American Hairless Terrier Association

Housebreaking Made Simple

Housebreaking can be a traumatic time for both the new puppy/dog and their owners. Here are some suggestions. You can choose what would be best for  you and your new puppy/dog.

First thing to decide is WHERE your puppy/dog will go to the bathroom and stick to one method of training. If you wish to paper train .. do only that.  BUT if your goal is to go for outdoor pottying, then I suggest you take the paper away and begin a strict routine that YOU must adhere to as the puppy/dog  learns what is expected of them.

DO NOT give free roam of the house at any time until you are convinced the puppy/dog is completely housebroken. This could be for up to a year for  a young puppy.

Often what happens is that mixed signals are given to the puppy/dog and in  those situations the puppy/dog will come up with their own set of rules, often to the disappointment of the owner. In fact, they are confused and don't understand what is it you are asking of them. Generally, when such difficulties arise it's for that reason. Lack of consistency would be the diagnosis.

Also, I firmly believe in crate training. It is the single most effective tool an owner can utilize for training. IF it is done properly and not abused. It should never be used as punishment but as an aid for training. What you are in fact doing with a puppy/dog who is learning the "routines" of the household is using a bit of dog psychology to your advantage. Generally speaking,  a dog will not soil where it has to sleep. You will make adjustments for  this based on the age and size of the puppy/dog. A puppy can be trusted to hold its urine only for short periods of time and will ALWAYS have to urinate when first awakening, after being "crated" for a period of time, playing with toys, family members etc. You will use this information and toileting needs in the schedule that you will develop for your new puppy/dog.

Also, during this time in the learning process... you NEVER want to leave  the puppy/dog alone and unsupervised.... Remember the expression? "When the cats away , the mice will play" ? :) Well, this is so true of puppies and dogs who are learning the do's and don'ts of housebreaking!! If you are not there to supervise and observe that individual puppy/dogs "cues" for "time to go potty" .... you WILL have accidents and the fault will NOT be the dogs!! :) This is the time for you to place your puppy in its "den" (crate). That is the other bit of dog psychology that you are using. Remember when I said, dogs don't like to soil where they have to sleep? This is true!

Follow these simple steps:

A crate that is size specific .. a puppy does not need a large adult size crate..If the crate is too large and you keep food and water in it for them..  then when the need to relieve themselves arises . . and it will ... the corner of that crate is equivalent to another room.. as they can physically get away from it. You also are teaching them it is ok to soil the crate.

Buy a crate to fit as the puppy grows... One where it can comfortably lay  down, stand up and turn around. Place it in an area that the puppy/dog will be sleeping most of the time. This will become your puppy/dogs "den". I would  not invest in an expensive one during this process, as you may have to buy several as it continues to grow and becomes more trustworthy.

Also, give it "acceptable" chewies when in the crate. They will have a need to chew as they cut teeth and grow. This is also true of some adults.

Do not use a crate as punishment, but only when you can not directly supervise the activities of the puppy/dog. Also use at night for sleeping.

Do not talk to your puppy/dog as you approach the crate. You want to approach the crate in a matter of fact way. If you don't, the puppy/dog may become excited and have an "accident".

Calmly take the puppy/dog outdoors to relieve itself. Begin using a "cue"  word or phrase that will be the signal the puppy/dog will learn.

AFTER going potty make a BIG deal of it... GOOD PUPPY!! GOOD DOG!! PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE!!!

Do not give treats when the dog comes back inside the house as a reward. The puppy/dog will then quickly associate going "back" in the house with something good and may not finish what they went outdoors to do in the first place.

Also, allow time to run and play a bit and time to have a bowel movement.

IF you feel there should have been ample time and no BM has occurred.. do NOT allow the puppy/dog free access to the inside of the home without close supervision. This is a direct cue for the puppy/dog to go to a corner of the room when you are not monitoring or even into another room and do it's thing! If you can not monitor for the signs of "more to come " :) Place the puppy/dog back in the crate until you can REPEAT the entire process again and with the desired outcome having been achieved .

Does this sound like a lot of work? IT IS!!! It's just as much work as having a newborn in the home and essentially... you do!

Paper training.... can be done effectively by using the pee pads which are chemically treated to attract dogs to them. I have heard of folks who have used these in a litter box type of container and essentially trained their dog to use a litter box indoors only as the method of choice for toileting.  Actually had someone who bought a crested puppy from me do this years ago..  Not what I would choose, but works for some.

If you leave a paper in front of the door for use.. You are really teaching  the puppy to potty AT the door...

Always use a word or short phrase to "cue" the puppy/dog for whatever method  of training you want and stick to that word or phrase each time .

Hope this helps some!

Teri Murphy
AHTA - President
UKC licensed

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