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House Training

By Karen Miller. A dog training secret: Good dog trainers are generous with praise!


  1. Never punish your pup for making an error. Vow to catch him before he makes another mistake.


  1. Watch your pup or crate your pup.. During the housetraining period, you will need to completely supervise your puppy! Your puppy should have indoor "free play" periods (under your supervision) only after he has eliminated outside. During periods that you cannot supervise him, you will need to crate him.
  2. Be "ready to go". During the housetraining period, be prepared to walk your dog constantly!!! Keep your pups leash and collar by the door, your shoes on, "clean up" bags, your keys and treats in your pockets so you are ready to take your dog out at a moments notice.
  3. Say "do you want to go outside?", and move towards the door. This may help you in the distant future, and give your pup a way to indicate when he needs to go out. So if you ever see your pup standing by the door and looking pensive, take him for a walk, and tell him how brilliant he is for showing you that he needed to go out!
  4. Carry your dog outside. Carry your dog outside so he is less likely to get excited and make a mistake in the hallway or elevator.
  5. Consistent feeding schedule. Make sure your pup is on a consistent feeding schedule. Plan on feeding the pup at the same time every day... for example at
  6. 7 AM and 5 PM

  7. Clean it up. Pups like to eliminate in the same spots, so it is important to get rid of any lingering smells that have come from puppy accidents in the house. Clean up poop or pee with a product like Nature’s Miracle or other enzyme containing cleaners made exclusively for treating pet elimination. Do not clean with any products that contain ammonia.

Going Outside:

  1. Take pup to the same spot. Always take your pup out to the same place to eliminate.
  2. 3 minutes. Give your dog 3 minutes to eliminate in the spot of your choosing.
  3. Teach a "cue" word for elimination. Say "hurry up" (or another phrase) very gently, just as your pup starts to eliminate. Softly say "good pup!" during elimination, and follow up with a really good treat after the pup has finished eliminating.
  4. Reinforcement. If the pup eliminates, give him a little walk as a reward. Do not take your puppy on a walk unless he has eliminated.

    Even though you think you are training your pup, from your pups perspective - he is training you! If he can train you to take him on a long walk in order to get him to eliminate - he will. If you only take him on a long walk after he has eliminated, he will have learned that he can train you to take him on a long walk if he eliminates promptly! You’ll thank me for this little bit of information the first time you have to walk your dog during a snow storm!

  6. Prevention. If you take him out and he does not eliminate, take him back into the house and put him in his crate. Take him out every 20 minutes or so until he eliminates and you get a chance to reinforce him.

When do I walk my puppy?:

  1. Upon arising (don’t wait to drink your coffee!!)
  2. 15 to 30 minutes after he eats. (Watch his behavior, if he starts to sniff the ground, or circle - take him out.)
  3. Soon after he drinks a lot of water.
  4. After playing.
  5. After sleeping.
  6. After chewing on his bone.
  7. If he starts to look restless, whines, or runs into another room (presumably to eliminate away from you).
  8. Immediately before you go to sleep.
  9. When very little, he may need to be walked if he starts crying during the night. In this instance you should not make a huge deal out of reinforcing him, as you don’t really want him to continue to wake you at night. Walk him, and put him right back to bed after he has eliminated.

Does your pup drink lots of water?

If so, you may need to limit the times your pup has access to it, and only give him unlimited water with his meals. As a general rule, pick up your dogs water 3 hours before bedtime to help prevent nighttime accidents. However, if your home is warm, your pup will need to have water available at all times.

The most important thing to remember when training your pup is to "catch them doing it right" and reinforce them.

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