How do I…deal with my puppy’s frequent accidents?
If you’ve brought a new puppy into your home, chances are you’ve done all the research and talked to experienced dogs owners on how to toilet train your puppy.
The key ingredients to successfully housebreaking your puppy include being patient, persistent and consistent. Puppies feel the urge to pee typically after eating, drinking, playing and waking from sleeping (even after short naps!) Always be sure to reward your puppy and make their correct action (peeing in the yard, on a walk, etc.) a positive experience. This can include a small tidbit that you have on hand to immediately give them, which ensures they connect the action with the reward, as well as verbal praise and petting.
Don’t leave your puppy unattended, unless they are crated or otherwise contained, to prevent accidents in your absence. Make a habit of offering your puppy a chance to go to the bathroom regularly throughout the day and before bed, instead of waiting until they are sniffing around, looking for a spot.
Pups will give you good “clues” when they’re about to “go”. A puppy that is playing or chewing on a toy and suddenly stops to get up and sniff around is giving you a clear signal that something is about to happen. That’s the time to react by getting him outside and as soon as he/she finishes, IMMEDIATELY praise them (remember the 10 second rule!) so they associate the bathroom activity with the treat.
Most animal behaviorists and professionals do not feel punishment is an effective method of housebreaking. It can merely make the puppy afraid of urinating in your presence to avoid punishment. Positive reinforcement has shown to be the fastest, easiest and most effective method to housetrain your puppy.
The best training ignores bad behavour- even punishment such as a stern word or stern look can be misinterpreted and confusing for your puppy. Ignore the bad and reinforce the good!
If you feel your puppy is still struggling and has accidents in the house, consult with your veterinarian to make sure an infection or parasites are not the cause. They can also discuss optimal housebreaking methods that make work for you and your puppy.
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