House Training Your Puppy
Congratulations on your new puppy! Below we have compiled a quick list of general puppy training tips! Please don't hesitate to reach out to one of our technicians or veterinarians with specific questions regarding the new member of your family.
Contact is Key!
Introducing your puppy to physical contact from the beginning is an essential part in socialization. We recommend daily doses of cuddling and snuggling. The idea is to promote pleasant physical sensations for your dog to reduce fear and stress during handling later in life. Rubbing on paws, ears, around the muzzle, and everywhere in between is how to socialize your puppy to human touch. You will be grateful for the extra contact in the long run, as will your veterinarian and support staff! Simple things like physical examinations, nail trims, medicating ears, and administering oral medications can be associated with care instead of stress.
Potty-Training your Pooch!
A scheduled routine will be your best friend while potty-training your pup. It can seem daunting, but a few key strategies will help you get your pet on the right track to being a well-mannered member of the household!
In the early days with your new puppy, you want to avoid the chance for accidents to happen. This means you are going to be taking your puppy outside to potty a lot – we mean a lot. Puppies pass food and water extremely quickly, and any excitement or activity makes that happen even faster.
We recommend taking your young puppy out every hour, at the least, depending on size. For example, a larger Labrador puppy will be able to wait longer than a Chihuahua puppy.
Each trip outside:
- Go to the same spot or area in the yard.
- Use a word you wish to attach to the idea of “going,” i.e.: potty, business, pee-pee, or even just go. Repeat the chosen word or phrase at each break.
- When relief is successful, praise! Positive verbal reinforcement and caring pats will encourage your puppy to repeat the action in the future.
- Immediately return into your home. You want your puppy to learn that these trips are meant for “business.”
Feeding your puppy on a schedule is an important part of this routine. Feed at the same times each day, then walk your puppy within 15-20 minutes of eating, as described above. Don’t vary from your schedule if possible – your puppy will get into the groove very quickly.
Only correct your dog when you actually catch him or her in the act, and when you do, say "no" firmly but not angrily. Then take your puppy outside to take care of business. Never get upset or punish a puppy for an accident. Also, reprimanding a puppy for something that happened more than a minute in the past will cause confusion.
As your puppy gets older, you can extend the time between trips outside. Again, the average time in between breaks will best be determined by age and size. For specific potty-training guidelines, feel free to chat with one of our veterinarians about what is best recommended. The idea is to not allow your puppy the chance to have an accident in the home. If your think your puppy is well-trained, and begins having an unusual number of accidents, it could be due to an underlying medical issue and you should talk to your veterinarian.
Crates are Crucial!
We highly recommend crate training. When you’re not around or during your sleep time, a crate is a great alternative to letting your puppy wander around and get into trouble. Beginning at a young age will allow your new puppy the opportunity to not only get used to being in the crate, but to also enjoy crate time. There may be some initial refusal, but eventually most young dogs benefit greatly from crate training!
We see that puppies who are crate trained…
- Have less accidents in the home. If crated in an appropriate sized crate, a young pet will learn that having an accident in their own space is undesirable. Pulling up food and water an hour before crate time will also help unwanted accidents.
- Display less signs of separation anxiety. The crate can be your pups’ sanctuary and offers safety. Leaving a chew toy in the crate while you’re away can reduce potential boredom and destruction.
- Travel better in the future. While in the car, the safest transport option is to crate your dog. If he or she is already used to the crate, the stress of traveling can be reduced.