Getting a new pup can be exciting, but it can also be surprisingly stressful. This stressful period has even been dubbed the "post-puppy blues," similar to postpartum depression.
One of the most stressful parts of bringing home a dog is dealing with house training. Puppies and dogs in new environments will likely have some accidents, which can quickly make a mess of your home.
Thankfully, there are some ways to make toilet training a breeze so you can stop worrying about pee puddles are start enjoying your time with your furry friend.
Keep It Simple
When trying to house train your pooch, keep things simple and consistent. Choose a spot for toilet training, and don't change it unless you absolutely have to. The spot could be puppy pads, your backyard, or a patch of fake grass on your patio.
Whatever spot you choose, keep the location and routine the same.
If you choose pads, don't move them around the home. Make them easy to find, and always make sure at least one pad is in place.
For outdoor training, give your dog easy and frequent access outside. This could mean using a doggy door or taking them on walks every few hours.
Know Their Triggers
Know what commonly triggers your dog to have to go to the restroom. Common triggers include eating or drinking water, active play, and even time alone (which can trigger accidents if your pup suffers from separation anxiety).
Then, make it easy for them to use the toilet after these triggers.
If you're not able to give them the proper place to do their business at those times, such as when your puppy is left at home alone, consider crate training. Dogs typically don't soil their crates, and you can avoid an unwanted mess in your home.
Get to Know Your Pup's Signals
Observe your dog's signals and body language before they relieve themselves.
What do they do when they're about to go? Do they start aggressively sniffing every inch of your carpet? Do they jump around or run in circles?
When they signal that they're looking for a place to relieve themselves, immediately take them to their designated toilet spot.
Help Fido Focus
Dogs won't always know that they're supposed to relieve themselves when you place them on their puppy pad or take them outside. And if they get easily distracted, it can be hard for them to go when you want them to.
Make it easier on your pup by eliminating distractions. For example, avoid playing outside until they've used the potty. A favorite toy or game can be enough to distract them from noticing that nature's calling.
When training your dog to use indoor pads, place them on the pad and limit them to that room. Shut any doors or block entrances so they must stay in the space with the pad. Watch them, but avoid petting or interacting with them until they use their pad.
Eliminate Pet Odors
A less-than-spotless home might trigger Spot's accidents.
Leftover odors from previous accidents can lead your pet to believe it's okay to urinate in that location or room again.
To avoid remarking, make sure to thoroughly clean and eliminate pet odors every time they have an accident indoors. If you have carpet and aren't always sure if or when they had an accident, consider buying a blacklight device that will illuminate old stains.
And a cleaner that is specifically designed to clean and control odors from pet waste is essential. Visit this page for professional strength odor eliminators.
Reward, Don't Punish
Despite what you may have heard, dogs can't fully understand punishment, nor do they experience guilt the way humans do. Scolding or spanking them typically won't prevent them from having accidents in the future. And in fact, the stress and confusion a pet may feel from a "punishment" can make them more likely to have an accident out of nervousness.
Instead of punishing your pup, rewarding their good behavior is the best way to reinforce proper toilet training.
Immediately give them praise and a treat after going potty. That way, they associate going to the toilet with positive rewards.
If your dog relieves themselves where they shouldn't, take them to the correct toilet location after. If you catch Fido starting to have an accident, it's okay to interrupt them (such as by saying, "Stop!" or making a noise) and then take them outside or to their pad to finish.
Like any skill and routine, doggy toilet training can take time. Expect to wait a few weeks to successfully finish house training your dog. And for rescues or dogs with inconsistent environments and backgrounds, expect it to require even more time.
Even after your furry friend has learned where to relieve themselves (and how to not make a mess in your house), they may still occasionally have some accidents.
Stay patient and empathetic while they're learning. And continue sticking to the routine to help your pup stay on track.
House Training Without the Mess
Accidents are to be expected when getting a new dog. But with these house training tips, you can keep the messes far and few between.
Stick to your potty training routine as best as you can, and your pup likely will too.
For more advice on bringing home a new furry friend, read our other blog articles all about man's best friend!