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Become an expert: House training a puppy

Brown-goldendoodle-puppy-in-a-bed advice
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House training a puppy is essential unless you want canine anarchy in your home. An untrained pup will grow (and grow) into a chaotic adult if not taught how to behave indoors. If you want to learn how to house train a puppy not to poop, pee, chew things up, or run around like a dog possessed, read on!

By G. John Cole

House training a puppy to use the bathroom

Your dog will probably never learn to use your human bathroom. But training your puppy to know where (and when) it is appropriate for him to poo and pee is important – and it’s probably already on your mind.

The key thing is to be kind. Never punish your dog for going to the toilet in an inappropriate place. At best, he won’t understand you. At worst, he’ll misunderstand you, be afraid of you discovering his excrement, and start to do it in hidden places around the house.

Instead, use positive reinforcement. Use praise, treats, and fusses, whenever your puppy goes in the right place. He’ll soon get accustomed to all this kind attention.

So how do you teach him what is the right place?

Set up a routine. Take him out first thing in the morning, and last thing at night. Take him out, or put him in the garden, straight after his meals. And make sure his meals are always at the same time.

And learn to look out for those moments when he needs to go ‘off-schedule.’ This can happen if he starts to whimper or become agitated. Yes, he’s trying to tell you something. A sudden burst of stinky farting is often a good sign. Or if he starts sniffing around for somewhere to drop.

If you’re too late, and catch him in the act, don’t tell him off – simply pick him up and put him outside to finish. That’s the civilised way to deal with these things between friends.

House training a puppy not to eat your house

A puppy really isn’t so different from a baby. It’s literally a baby dog. And like a baby, he reckons he can learn about the strange world around him by putting it in his mouth.

If he’s teething, too, you’ve got twice the problem to deal with. You can deal with a teething dog by giving him a freezing wet rag to chew on. Just keep an eye that he doesn’t try to swallow any big bits.

It’s vital to teach your dog the rights and wrongs of chewing before he gets big enough to eat your whole house, and old enough to be unable to shake the habit.

Know that he will chew stuff. There is a learning curve. So when you get a new dog, whatever the age, keep your most precious stuff where he can’t reach it. He will always chew the thing you least expect. You can’t blame him. He doesn’t know the human value of human things. Only the dog value, which is on a scale of nought-to-let’s-chew-this.

But that doesn’t mean you should let him chew human stuff that you consider expendable. Give him an old slipper to eat, and he’ll calculate that your new slippers are fair game, too. Instead, give him a dog toy, and make a ritual of it (you can even gift-wrap if you like) so he knows it’s for him.

Don’t chase your dog if he has something he shouldn’t. He’ll think he’s invented a wonderful new sport. Offer him a treat in return for your beloved possession.

And don’t punish him when you find he’s chewed something. He won’t know what you’re punishing him for. Just treat him when he’s good, and keep him entertained enough that eating your furniture feels like a waste of time.

House training a puppy not to go berserk

Life is beautiful when you’re a puppy. Every next step could be the greatest step the world has ever known. Sometimes, in their enthusiasm, they will try to take this step, and the next one, and the next one, too quickly for your comfort.

To some degree, doggo will grow out of this one as he becomes an adult. But at its heart, what you have on your hands is an energy imbalance! If your dog is going wild indoors, he ain’t getting enough action outdoors.

Give him plenty of exercise. Give him garden time – but it has to be engaged garden time. Play with him. But don’t confuse him by playing wild games indoors.

But you can teach him the way to be indoors by keeping him on a lead. Either hold the lead, or pin it to your belt. This way he becomes your loyal companion and only goes where you go. As long as you have the physical strength to deal with his occasional attempts to get away, this works. Treat him when he’s calm.

Treat him when he listens to your instructions. Teach him ‘sit’ and ‘wait’ and reward him when he complies.

You lucky thing. You have a dog in your house!