Basic House Training

The more you know...

Always place your puppy in his/her "Safe Place" when you are not at home or at night while you are asleep. Your puppy can usually be left in his/her crate, for up to three hours without a potty. Whatever the size your puppy, be sure the crate is and will be large enough, for at least several months, to accommodate his/her standing fully erect and being able to turn around easily within the kennel. In a couple of months your puppy can be increased up to 5 hours without a potty. Your puppy will need to potty as soon as you let him/her out, so this must be the first thing you do! Generally, a puppy is not mature enough to have full control of his/her bladder or bowels until they reach 5-6 months of age. Dogs do not like to soil their area of sleeping and eating, this is why having and using a crate works so well. Being confined within helps to teach the pup to control his/her release of urine and feces. I have seen some that don’t do so well with this but it is good to at least give this method a try.

When your puppy is loose within your home, restrict him/her to small places like one or two rooms, this way you can keep a close eye for signs of his/her needing to potty. When I train my puppies, I keep a close eye on him/her by connecting a six foot lead to his/her collar and attach the other end to my belt loop, this way he/she is never more than three feet away and I always know what he/she is up to, it is most defiantly a cumbersome bother for you, but it works well and you won’t regret it.

Puppies usually need to “potty” every hour or so when they are young. Upon awaking, eating, and drinking, they will need to go right away. Many times while playing, the pup will become so involved with what is happening that he/she will not pay any attention to his/her needing to potty. When this need overwhelms him/her there will be very little warning for you to notice, things you'll need to watch for may be: turning in a tight circle, seeming to be stretching out in a standing position (males), spreading the back legs apart and squatting (females), whining, or even possibly going behind something or into a corner. You'll need to be very observant to learn which signs your puppy will give. The moment you see any of these signs, you need to quickly scoop him/her up and while carrying them (being sure not to be squeezing their belly), keep saying something like "You gotta go Potty"? (This is the wording we use.) All of our puppies are doggie door trained, so just showing them the doggie door should work, but if you need other home training, I would suggest the portable folding fence, they work very well. The portable folding fences are steel, hinged, 24" X 24" X 8 panel fences that can be placed and moved very easily. It is best to obtain one which has a door in it for later use. One unit, creates a small 6 square foot area which will work for a small puppy but, as the pup grows, you may want to add more panels to form a larger area. A fence of two sets of panels is plenty for a beagle puppy, and the 36" height is fine for small beagles up to about 20 lbs, but larger beagles will need taller and probably larger pens. The panel fences are available up to 4 ft. high and you can connect as many as you wish together. Once you are outside in the area where you wish your pup to use, place him/her on the ground in the fenced area and offer the command "Go Potty", only use this command at this one spot, it may be good to say it several times as you wait, but don't over use it to the point that it becomes meaningless. You need to have a small treat, (the key word is small, we use small pieces of cut up hotdogs) on your person, this would be an excellent time to offer one, after the praise and treat, remember to have a few minutes of playtime as a secondary reward if that's what he/she seems to want to do. House training your puppy may take months, but you must be patient and strong. After your puppy has made the transition into being fully house trained with the portable fence, that little fence may and probably will become a fantastic aid to you, how you ask? With the fenced area being the only area your dog has ever been allowed to potty, he/she is now in the habit of going there to do his/her business. Once the young puppy completes his potty training business in the little pen (with the door latched) he/she can now try it with the gate open! When you take him/her outside we pray he/she will just go in the pen and do the business, be sure to offer sincere praise when done. When praising your puppy, let him/her know this is a really good thing he/she has done and give the treat. After the praise and treat, remember to have a few minutes of playtime as a secondary reward if that's what he/she seems to want to do. When you find a mistake your puppy has made in the house, that you didn't see happen, you're going to have to consider this to be more of your mistake than the puppy's. Show your puppy’s mess to him/her and say “ Bad potty”, don’t get mad, just be firm, take him out to the potty place and tell him/her “good potty”. He/she needs to know that you are the "ALPHA" in his/her life but also, you are the one he can always turn to for his needs: Food, water, love, comfort, guidance and security. This is not unlike what a human child wants and needs, your new puppy is your child, RIGHT?


Cleaning Up The Accidents

After removing the worst of the "soil", and before using any other cleaning agent, it is strongly advised that you treat the spot deeply and thoroughly with a bacterial enzyme odor eliminating product. One of the best on the market is "Nature's Miracle", readily available in most stores. Any remaining sent will draw the dog to use the same area again, so always use the odor eliminator FIRST and be sure to use enough to saturate the area. If you use another cleaner first, the chemicals in it will generally kill the little bacteria that are supposed to destroy the odor!


Food and Parasites

Be sure to feed your puppy top quality food and that he is free of intestinal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, coccidia and giardia. Poor quality food, that is full of fillers, like corn and such, can cause intestinal up-set leading to unstable bowels and other potty related problems, which can severely compromise your housetraining efforts. Young puppies will urinate about every hour or so which means they will also be drinking possibly more water then you may think they would be. Be sure to keep their water dish clean and filled. If you believe your puppy is urinating excessively, it may be a good idea to catch a urine sample, place it in a very clean, sealed container, and take it to your Vet. for analysis. The sample must be taken to the Vet. soon, while the urine is fresh (within, at most, 2 hours of collection). Urine samples that are over 2 hours old will not yield true results, but you can keep the sample in the refrigerator over night if need be, that will keep it fresh and be good for analysis the next day.

One thing that many new owners find very confusing is the fact that a puppy can "hold it" for even up to 6-8 hours during the night and many times even while your away at work (try to not make your puppy wait 8 hours though, it's really hard on their bladder) but, they seem to need to potty every hour or so when your at home, awake and with him/her. The reason for this is: During the hours of sleep, nature quiets the bladder and bowels, this is done to allow for long periods of rest. Once the puppy awakes, the body will need to "catch-up" on the function of the kidneys which is the cleaning the blood, so ----- the pup will probably need to "go out" at least twice in the hour or so after this extended period of "holding it". If you have to leave your puppy to go to work, after he/she has been asleep for a considerable time, be sure to take him/her outside at least twice, with 15-20 min. between each time, prior to your leaving the house. Almost every puppy can be house trained if you work in the right "direction". That "direction" is not always the same for every puppy, sometimes what works for one puppy may not work on another. If what your doing is minimizing the "accidents" through providing proper supervision; treating the "accident spots" properly with enzymes; letting your puppy know that you are very pleased and offering praise for a "good job done" and letting your puppy know your not pleased with his "accidents". THE BIGGEST THING OF ALL ---- NEVER LOOSING YOUR TEMPER! When you lose your temper, you lose control of the situation. When you loose control of the situation, you've lost "the game". Everything in that episode is lost! You must be firm. You must be ALPHA, this is how the dog world works.