Housebreaking FAQs

Q: How long should it take to train my puppy?

A: Every puppy is different, so try not to get discouraged when someone tells you their puppy was trained in a week. This is by far not the average. Most take weeks to even months to be trustworthy dogs. As long as the puppy is gradually improving, you are probably on the right track. If things seem to be getting worse instead of better, then call us and we can make suggestions to tweak the training process.

Q: How can I get my puppy to tell me he/she has to go outside?

A: Not every dog will scratch the door or bark when it needs to go outside. Some dogs just adjust to the schedule you have set and learn to wait until they are taken out, or learn by watching other dogs in the household. Some may come and stare at you, or start to sniff around. That is why it is important to pay attention to their cues and learn how your dog is communicating. One method that seems to help puppies that will routinely go to the door and have an accident, without barking, is the bell technique. It works by hanging a bell on a string on the door handle down to nose level for the dog. Every time the dog is taken out the door to eliminate, the dog’s nose is touched to the bell to make it ring, so the dog eventually associates him ringing the bell with the door being opened so he can go outside. The sound of the bell ringing is your cue that he needs to go out.

Q: My puppy urinates several times in an hour, and is having accidents in the crate. Help!

 If you have taken the bedding out of the crate, made it small enough, and are still finding a soiled puppy most of the time, then it may be a health problem, not a training problem. Urinary tract infections are fairly common in puppies, and can make housebreaking nearly impossible if untreated. If a puppy is stooling in the kennel, then a fecal examination is recommended to rule out parasites that can make it difficult for a puppy to hold it in when he has the urge to go. Call us today to schedule an appointment for a urinalysis or fecal examination if your puppy is having these types of problems.

Q: The breeder said the puppy was paper trained, so how do I get him trained to go outside?

 Many breeders paper train because with a litter of puppies, it is much easier than trying to take them all outside so frequently. You should never try to paper train and outside train a puppy at the same time; it is too confusing for the puppy. Start by taking the puppy outside immediately when you bring it home. It may help to bring a few newspapers outside initially, so it gets the idea, but don’t put newspapers inside, unless you want to always have a paper trained dog. Use the crate training method as described above, and gradually eliminate the papers all together. Some people use litter boxes with toy breed dogs, like Chihuahuas, especially if they live in apartments or are gone for long days.