Housetraining is one of the first skills that you will want to teach your pup once he gets home. However, puppy housetraining can be quite challenging, and it demands lots of patience. For this training to be successful, you need to be consistent, create positive experiences for your dog, and offer him positive reinforcement.
What is puppy housetraining? Puppy housetraining is one of the methods that you can use to teach your pup proper potty manners. (Add a link to the dog potty training article). It is an excellent choice if there’s lots of yard space where you live, and you would like your dog to toilet outside.
How To Housetrain Your Puppy
To housetrain your puppy:
- Draft a schedule that allows you to take your dog outside every hour.
- When you take him outside, use the cue ‘go potty’ so that he can learn to associate it with the toileting action. Be sure to praise him gently when he is done.
- After a week or so, begin decreasing the number of times that you take your pup outside. This will teach him to hold himself.
- Note that dogs do not like toileting outside because it makes them feel vulnerable. You should encourage your pup to go in different environments by taking him to different areas. This will give him the confidence to toilet in new environments if he really has to.
Crate Training Your Puppy
Crate training is an effective way of teaching your pup to hold himself for longer because puppies do not like toileting where they eat or sleep. Crate training will help you to travel successfully with your dog and act as a safe space for him.
When crate training, put something at the bottom of the crate if it is open, to prevent your pup’s paws from getting stuck. You can put in a piece of wood and some bedding. Avoid putting too much bedding so that your pup can find his treats easily.
Crate train your puppy using the following games:
Welcome to your Crate
This game is for pups who fear or are not used to being in the crate. To help your puppy build resilience for seeing and being in the crate, start by playing some recall games around it.
- If your dog has no problem going in and out of the crate, you can jump over to the next game. If he has a problem, follow these steps before going to the next game.
- Get some high-value rewards and your dog’s leash and collar.
- Take the bed out of the crate and build value for it.
- Throw out a treat and praise the dog whenever he puts his paws on the bed as he goes to get the treat.
- After you have done this several times, toss the treat a little further so that the dog can step further away from the bed.
- Once your dog has value for the bed and is stepping on it even without treats, move it directly in front of the crate’s door.
- Repeat the treat tossing exercise so that your dog walks across the bed as he goes to get the treat. Remember to praise the pup whenever he walks across the bed.
- Do a couple of repetitions in different environments, then go to the next step.
- Set the bed halfway in and halfway outside the crate.
- Toss the high value treat in the crate. When your dog walks on the bed and puts his head in the crate to get it, praise him.
- Build the duration that his head or body stays in the crate by tossing him several more treats when he’s inside.
- After he is walking confidently into the crate, move the entire bed inside the crate.
- Once he is confidently going into the crate, build duration then move on to the next game.
Down in your Crate
- Move in front of the crate and ask your dog to down. When he follows the command, mark his behavior with a praise and give him a treat through the crate door.
- Test if your dog can stay down in the crate by moving to the opposite side from where you were standing. Hold the treats with the hand that is closest to the crate and open the crate door with the other hand.
- If the dog remains in the down position, give them a treat and close the crate door. Close the door and withhold the treat if your pup tries to bolt out to show him that this is not the desired reaction.
- Ask your dog to remain in the down position, open the crate, and treat him if he does not get up.
- Do several repetitions then move on to the next game.
- Open the door as long as your dog is in the down position and clip the leash on.
- Keep the door open and let the dog come out of the crate.
- When the pup goes back into the crate voluntarily, praise him and give him a nice reward.
- You can give the release command to get your dog to come out of the crate once the door is open.
- This game begins with your dog outside the crate.
- Create resistance by holding the dog back by his collar, then get him to run or jump into the open crate.
- Praise and reward him once he is inside the crate.
- Use the release command to get him to come out of the crate then repeat the process above.
- Do several repetitions to build confidence.
Make sure that you choose a crate that suits your pup since there are many options on the market. Once you teach your pup proper toileting manners during housetraining, crate train him to teach him to hold himself longer.