How do I toilet train my new puppy
Toilet training your puppy is all about supervision. You need to anticipate when he needs to go and then direct him where to go.
If your puppy has just eaten, woken up or had a drink, chances are will need to eliminate. He may start to sniff about intently and this means he is probably about to go. If you suspect he needs to go I recommend wherever possible bring him straight outside to where you want him to go. He will usually go after you let him out of his training crate. If you can’t bring him outside then paper training is a good second choice.
The best way to ensure adequate supervision is to crate train him. There are other methods of training but I found crate training to be by far the best.
What if my puppy goes and I am not there?
There is no point in scolding your puppy for urinating or defecating indoors unless you catch him in the act. If you come into a room where the puppy has defecated an hour ago, give out to him and rub his nose in it you will just make him nervous. A puppy should always be greeted enthusiastically when he comes bounding up to you. He will make no connection between relieving himself and you being angry with him an hour later. He will just get the impression that if he is left alone you will return and rub his nose in pooh! This makes him nervous.
So what is crate training?
A crate is a small enclosure for your puppy that he will see as his “den”. There is just enough room for his bed, some toys and a bowl of water. Your puppy will not want to urinate or defecate in his bed so if at all possible he will hold on until he is let out. I would recommend introducing your puppy to his crate slowly. Put his bed in there, and some chew toys and let him wander in and out. Once he becomes accustomed to his crate you can confine him for longer periods.
Whenever you let him out of his crate you can bring him straight outside and give him the command “get busy”. Ignore him until he goes to the toilet and then heap him with praise. Your puppy will be toilet trained in no time.
Crate training is can be helpful in many other ways for your puppy. It is useful for house safety and to prevent destructive behaviour. If you are supervising your puppy and for example he tries to get into the rubbish bin you can tell him “No” distract him with a loud noise, or draw his attention to something else. If you are not present when he tries to get into the bin he may get a reward of some left overs for his bad behaviour! This behaviour will then be repeated! If you don’t catch him in the act there is no point in giving out to him for making a mess one hour later – he will have forgotten what he has done at that stage. So while he is still being trained what is right and wrong restrict him to his crate or to outside when you cannot supervise him.
Is it not cruel to put my dog in a cage?
Young puppies can sleep for as much as 16 hours per day. Leaving them confined for short periods is not cruel, provided that they are released frequently to relieve themselves, they get sufficient time and attention to play and exercise. Most of the time your puppy spends in his crate he will be asleep. Leave him some toys to entertain himself. Your puppy will see his crate as his den, if you leave it open he will probably wander in himself when he needs to sleep, or when he wants some quiet time! You should not put him in his crate as a punishment.
What if he barks and cries when he is put in his cage?
If when you first close your puppy into his crate he starts to whine and bark the best thing to do is ignore him. Wait until he settles down then let him out. This way he will learn to settle quicker. If you let him straight back out he will learn to bark and whine and you (and your neighbours) may have a problem on your hands. Remember behaviour that is rewarded will be repeated.
Do make sure that if your puppy has been in his crate for a while that if he starts barking he is not trying to tell you that he needs to go outside!
Will he need his crate forever?
Overtime when is toilet trained and he is house trained you will need the crate less and less. I always keep it handy if I bring the dogs to visit friends. This way they have a home from home! Dogs that are crate trained always cope well if they have to come into a veterinary hospital or if they are in boarding kennels.