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Housetraining your new puppy

Housetraining your new puppy

Now that you've brought your new puppy home, here are some basic tips for toilet training success:

1. When inside, closely supervise your dog. If you can't be with them, confine them to a small area or exercise pen during house training. Continue this until your puppy has gone at least 4-8 weeks without any accidents.

2. Always accompany your puppy outside to eliminate. This enables you to reward the behaviour you want, so that your puppy learns that toileting outside is the name of the game.

3. Take your puppy out frequently, and always after eating, sleeping, and play activities.

4. Immediately reward outdoor elimination with praise and treats. Do this as soon as your puppy has finished. (If you wait until you're back inside, they will think the reward is for coming back inside.) Consider keeping a jar of treats near the door as a reminder to take a few on your way outside.

5. Provide an area for elimination that is protected from rain and bad weather.

6. If you catch your puppy eliminating inside, immediately take them outside to finish eliminating. Then, once again, reward your dog immediately.

7. Clean soiled inside areas with enzymatic cleaners. These can be purchased at pet supply stores. You need to eliminate the smell so your puppy doesn't associate indoors with elimination.

8. Don't punish your puppy when they slip up. This is rarely effective and can seriously damage the bond you're trying to build with your puppy. Instead, reward the desired behaviour and your puppy will keep offering it.

Seriously consider puppy school and obedience classes. They will help teach your puppy basic commands and provides an opportunity for them to socialise with pups of a similar age. They also provide positive interaction between you and your dog. Trainers of these classes can be an invaluable source of information for housetraining and other behaviour modifications. Your veterinarian may be able to recommend a behaviourist in your area. Be sure to choose someone who uses reward- or clicker-based training.

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