House Training a Puppy

House training a puppy takes time, consistency and patience. The proper training methods can make it easier on you and your dog. This is a page about house training a puppy.
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The time to start training your new puppy is on the day it joins your family. Don't expect perfection. Puppies have accidents. They forget the rules at times and sometimes, their curiosity causes trouble for them in areas where rules haven't been established.

training a Shepherd puppy

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I have been training another new pup we just recently adopted. He has been having a few accidents on my beds. So I went to a furniture store where they sell mattresses and they gladly gave me the plastic off some of the beds.

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I wrapped all our mattresses in the plastic and used packing tape to secure them on the bottom. So at least when he is finally trained I will have my mattresses. Thank God I do not have carpets! This saved me a lot of money; rubber sheets are expensive.

By coville123 from Brockville, Ontario

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April 2, 2005

When we first got our dog (10 month old rescue Pomeranian), we got just so far in housebreaking her and couldn't get any further. We could tell that she wasn't getting the message clearly on what we wanted and we were sort of at a loss on how to let her know that she'd done something wrong without yelling or (god forbid) hitting her.

Then we had a brainstorm. We stole an idea from my (human) nephew's training and now have a "naughty seat" for her. The premise is that the child must sit on the naughty seat for a couple of minutes whenever he has done something wrong. We converted that to a bathroom with the light turned off for a couple of minutes.

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It works perfectly. She got the message very quickly (we use it when she's broken training and has gone in the house) and we haven't had to use it much since.

By Kathleen K.

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I had two 8 weeks old puppies to house train at the same time. I took them outside when they woke up, after they played, after they ate, and before they went to bed.

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According to the Humane Society if your puppy has an accident while being house trained, take the rags or paper towels you used to clean up the area and place them in her defined elimination spot outdoors.

Reinforcing Proper Potty Spot for Your Puppy  - puppy with rolls of TP

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When house training your dog, take it to the same place, every time you take him/her outside to do it's business. Tell your dog "hurry up" or "potty" as your dog does his business.

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When house breaking your dog, remember it needs to go out before and after everything, before a nap, after a nap, before eating, after eating, before playtime, after playtime.

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June 28, 2005

If you get a puppy, keep it in an old baby playpen with newspapers layered over an old shower curtain or other waterproof mat. Then the puppy can stay in the room with you without causing "accidents" on the carpet.

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February 12, 2008

When we get a puppy we start out with lots of love and affection. We get a nice size box and put a clock that ticks (sounds like a heart), a cuddly blanket and a hot water bottle which we place under the blanket.

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November 16, 2004

Convincing Your Dog to Potty in One Place. Adapted From: Dog Tricks For Dummies. Having a dog that eliminates in a designated place is a real advantage.

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Thank you to Racer for recommending this link.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

We have had our baby Bichon for three weeks. He is now about twelve weeks old. We simply cannot keep him in his bin because he barks and barks. So, we let him run free which I think has been a terrible mistake. Please give me ideas as to how to potty train him. I do have the pads and he occasionally uses them, but most of the time he does not. Help please. Thanks so much.

By Montana Jewel Therapy from The Last Best Place NW Montana

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October 24, 2017

So our dog is almost 9 months old. We tried crate training her as a puppy when we got her at 8 weeks old, but she still peed and pooped where she slept and then she'd lay in it and then need a bath. So we let her sleep with us in bed and now she doesn't mess during the night. However when we leave her at home no matter how long we are gone she will at least pee in the basement and sometimes poop.

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We've tried confining her to just one room and now she's designated that room as her potty room. If we leave her out with our other dog who is almost 9, thinking she'll do better with companionship, she still will go downstairs and go potty. She still doesn't let us know when she has to go either. If she has to go during the night though she'll usually stand on us to get us up, but during the day she doesn't tell us. We are at our wits end with her not holding it for as little as 2 hours. Any ideas?

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October 25, 20170 found this helpful
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Dog not training.

Step 1
His mother probably did not keep him clean so he is used to sleeping in his own waste.

Step 2
Make a 50-50 solution of water and vinegar.

Step 3
After washing where he is going potty spray all over with vinegar.

Step 4
It might act as a repellent.

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Step 5
Tether him to you when your home so you can catch him when he has to go.

Step 6
Scold him with the sound of your voice.

Step 7
Take him right outside to finish and give him a treat every time he goes outside.

Step 8
Praise him and play with him for a few minutes.

Step 9
Keep treats on you so you can reward right away.

Step 10
Take him out every hour be consistent it will be worth it in the long run.

Step 11
If he still pees then I would take him to the vets.

Step 12
He should catch on in 3 days if your consistent set a timer for every hour to remind you to take him outside.

Step 13
The more chances you have to reward him the faster he will catch on.

Step 14
Put puppy pads down in his crate to make clean up easier.

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February 18, 2016

I have a 7 week old blue Pit Bull, and it only took me 3 days to paper train him, and then house train him. Is it that they are smarter than most dogs, or do I have a strange dog? He still nips, but I expected that, but when I tell him to stop he does. Also, when is the right age to get him vaccinated for I lost my one Pit who was 8 years old, and I just can't lose Crosby (yeah that's his name). Please someone give me an answer.

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April 3, 2006

I have a German Shepherd female pup that, as of today, is 3 months old. I have a few questions. She has learned some things pretty fast, but doesn't always listen or do as she is supposed to. She will sit when told and go into crate when told, and responds to, "do you want a treat" and "are you hungry, want to eat?".

I have a dog door at home that she goes in and out of while we are home. She learned to use it from seeing our 4 year old German Shepherd go in and out and showing her myself. If we are home she will usually always go out herself to potty. But there are times I still find pee or poop inside and have to clean it up. She is in a crate while I'm at work for sometimes 5 to seven hours and she does fine and doesn't go in the crate. I still show her how to go out at night, that seems to be the bigger problem, not so much in day time when we are home. It's like she forgets she can go out of the dog door at night. Any suggestions?

Also, when do they usually begin to start to lose baby teeth? It looks like her baby teeth haven't hardly come in yet. I read they usually lose teeth then ears stand up around 4 to 6 months, but her ears are totally up in the air and stood up like that at about 2 or 2 1/2 months old.

Also, if she is play biting with me or our other dog and she gets a little rough I will pop her nose easy and say, "no", and she does not like to be told no. Sometimes she listens and other times she will bark back at me and chop her teeth loud. Sometimes it seems aggressive when she does it and other times it seems like she is just playing. Does that sound like she may have an aggression problem?

Thank you, I hope I didn't ask too much at one time. :o)

Nicky from NC

Answers

By Vicka (Guest Post)
April 4, 20060 found this helpful

Congratulations on having GSD's. They are fantastic dogs. Crate your dog at night until she can be trusted. Take her out to relieve before bed and not again til morning.It sounds like a lot of crating, but she will live. Just make sure she gets lots of exercise during the day.

If you don't have a collar on her, get the best leather or heavy ribbed fabric collar you can afford. It should be 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide and tight enough that you can slip 2 or 3 fingers in. DON"T keep it too loose. The collar will be your "steering wheel" and you should have her wear it 24/7. Check regularly for correct tightness as her neck will grow.

Never bop her on the nose, as that will make her hand shy. But when she is mouthy like you described, you need to INSTANTLY correct the bejabbers out of her by grabbing her collar while you are standing and IMMEDIATELY (timing is crucial) letting her know that is totally unacceptable. Personally, I have lifted my GSD,s off their front feet and told them in no uncertain terms what the deal is and we have three, all house dogs. If you have not corrected in this manner or are not comfortable doing this, have a professional assist you. A dog should never mouth your hand. You are the boss. Shepherds especially need to know who is in charge and it is NEVER the dog. Love her and play, but never relinquish your role as pack leader. Uncorrected mouthing can escalate to real problems.

This is long, I know but many large dogs end up in shelters because of bad manners.

Work with her by setting her up. That is eliciting the mouthy behavior (flip your hands around, talk excitedly) and then giving the correction if she mouths your hand. Just don't use her name in this exercise. Do this as often as you think about it during the day. When she is responding the way you want then play, treat or whatever, with lots of praise when she reacts as you wish. These are smart dogs and they will figure it out if we are consistent in showing what we want and will praise for and what is not acceptable. You have a small pack on your hands and that is fine, just be in charge.

Her teeth should be coming in any time and she may need extra "chewing". Check in her mouth to see if any teeth are loose. Usually teeth come in just fine, but it's good to check the mouth. Ears can be up, down, sideways and usually are up by 4-6 months. We even had a "conehead", her ears both leaned in from about 10 weeks til she was 5 months. What a cutie.

Good luck with your dogs.

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By Claudia-MD (Guest Post)
April 5, 20060 found this helpful

This sounds like a pretty well-behaved dog for three months. She just needs a little time. As for the play-biting, I think that comes with teething, but should be discouraged. Sounds like you found a good one.....good luck with her.

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My son has a 4 month old American Boxer. He seems really smart, but what a problem with the house training. It is better than a month ago, but my son just took him outside 3 times in the last 90 minutes (he does not play with him when they are outside for potty relief), he peed each time.

My son just went down cellar to put in a load of wash and he peed at the top of the stairs. Why? My son is convinced Thorn does it because he doesn't like being away from my son. Thorn follows my son around constantly and if he is doing dishes or standing still or sitting, the dog is wrapped around his legs. Thorn has no problem holding it all night, but he sleeps in my son's bedroom. If this is anxiety how does my son fix this?

He is very stressed out as he doesn't want to leave Thorn in his kennel, but if his eyes are not on him and he is busy taking care of his 3 year old daughter invariably the dog will pee and it is ruining the wood floor. Any advise would be greatly appreciate. If he leaves Thorn in the kennel when he is home, but doing household tasks and chores the dog whines incessantly. Help!!

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January 27, 2013

I am having house training problems with my 8-month-old mini Dachshund. I live in an apartment and unfortunately, I am not able to leave any door open to my balcony when I go to work. She is left inside for approximately 8 hours a day. I walk her every morning and evening.

Every time I come home from work she has pooped on the floor. I leave a pee pad out every day and she uses this to pee on 80% of the time, but almost never uses it to poo, even if she has pooped out on our walk!

If I am at home during the weekend with her or in the evenings, she still sometimes has accidents. I locked her outside for 1/2 an hour to "punish" her. Sometimes too in the mornings, I wake to find she has pooped on the floor. I love her to pieces and I believe I do take her out more than she actually needs so I can't understand why she keeps doing this?

lanamcnaught

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April 25, 2018

I just recently adopted a 7/8 month old puppy. We aren't really sure what type of dog she is, but we have an idea. We think she might be a Doberman/Beagle mix. Her name is MJ. We have had her for almost two weeks now and I'm not sure if she's happy or not.

We also have a 8 month old German Shepherd/Cavachon mix. Her name is Harlie. Harlie is a lot bigger than MJ, but we think they are still growing. There aren't any issues between the two dogs, they totally love each other and love to play!

We just got Harlie house trained. She doesn't have an accident at all. It took about a month and a half I believe, almost two months. She's very good about holding in over night and in her crate while we are away at work. MJ on the other hand is the total opposite and I think it has to do with her leaving her previous home. We've noticed that she will submissively pee at any time. We were told she was house broken, but not about this problem. Anytime we try to approach her, she sometimes pees or if we are getting ready to go outside, sometimes she holds it and sometimes she doesn't. She also sometimes takes a very long time to poop outside, but sometimes it's quick. And other times she doesn't at all after spending almost 30 mins outside and will come in and poop. She is crate trained and will not go in her crate, she sometimes like to sleep in there if we are cleaning.

I'm not sure if she is afraid of us or excited, but I've been cleaning up pee for the past two weeks since we got her. She has 2-3 incidents a day and I don't know what to do anymore. I've looked up things to do. I do not scold or punish her for submissively peeing, I try to approach her from the side with no direct eye contact because that is a trigger point. We have her on the same eating and bathroom schedule as Harlie as well.

We also notice if we go to pick her up, she wants to quickly dart out the room or away from us and we don't understand why because she likes when we pet her. She does not show signs of aggression towards us at all. I just want to be able to walk up to her and pet her like I pet Harlie or play with her without her peeing. They also go out very often once we are home.

Please! I need help! I uploaded a pic of them. Harlie is the all the black and MJ is the brown and black.

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April 27, 20180 found this helpful
Best Answer

This is a common problem. I have not had to deal with it firsthand, but did ask my Vet about it. She had a new puppy that was doing submissive urination, and she was happy about it. She explained that it indicates a dog who will be focused on her owner, and obedient. She explained that puppys almost always outgrow the behavior. They just have to gain confidence. It sounds like you are tuned into your dog and willing to work with her. I suspect that is the secret to bringing this behavior to an end.

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October 11, 2011

I have a 9 month old mini Dachshund, my mom gave him to me as a birthday gift. I named him Tawny. I love him so much and bought all the things that he needed. He used to sleep with with me in my bed and always sleeps on my lap and sometimes sleeps on my chest when we watch TV. But I always have a problem with him with the house training. He poops and pees everywhere, especially in my bed.

I tried crate training him, but it doesn't seem to work, he won't stop barking. I live in an apartment and his bark echoes, so I really have no choice but to get him out of the crate. He also chews everything, such as my shoes and laptop's charger. One night I came home to find myself without the electricity. I thought it was just a blackout or something, then I saw my fridge's cord and electric socket it was plugged into were broken, he ruined it. He chewed the wires. He even poops in his dog plate.

I tried everything I can to housetrain him. This dog is loved and has a lot of attention. But I got really upset and crated him outside on my balcony. He won't stop barking, but if I let him inside the house again he'll break all my stuff and go pee and poop everywhere. He even bites me when I fetch him the ball.

He's been inside the crate for months now. I know it's cruel, but I don't want him to break anything that's important to me and worst he likes to chew wires. Lately I found his crate broken too. He broke it; I don't know how he did it. I'm losing hope and I don't know what to do. I love him as my own son. I'm thinking of getting rid of him if I can't get him trained. How am I going to train him if he is like that? Please help.

By Jamie V.

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