House Training Tips

How do we house-break a 3-month-old Yorkie? We keep her in a wire crate with its door opened to the Hale doggy door so she can only go outside and not come into the house as such. If we were to let her come into the house she would leave her calling cards on the puppy pads and not save up to go outside. We need to get her little mind associated with the idea of going potty outside but have no idea about how to get the great outdoors of the fenced-in dog run associated with going potty there.  Any ideas? –N.J.P., Prescott, AZ

To train your puppy to go outside when she’s not crated you must train your dog just as you would if you didn’t use the crate.

This is accomplished by taking the pup outside when she wakes up and after eating. This involves a lot of bonding time with your pup, and she will accept your leadership.

A typical training scenario goes like this:

  • Puppy wakes up, and you call her to the door and go out together. As she sniffs around, take her to the area of the yard where you want her to go. Watch her behavior as she’ll give you clues that she’s about to potty. When she starts to go, say a word that you will use as a cue to let her know what you want her to do. Remember that dogs hear only the end of words, so use a command that ends in a different sound than other commands that you’ll use. When she’s finished, praise and reward her.
  • After the puppy eats repeat the above steps.
  • Take your pup out in the evening right before bed.
  • Take your puppy out first thing in the morning.
  • Your pup will let you know when she has to go by sniffing and circling, so get her outside as soon as you see these behaviors.

Do not have puppy pads in the house. The puppy pads attract your pup to them to eliminate, so using them in the house just encourages her to urinate in the house. The pads will be more useful if you put them out in the run where you want her to relieve herself.

Most puppies usually can start to control their elimination around four months of age depending on breed. Some youngsters have a few accidents in the house, and it’s important to treat it as an accident and never punish your pup. If you catch your puppy in the act, pick her up and run her outside to the toilet area.

Be sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect any accident spots, so your pup doesn’t smell the urine and think it’s a good spot to go. Avoid cleaners with ammonia because these cleaners smell like urine to dogs and can encourage urinating in the house. To eliminate urine odor, you can use vanilla extract to cover the smell.

It’s necessary to keep a watchful eye on your pup at all times. If you find that your puppy is still having accidents, you can fasten a leash to your belt so your puppy is close by at all times.

If you’re consistent with your training and your pup is physically mature enough to control herself, the time you invest in training will determine how fast your puppy learns where it’s appropriate to relieve herself. Be sure to get everyone in the household involved in this first training.

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