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.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Housetraining Your Puppy – Five Reasons for Failure

Sir Simon Sez, "I'm getting an A in Housetraining 101."

I’ve housetrained two puppies in the last few months and admittedly have made a lot of mistakes. At least I learned enough the first time so that I did not repeat most of the errors. This blog explains 5 mistakes you should avoid when housetraining your puppy.

So here they are - from my recent and somewhat painful experience - the 5 major reasons for housetraining failure:

Mistake #1 – Not using a crate or using a crate incorrectly.
A crate is a must-have item, especially if you plan on getting some sleep at night. I’m not recommending crating a dog at night AND during the day, that’s crate overload. But crating at night is mandatory.

Beware the possible whining, crying, or moaning associated with night crating a puppy. If you take your puppy outside just before you crate him, leave him in the crate until he falls asleep regardless of how much he whines and cries. Very important: if he usually pees and poops the last time he goes outside, don’t bring him in until he’s done both duties.

An example of using a crate incorrectly is to use it for punishment. Suppose your puppy messes in a corner repeatedly. You get fed up and throw him in the crate, knowing that he’s not supposed to eliminate in his sleeping area. He won’t know why he’s suddenly thrown into prison. So exactly what have you accomplished by using the crate in this instance?

Mistake #2 – Not communicating with other household members.
Do NOT assume that someone else in your household has taken the puppy out at the designated time and communicated the results OR knows where the little monster is hiding at the moment (13-week old Simon is the current little monster). Always keep each other informed.

Mistake #3 – Not sticking to the housetraining schedule of activities. The typical schedule for housetraining your puppy dictates that you bring him outside after he eats or drinks, wakes up from a nap, or plays for more than a few minutes. Other times to take him outside are first thing in the morning and the last thing at night, and when he’s suddenly agitated, hyperactive, or is walking in circles. Refer to this book: The Perfectly Housetrained Puppy.

Yup, it’s a lot of things to remember, but if you don’t pay attention to the activities and whereabouts of a young puppy, you’re asking for trouble. After stepping in a pile of poop and tracking it all over the house, I pay attention to Simon’s activities very closely.

Mistake #4 – Not listening to dog training experts about housetraining. I bought one of the best-selling dog training packages written by dog training experts which includes a separate pdf on housetraining (Kindom of Pets Secrets to Dog Training). Unfortunately, I disregarded one or two key suggestions. I paid for those mistakes too.

One of the biggest myths about housetraining is to rub a puppy’s nose in his pee. The experts say it doesn’t work because he’ll have no idea why you’re forcing him to smell his own urine. Too much time has elapsed after the event, even though you may do it a few seconds after it happened. Catching him in the act is a different story.

In fact, the current trend in dog training is that punishment of any kind does not work; only rewards and corrections (interrupting a bad behavior and substituting a good behavior) are effective.

Mistake #5 - Failing to understand that every dog is different.Yes, you need to listen to the experts. But something that works in general may not work for your dog. Then what do you do? Easy – try a new approach. Give the new way a try for a week or so. If it’s not working, try something else. Patience is absolutely necessary while housetraining your puppy.

I mentioned that I am training 2 puppies. Their habits, temperament, and intelligence levels are different, even though they are both Cockapoos.

Alvin, 7 months, is supposedly housetrained. It took about 4 months before he would let us know he needed to go outside. Simon is not mature enough to hold his urine for any length of time during the day (experts say they are mature at about 16 weeks). I am still putting Simon through the night crate and daily schedule routine because I’m sure he will be ready very soon. In fact, he will go to the door to be let out and then promptly do his duty. My bet is that Simon’s training period is going to be shorter than Alvin’s.

Hope this discussion about housetraining your puppy was helpful. Comments with your experiences are welcome.

No comments: