Nothing makes quarantine go by faster than having an extra furry friend running around. And if you’re lucky enough to have gotten a sweet pal as a holiday present, you might be wondering with all the time in the house, how to house train a dog and how long it takes to train them. Here are some expert tips for your first puppy so that they make your home their home too.
Experts recommend that you begin house training your puppy when they are between 12-16 weeks old. At that point, they have enough control of their bladder and bowel movements to learn to hold it. It usually takes about 4-6 weeks to fully housetrain a new puppy but with these tips, you’ll be training your puppy and letting them roam freely in the house in no time!
1. Create a schedule
Similar to humans, puppies learn best when they are on a schedule. Establishing a schedule for them to go outside, to go to the bathroom, to eat, and so forth. Reinforcing a routine on when to go to the bathroom will make it easier for them to hold it and wait in the long run. A rule of thumb, or should we say a rule of paw, is that a puppy can control their bladder one hour for every month of age. Not only a reinforcement of timing but of locations is important in their schedule. Make sure to take them to the bathroom in the same spot every time. During the housetraining process, your yard should be treated like any other room in your house.
2. Manage their diet
If you’re trying to manage what comes out of a puppy, managing what goes in a puppy is just as important. Be sure to feed them on a regular schedule, water included, and remove the water bowl a few hours before bed so they don’t need to get up to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
3. Positive reinforcement
Get the doggie treats out! It’s important to reward them when they repeat their desired action. Make sure to immediately praise them after they have gone outside, not when they come inside so that you are rewarding the correct action. On the other hand, punishing your puppy for having an accident is a definite no-no as it teaches your puppy to fear you. If you notice more accidents are happening than successes, maybe try keeping your puppy outside longer to do their business.
4. Use a crate or pet gate
Supervising your puppy’s environment and whereabouts are extremely helpful for both and from a potty-training perspective as well as potential household chaos. Depending on how big your puppy is and big of a space you have, throw in a toy to keep your puppy busy and having fun in a specific area of your house until it’s time to be on their own out in the open living space of the house.
By following these tips and setting your dog and you up for success, house training your dog is crucial