Part II

The corner stone to this method of house training is being familiar with your puppy’s normal behaviour and natural routine, so you must spend lots of time with her. The other important factor is to have feed her at the same times each day. Puppies almost always need to go to the toilet after their dinner, so a routine will help you both. Check also that her food and water and the amount you give her are suiting her digestive system. You can’t house train a dog who has digestive problems, so any problems must be resolved. Speak to your vet if you are having difficulties doing this yourself or if you think she has a urinary problems – it could be an infection that needs treatment.

Now, you must think of a command word or phrase that you will use when you see your puppy wants to go to the toilet, or when you want to encourage her to do so. First thing in the morning, within half an hour after her dinner and before she goes to sleep, you must take her to her toilet area (this will either be some newspaper on the floor away from her bed, or a convenient area just outside, not far from the door) and give her your toilet command. If you are patient and keep repeating the command, she will go to the toilet in the designated toilet area. You must immediately praise her and make a fuss of her so she knows she has done well. Remember that when puppies are young, they have poor bladder control and a small capacity for urine and faeces in their system, so you should take her out every two hours so she has the opportunity to go if she wants to. Avoiding undesired behaviour is always the best route in dog training.

When you are with your puppy (and you should spend lots of time with her during these early stages) you should be observing her behaviour when she’s about to go to the toilet – my dog looks restless and walks around, sniffing the ground in circles. Once you learn her pattern, you can call her quickly to her toilet area, or pick her up and place her there. Once your puppy is in the right area, give your toilet command in a friendly encouraging tone. If she wanders off before going, lead her gently back there and give the command repeatedly. If your puppy is really averse to going in that area, look for something that might be distressing her – she could have a very real reason for avoiding that spot.

House Training – Part III