’t understand that going potty inside is bad. All you can do is calmly take the dog out of the room without praise and confine them to their crate while you clean it up. It is best if this is done without them seeing you.
*The only exception is if you can catch them in the beginning of the act, correct them and quickly take them outside to the designated potty area.
Keep in mind that house training takes time. Puppies are not robots. There will be some accidents. Have patience, stay consistent. Your puppy will learn with time and love.