To successfully house train a happy, healthy puppy, your efforts must be constant and consistent. If your puppy is eight weeks or older, a careful regimented training program can produce results in as little as one week's time. Follow these guidelines, and remember the key factors in house training are patience, consistency and properly timed positive reinforcement.
• Paper training or puppy pads do not train the puppy to go outdoors. It reinforces the behavior of urinating and defecating in your home. You should accompany the puppy outside from the very beginning.
Try to be as consistent as possible. Starting the first week, take them outside (every 30 minutes from 6AM to 11PM). At 10 weeks of age, increase the length of time to 45 minutes between potty breaks. At 4 months of age, increase the time between (1 to 2 hours).
If you are visiting a new location with your new puppy(regardless of age), try to take them outside every 30 minutes so they learn the process of the new location as well.
• Always use the same door and take the puppy to the same location that you would like them to use. We recommend hanging bells from the door handle. Each time you go out, ring the bells as you ask your puppy, "Do you want to go outside?" When outside, consistently use the same command, "Go potty". This procedure teaches them to go to this door and ring the bells to go outside. When they do "go potty", immediately respond with praise and a treat. If they do not go, take them back into the house and do not treat them.
• To control the predictability of potty breaks out side, we recommend feeding a puppy four times per day (six, ten, two, and six) until four months, three times per day until six months and twice daily for adults. It is important to feed quality food such as "Orijen" or "Natural Balance". Due to the quality of protein and lack of filler, the puppies utilize more of what they eat, pass less stool, and ultimately the clean up is less work for the owners. All food and water should be put away after seven PM.
• Puppies are more likely to urinate and defecate after they sleep, play, eat or drink. It is important to take them out as soon as they wake up (first thing in the morning and after naps), also 15 to 20 minutes before and after each meal. It is up to the owner to watch their puppy for signs (whining, sniffing the floor, or circling) and escort them outside. Puppies have 30 seconds to tell you they must go now, or they may have an accident.
• The more accidents they have in the house, the more the behavior is reinforced, and the more difficult it is to train them to go outside.
• The more they eliminate outside and receive positive reinforcement (verbal praise and treats), the more likely they are to continue going outside.
• We recommend limiting each outside trip (to a few minutes) during the house training process. After 2 to 3 weeks of successful training, they can spend more fun time to play outside. They should associate being outside with the house training process.
• When you are in the house, confine your puppy to the room you are in so you can watch them and take them outside every half hour until bedtime. If you miss their subtle cues and catch them in the act, distract them by clapping your hands and command "no" in a firm voice, pick them up and take them outside. If they finish outside, verbally praise and treat them.
• If the puppy has an accident in the house and you did not notice it until later, you lost the opportunity to correct the behavior. Do not physically punish them or rub their nose in it. They can not associate the punishment with a past behavior and they may be fearful to come to you in the future.
• If you are away from home or are unable to watch your puppy, it is necessary to crate them. If possible, puppies up to 6 months of age should be let out of the crate and taken out side every four hours. Never use the crate for punishment. It is important that you are in a positive mood when you place them into their crate. Immediately treat them when they enter the crate and provide them with toys to chew on as well as educational toys to entertain them.
In the natural habitat, the wolves and wild dogs live in dens. In our human world, dogs willingly accept crates as their dens. For the safety of your puppy, I recommend the Furrarri 500 crate made by Pet Mate for Miniature Aussies.
• During the evening, crate your puppy. If an appropriate size crate is used, most puppies and dogs prefer not to soil their sleeping area. Eight hours is the maximum length of time that they should be left unattended.
• Do not scold a puppy that has a loose stool or diarrhea. Be patient and continue the house training process.
We firmly believe and highly recommend positive reinforcement for the appropriate behaviors.
If you are concerned or are experiencing house training issues, please feel free to contact us.