"Gentle Methods Produce Positive Results"
Linked to this page are two of the most requested articles from DIXIE'S.. The first is Housebreaking. (Actually, it would be better called Housetraining, because we promise not to teach you to train your puppy to break your house. Besides, he probably knows how to do that already! We just thought housebreaking would work better for the search engines.) The second article is “How to Handle the 'Hyper' Puppy,” a subject near and dear to all new puppy owners.
Your link to “It's in the Book,” is an offer to purchase the complete training manual— "link coming soon"
Housebreaking Hyper Puppy
First the bad news—there are no magic formulas to house training your puppy. You will also have difficulty if no one is home during the day.
Now the good news—dogs are naturally clean animals and usually, when given the option, will not soil their home. It is their nature to go away from where they eat and sleep to eliminate. When house training a puppy, the key is to use the puppy’s natural instinct to keep his home clean.
When people think about puppies and house training, the first method that often comes to mind is paper training. This method is our least favorite and should only be used if you are physically unable to take the puppy outside regularly. Paper training frequently backfires because you are teaching the puppy that eliminating in the house is acceptable behavior.
To start your house training program you should begin by looking at your feeding schedule. What goes into the puppy on a regular schedule, will come out of the puppy on a regular schedule. Conversely, if puppy is allowed to eat on the nibbler plan it becomes difficult to predict puppy’s needs accurately.
Puppies need to go out after waking from a nap, within 15-30 minutes after eating, before riding in a car, after drinking a lot of water and after strenuous play. Watch puppy closely. Keep your eye out for signs that puppy needs to go out, i.e. - circling, intense sniffing, etc. When you see any of these warning signals, puppy needs to go out! Take puppy to the same door (this teaches him where to go) and then take puppy to the same spot in the yard ( this will remind him why he is there because he will smell where he went before.) It is important that you notice the phrase TAKE PUPPY OUTSIDE. This is as opposed to putting puppy outside. If you do not go with puppy outside he may become anxious about being separated from you and begin to cry to come back in. Or he may decide to explore all the wonderful sights and smells of the world. Either way, there is a good chance he will forget why he is out there. Then, when you let him back in, after what you assume was sufficient time, he will relax now that he is back in familiar surroundings. And guess what, he will remember what he needed to do! Another very important reason to take your puppy outside is that you must praise your puppy for eliminating outside. Really praise your puppy too. If your neighbors are not peeking out their shutters wondering what kind of lunatic they are living near, you probably are not praising your puppy enthusiastically enough. Eliminating outside should be one of the highlights of your puppy’s life.
The secret to house training your puppy is good management. Watching him very, very closely and preventing him from making mistakes in the house. If you slip (do not watch puppy closely enough) and you catch puppy in the act of messing in the house, just rush over and scoop puppy up (this should stop puppy). Take him outside. Be careful to watch puppy better the next time.
If you find that puppy has already made a mess somewhere in the house; IT IS YOUR FAULT, you should not have left your puppy unsupervised. DO NOT take puppy over to the mess and shove his nose in it. The only thing that this accomplishes is to get the puppy’s nose nasty dirty. It is your fault, you were not watching puppy closely enough. Some people will be quick to say "Now wait just one minute, it is not my fault. That dog knows he did wrong. There is guilt written all over his face." That is not guilt. Dogs do not feel guilt, they are not moral beings. What he is experiencing is fear! He is reading your body, voice and facial expressions and he thinks he is about to die! He is not sure why you are going to kill him, he just knows you are. If you are still not convinced, try your acting skills. Put puppy up where he cannot make a mess and then come home and treat him just as if he had messed all over your brand new carpet. I guarantee that puppy will act "guilty" even though he did nothing wrong.
O.K. so you made a mistake and puppy has had an accident on the floor. What do you do? For starters take puppy out of the room before you begin to clean it up. If puppy sees you making a fuss at one spot, he’s likely to go back to it and check it out. If there is any odor left it may entice your puppy to eliminate there again. When puppy is out of the room you need to clean up the spot thoroughly. After removing as much of the spot as possible you should clean the area with a commercial odor remover made for this purpose. Let the area dry thoroughly before you allow puppy back in. Remember puppies have an incredibly good sense of smell and you want to avoid puppy’s nose from giving him any wrong ideas.
When it is not possible for you to watch puppy, a crate is a great help. It is not cruel and unusual punishment. In fact, within a very short time puppy will come to view his crate as a home. When properly trained, the crate becomes the puppy’s haven and you will find that puppy will go into his crate on his own, just for the quiet and security it provides. It is for this reason that children should not be allowed to drag puppy out of the crate. They may call puppy to come out, but not reach in and pull puppy out.
At bedtime puppy prefers to sleep in the "den" with his family, so if you can, it is best to put the crate in your room at night. This serves two purposes. It gives the puppy a sense of security and it helps the puppy to adopt your schedule as his own. (Young puppies will probably need to get up once during the night but will soon be able to sleep all night.)
Now, as for schedules, if you get up and let puppy out at 5am Monday through Friday, you get up at 5am on Saturday and Sunday also while puppy is young. Dogs do not acknowledge weekends. But puppies do not have to go out every ten minutes either; even though some puppies will try to convince you otherwise. Learn your puppy’s needs and do not let him train you to be his own private doorman. As puppy gets older, teach him to wait a little. Distract him when his need doesn’t seem urgent and stretch the frequency of running outside gradually as he ages.
One of the greatest tools in house training your puppy is a dog door. Buy a good one and you may find that you don’t know how you ever managed without it earlier. Two things to remember with a dog door:
you have to teach the puppy how to use it;
it does not negate your need to go outside with puppy in the early stages of house training.
What to do when everyone is gone all day: DO NOT leave puppy in his crate all day! Unless, of course, you are capable of going to the restroom before you leave for work and then holding it until you get home! Because that is what you are asking puppy to do.
You have three choices if you cannot be home. One, you can get a puppy sitter. Either a friend or family member or a professional. Ask around for references. Two, you can put puppy in a room where he cannot hurt anything and give him some papers to eliminate on. At first, you will have paper everywhere. As puppy gets the idea make the paper area smaller. Put puppy’s food, bed & toys on the opposite side of his bathroom area.
Three, you can secure a place for puppy outside when you are not home. Puppy NEEDS to be indoors with his people BUT IF YOU ARE NOT HOME puppy can be outside. In fact I personally believe that if you could ask puppy he would choose to be outside (it’s much more interesting) than locked in the utility room. Be sure his fence is secure (never chain a dog when you are not home, LOTS of bad things can happen.) Give puppy shelter from heat or cold and lots and lots of water.
Special care would need to be taken for the tiny toy breeds. This author has built a small play area in back of house with a dog door put in a window. Ramps were built giving dog access to door. The dog is completely out of sight of any would be dog-nappers, rotten kids or killer loose dogs. A top could also be put on this type of area to keep stray cats, owls or hawks out.
Do you think you own the most active puppy in town? Is he on the move constantly? Is he a furry, four-footed, destruction machine? Are you wondering what you got yourself into? Guess what, chances are what you actually have is a perfectly normal puppy!!!
The young of most every species spend a large part of their waking time exploring their surroundings and trying out all of the behaviors that they can think of. And with everything they try, they are learning. Some things they will learn to enjoy and want to repeat, other things will not be enjoyable and they will not repeat those behaviors. But puppy is always learning. Our job then becomes to provide our puppies with opportunities to learn behaviors that we want them to repeat.
Your puppy will learn to perform behaviors you want more quickly if you:
Housetraining your puppy is more than just teaching him where to go potty. Housetraining includes good management—helping puppy not get “into trouble” by blocking access to temptation.
All the items that you would put behind locked doors for a two-year-old human child should be put behind doors for your puppy. In addition, trash cans should be inaccessible to puppies. Not only to prevent the trash from being strewn throughout the house, but also to protect your puppy from ingesting items that could be harmful. Clothes, shoes and other "smelly" human clothes should be put where puppy cannot get to them. The toilet paper cannot be torn to shreds if you close the bathroom door. Baby gates and barriers should be in place to prevent puppy from having unsupervised access to your home. If you are either watching puppy or have puppy in a safe place, it will be impossible for puppy to soil the carpet and eat your family heirlooms.
Your interest in this article tells us that you are probably already aware that puppies tend to be “HYPER!” They have a ton of energy and they need to burn that energy up somehow. If you do not provide an acceptable outlet, they’ll come up with one of their own.
Taking puppy for a walk around the block or through the park is a great way to exercise puppy. Talk to your veterinarian about how much exercise is safe for puppy at his age. A eight-week-old Yorkie may tire out walking to the corner. An eight-month-old Dalmatian may need a 2-mile jog! You also need to be sure that all vaccinations are up to date and puppy is protected from diseases.
Another way to exercise puppy is to teach puppy to retrieve a toy. Retrieving is a game that allows the puppy to do all the running while you sit under a shade tree, drinking an iced tea!
There are other games that will physically and mentally challenged your puppy. Games such as “hide ‘n seek” are a lot of fun for both you and your puppy. Hide ‘n seek can be played a couple of ways. One is to teach puppy to “hide his eyes” (stay) and then a family member hides and calls the dog, or you can have puppy “hide his eyes” and then hide a favorite toy for puppy to find and retrieve. (Until puppy learns to “stay” it’s OK to gently hold puppy in place while the person or toy is hidden. Also, always play hide ‘n seek with you hiding, and puppy finding. It would be ill advised to teach puppy to hide from you!) Hide ‘n Seek encourages good behaviors like come, find, and retrieve.
What do I want puppy to do? If you will stay focused on what you want puppy to do more than on how to stop what you don’t like, you will get a lot further in gaining control of all that furry motion.
When puppy is bouncing around, direct him to and encourage him to play with a toy. Vary the toys so puppy doesn’t get bored. An excellent toy for conquering boredom is a Kong(r). It is a hard, rubber toy that is hollow. The key word is “hollow.” The empty center allows you make this toy really special by making it different every day. To do this, stuff it with various treats—one day maybe regular kibble and topped off with a bit of Bil-Jac(r), one day with a biscuit treat and some cheese, one day with liver treats, etc. We recommend having something stuffed in the toy that your puppy probably will not be able to get out, plus something that he can. That way after he has spent half the day cleaning out the stuff he can, he will learn to bring the Kong(r) to you to have you take out the rest of the treats. Not only does this encourage your puppy to want to bring things to you, it also lets you know when it’s time to reload!
Another commercial toy that can keep your puppy entertained for some time is a Buster Cube(r)—a large plastic toy with chambers in it that you load with dry food. As the dog rolls the cube around, it spits out a piece of food every once in a while. With this toy, a portion of your dog’s regular meal will be fed via the cube. You reduce the amount at “meal time” so as not to create a rolly polly puppy.
Spend time teaching your puppy the basic commands of sit, down and come. That way when puppy is doing something unacceptable you can change the behavior into something more appropriate. An example: a dog that is responding to a sit command IS NOT jumping on your guests!
The key to “Handling the HyperPuppy” is management. By preventing inappropriate behaviors, burning off excess energy, relieving boredom and teaching appropriate behaviors you too can learn to enjoy that bundle of fur and he can grow into that well behaved adult that you pictured when you decided to get a Puppy Pal!