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House Breaking Dogs
House Breaking Dogs- Let's Start at the Beginning


Let's 1st talk about what your puppy or dog learned from day 1 until the time of 8 weeks (normally the time when new pups can go to their new homes).

Puppies are born not being able to see, to hear. They also have no teeth. And importantly, they do not have any bladder or bowel muscle control.  This is an important element that will lead into what an owner should know about house training their puppy.

Since they have absolutely no control over those muscles, the mother dog (dam) will lick the anus area of each newborn...this is done to stimulate that area and cause a bowel movement.  Urination will often happen without any control and the body will simply release urine when the bladder is full.

Some time around 3-4 weeks (the puppy can now see and hear), those muscles will have gradually grown stronger.

Even so, the pups will now often follow the lead of the dam.  Many are sold as "housebroken"...however this does not usually mean what an owner hopes that it does.  In many cases, breeders will have newspaper or pee pads set up near the dam.  She must stay close to the pups to provide milk and warmth.  Therefore, as they grow a bit older, they often see the dam using the paper or pads and they often will follow along.

By the time that they are being weaned (6-7 weeks old), they only have the concept that it is a good idea to go to the bathroom on the papers or pads.  This is not very helpful for most owners who will need to train thier dog to go outside for those purposes.

House Breaking Dogs - Beginning to Train Your Puppy
It is an exciting time when a new pup is brought home!  Everyone wants to give cuddles and hugs. Everyone is just amazed at how cute he or she is....There is hope and anticipation for the time when the pup will be trained...not only for bathroom needs, but for heeling, listening to commands, etc.

When can you start house training a puppy?  Right from the age of 8 weeks old.  They are weaned from mom, they can hear and see well. And despite how small he or she is, they have the ability to begin learning. Now, the important aspect here to remember is that this is the age to begin.  Most puppies do not have full muscle control until the age of 4 months old. This means that while you can start to show them what is expected, they will have accidents. It has nothing to do with not understanding the rules...and it has nothing to do with not listening to you or being stubborn. It has nothing to do with the dog's intelligence....They will have accidents because their body will not co-operate until they have full control.

So, should you wait until they are older? No!  It is important to establish rules and expectations right from the start.  If the pup is allowed to pee and poo whenever and wherever, when they are at that age of 4 months, they will have learned very bad habits.

#1 important element to remember:  You can help your new puppy learn bladder and bowel control.  This speeds up the process of training and will be of great help.  Now, here is what you can expect without any additional training:

A 2 month old pup can hold their needs for about 2 hours maximum - any longer and you were just lucky!
A 3 month old pup can hold their needs for about 3 hours maximum...and so on.

This goes on, increasing 1 hour per month of age, until theh dog can hold their needs for about 8 hours. It is not realistic to expect a dog to hold on any longer than 8 hours....If they do, again, you were just lucky! It will have nothing to do with their abilities.  Therefore, if you work 8 hours per day and the commute is 1 hour each way....and you will not be home for 10 hours or more, do not expect your dog to wait for you to get back home.  Other alternatives should be worked out in advance...This can include:
  1. Having a neighbor, friend or relative take the dog outside at the mid point time that you are away.
  2. Enroll your dog in doggie day care.
  3. Hire a dog walker to take him or her out for both bathroom needs and exercise 1 time a day while you are not home.
  4. Gate off an area, lined with newspaper or pads, fully expecting that they may or may not hit the target...This is not recommended, by the way, because a dog can get very confused if they are trained 2 ways (outside when you are home, inside when you are not home). 1 training method works best....dogs are creatures of habit. 

See Also:
  Why Do Dogs Do Things? - No extra words, just the FACTS. Learn exactly why dogs do the things they do!

  Dog Breeding Facts - Safely and ethically breeding your dogs to create amazing litters.

  Amazing Dog Facts- Wild and amazing photos that go along with interesting amazing dog facts.

When to Bring Them Outside

Okay, so now you know that you can begin training your pup as young as 8 weeks old.  Now what?  Well, you will want to keep a schedule of when to bring them outside. If there are other people at home, you can designate certain times to certain people in order to not put the entire burden on just 1 person.

Here is what the schedule should look like, keeping in mind that dog training facts have established that a pup cannot hold their needs very long:
  1. As soon as they wake up (and we really mean as SOON as they wake up, their body is not going to wait while you brew coffee or take a shower)
  2. Every 2 hours if 2 months old, every 3 hours if 3 months old, every 4 hours if 4 months old, etc.
  3. 15-20 minutes after each meal
  4. Any time that they wake up from a nap
  5. Right before bedtime
  6. Any time that the pup makes can action as if they are about to go to the bathroom (squatting (f a female needs to pee or poo or a male needs to poo) or lifting a leg if a male needs to pee.
How Do Crates Fit into House Breaking Dogs?

An owner must remember and understand that a crate is not a should not be the main living quarters of your pup or dog.  It is temporary aid in training.

Most crates are adjustable. The size should be adjusted so that your dog has room to lie down, to turn around and to stand. Nothing else. Then, you would leave him or her in the crate ONLY for the amount of time that they should be able to hold their needs....(example, 3 hours for a 3 month old).  Most, but NOT all dogs will hold their needs as much as possible within that allotted time as opposed to defecating or urinating in the crate. Therefore, you can help your dog work those muscles of control.  For example, a 3 month old may begin to feel the need to go after 2.5 hours, but inside the crate, they will try to use those muscles to hold on a bit longer...and when you take them out at hour 3 and immediately bring them outside, you just helped their muscles gain strength and have given your puppy the gift of more control.

It is not a good idea to immediately put them back inside of the crate. Why? For several reasons!  1st, they just went to the bathroom outside - this was your training goal!  Do not reward them by stuffing them back inside that crate!  The must have positive, happy feedback to what they just did!  Therefore, once they have poo'd or pee'd outside, it is time to show them how happy you are.

1st, praise them as if they just did the most wonderful thing in the entire world!  Happy tone, happy words!  Give pats and show them that you are truly proud.   Offering a yummy small doggie treat is an excellent way to give positive reinforcement.

2nd. Play!  Move AWAY from the area that you have designed for bathroom training and go to a new play area. If the weather is nice, stay outside for a while. On leash, allow them to explore! There are so many sounds, sights and scents that a puppy will be thoroughly happy to explore.    You can also toss around a toy or ball.  If the weather is not so great, take play time inside.  Offer them a great time for at least a 1/2 hour before you even think about putting them back in the crate.

As time goes on and they learn that you are very happy when they are trained to go outside where expected, you can decrease the amount of time that they are in the crate. For example, a 5 month old who was just taken outside and pee'd or poo'd should be just fine for a couple of hours in the house without being in the crate.

Your goal will be to have them be in control and able to roam about the you a signal when they wish to go outside.  What will a dog's signal be?  It can vary and most of the time, it is the dog who decides what it will be. It may be pawing at your may be a may be sitting, pacing or standing near the exit door.  It is your job to learn what your dogs' signal is.

Helpful House Breaking Facts and Advice for Success

Different dog breeds will generally learn at different paces, an owner must keep in mind that this no dog will learn anything overnight. Training will go allow with faster success if you:

Choose 1 designated spot for your dog. This is so very important.  This area should be rather close to the home, but not right against it.  An owner should think about different weather and how this will affect this.... if you live in an area in which it snows, you will want to make sure that you will be able to easily shovel out a path to that area and then also shovel out the area itself....If you live in an area in which it rains often or if you have a rainy season, you may want to choose an area that is protected by the blanketing elements of a large tree.  Therefore, put some thought into where you want to train your dog to go to the bathroom....It is best if you choose 1 area and do not change it.

That area should be for house training ONLY.  It should not be used for play, not for rest, not for command training. Nothing else but that 1 element.

When you have the location chosen, let your DOG choose the exact spot within that area.  It is important that a dog feels that they have control over exactly where the deed will take place!  You can do this by bringing them to the area. Then, think of it as a circle. Have them on a leash and stand right in the middle of that circle. Then, standing firmly, allow them to roam within the radius of that circle.  Remember, especially for younger dogs, it may take them 15-20 minutes to relax and have a  bowel movement. Be patient.  While they are working on finding the perfect spot, do not pat them, talk a lot or distract them by any other means.

As soon as they are done, the happy praise should begin as the pup is led away from the location.

Facts by Breed:
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