The Dos and Don’ts of Puppy Potty Training

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The Dos and Don’ts of Puppy Potty Training

Trials and tribulations of puppy training are often a conversation we have with new pet owners when we see their puppies for the first time. If your pet is slow to learn, keep trying! Here are some of the top dos and don’ts that we share with clients as they undergo the puppy potty training process.

The first obstacle is recognizing that your puppy is going to have accidents in the house. The more patient you are and the more you strive to make the process a learning one and not just one about punishment, the better for all – including your floors.

DO:

Try to keep a schedule.

Establishing a routine is not only for your pet to start setting an internal clock for when he or she will use the bathroom, it’s also important for teaching puppies what is expected. Most people find success in walking their dog when they first wake up, again before they leave for work, again in the afternoon (if possible) and a few times at night, especially after mealtime. For those owners with little flexibility for afternoon walks, you may consider a pet walker.

Pick a "potty” in the yard.

The last thing that you want is a landmine in your yard – having to watch your step for surprise piles as you enjoy the outdoors. By picking a spot for your pet to do his or her business, your dog will learn to associate that area with going to the bathroom and you’ll know to avoid it.

Establish a reward system.

Especially when your pet is learning, be sure to reward good bathroom behavior. Each time he or she uses the "potty spot,” give them a treat or shower them with some affection. Puppies and dogs in general are people pleasers, so they will quickly learn what makes you happy.

DON’T:

Ignore bad behavior.

While physical action is never the answer, dogs usually respond well to certain words they learn are negative based on their behavior. For example, when you catch your dog in the act, yell "no potty” or "outside” right away. Then, take your pet outside and reward them for finishing out there.  

Discipline once it’s too late.

Just like children, if you punish them too long after the bad act, they won’t know what you are mad at them for. If you don’t catch them in the act, you must wait for the next accident (if there is one).

Leave your pet without a potty walk for long periods of time.

Leaving your pet for long periods of time without a dog walker or potty break is just asking for trouble and discomfort for your pet. If you know it’s going to be a long day, ask a neighbor or friend to stop by for a quick puppy walk. We can also help put you in touch with some recommended pet walkers in the Los Banos area.

When things get frustrating, and they likely will before it’s over, remember that this potty training period should only last a while and dogs adapt pretty quickly to your lifestyle. If you remain patient and encouraging, the process should be quick and painless.

Important medical note: If your pet is having frequent accidents in the house, having a hard time with potty training or seems to be in pain while going to the bathroom, please let the Los Banos Veterinary Clinic team know ASAP. A handful of urinary and kidney diseases, some of which can be dangerous, can be associated with frequent accidents in the house.  

Posted Sunday, October 05, 2014