DESIGNER PUPPYS: Everything you wanted to know about raising designer or mixed breed dogs,
featuring The BOYZ: Prince Alvin His Cuteness (on left) and Sir Simon The Sad, Cockapoo pups.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bringing Your New Pup Home - Housetraining Prep

Prince Alvin sez, "Yes, I will destroy these Poop Bags!"

Why bother to prepare yourself for housetraining BEFORE your new pup arrives home for the first time? Failure to think about how you will housetrain your pup = lots of accidents = much frustration and sleep deprivation.

Housetraining is clearly the most important type of dog training and sets the ground work for other training. It requires scheduling, persistence, patience, consistency, and time. Your pup may follow the breed housetraining trend (for example, pugs are notoriously difficult to train; so it figures that a pug mix may follow the trend) or not. Depends on the trainer - YOU!

I am not going to repeat housetraining procedures in this post, nor will I debate the best method to housetrain. There's plenty of this type of information on the web. Instead, I'm asking that you do some research, talk to your friends who have dogs, and answer the following questions about housetraining:

1) What method will you use?
Crate training, sticking to a strict schedule (outside after meals, after playing, after a nap, when the pup wakes up in the morning, and before he goes to sleep at night), or some other method you discovered?

We were new to dog training and Alvin cried in the crate way too much for our comfort level, so we decided to stick to a strict schedule. During the day he goes outside according to the schedule listed above.

At first, whenever I deviated from the schedule one little bit, there was an accident. Two months later, accidents happen much less frequently, but the Prince is still on a schedule. We need to know his whereabouts at all times. For example, today he was confined to the deck while we were weeding next to the deck. He started to bark at the gate, seemingly for no reason, and then disappeared. A few minutes later we discovered he left us a present on the deck. Our double bad – he let us know by barking at the gate (door), but we ignored him AND we broke our own rule by leaving him unattended.

2) How many puppy caregivers are there? Are all the caregivers in agreement about the housetraining method? Who’s responsible for what puppy housetraining activities?

You’ll experience fewer panic situations (where IS that pup?), blaming and arguing if all caregivers know what to do and when.

3) Have you bought the essential equipment needed for housetraining?

Refer to the following blog entries for the equipment you need:
Bringing Your New Pup Home - Are You Ready??
Bringing Your New Pup Home continued

Note that these lists do not include “pee pee pads” and diapers. Alvin shreds pee pee pads and dogs look real dumb in diapers. I'm sure they serve a purpose, but they're not for Alvin.

4) What location will the pup use for elimination??
I know this sounds like a relatively insignificant question, but remember the word consistency I mentioned above. Taking the pup to the same spot every time expedites the dog’s association with one outdoor spot as the place to eliminate. Watch – your pup will start leading YOU to his spot sooner than you think.

Similarly, once you get into the habit of exiting through the same door every time you go out, another association will develop for your pup. I always wonder how a New Yorker in a high rise teaches housetraining. That’s a lot of associations and a long time frame to wait for a young pup. Maybe that’s where the pee pee pads come into play.

We use the word “Outside” every time we open the door to let Alvin out on his lease and “Hurry Up” when we arrive at his spot outdoors. You have to be careful not to say “Hurry Up” indoors.

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