My Smart Puppy

with Dog Expert, Sarah Wilson

Housebreaking Basics

| 2 Comments

Any problem solving exercise begins with the question: Are all the basics in place? If we’re problem solving some issue with our car, we start with these questions: Is there gas in the tank? Enough oil? Are all the wires attached? Belts in place? Battery charged?

If something is wrong there, nothing else you do is going to make a difference.

If we’re problem solving a housebreaking problem, we start with these questions:

Is the dog healthy?

If your puppy has a parasite or a urinary tract infection, housebreaking will be nearly impossible no matter how hard everyone tries. So a persistent housebreaking problem calls for a health check – right away.

What is the dog eating?

Dogs with housebreaking issues need to be on a consistent diet designed for dogs. One person called us frustrated that her dog was having problems; turns out she was feeding him take-out.

How much?

One fifteen-pound pup, who had seen numerous specialists, was being fed five cups of food a day! That would be the equivalent of about 50 cups for a 150-pound human – think that would cause a problem?

Is there a routine?

One young man called me, complaining that his puppy had gone in the crate. Turns out that having been out late he hadn’t gotten up to walk his pup until almost noon! His puppy simply could not wait. Routines need to stay the same regardless of day or life events. Once the dog matures and gets clean, variations are fine but when dealing with a problem (or with youth) it’s up to you to do your part.

How often is the dog getting outside?

How often a puppy or dog needs to go out depends on their age, among other factors, it is not determined by your schedule or your energy levels. Puppies and dogs need what they need. One woman was upset her puppy was going in her apartment – she was walking the little fellow twice a day! When more walks were added, things progressed nicely.

Below are some rough guidelines for how often your puppy should go out, these are not rules that are written in stone. If your puppy had a big drink before he was crated, he will need to go out much sooner. So always listen to you pup before all else.

8-12 Weeks

  • During free time – take the puppy outside or to the papers every 30-60 minutes
  • When crated – take the puppy outside or to the papers every 2-3 hours
  • Over night – may need a walk or two during the night
  • Get them up immediately after you get up and last thing before bed.

12-16 weeks

  • During free time – take the puppy outside or to the papers every 60 minutes +/-
  • When crated – take the puppy outside or to the papers every 3-4 hours
  • Over night – can usually make it through the night
  • Get them up immediately after you get up and last thing before bed.

16-24 weeks

  • During free time – take the puppy outside or to the papers every 60-90 minutes
  • When crated – take the puppy outside or to the papers every 4-5 hours
  • Over night – can make it through the night
  • You can usually relax a little about the AM and PM walks but don’t let your puppy out of his crate in the AM until you are ready to take him out or you risk a wet spot.

Over 24 weeks

  • During free time – take the puppy outside or to the papers every couple of hours
  • When crated – take the puppy outside or to the papers every 6-8 hours
  • Over night – can make it through the night
  • Usually flexible with their own individual limits.

What is being used to clean up with?

Clean up with an odor neutralizer made to remove pet stains. There are many to choose from. Do not use vinegar or ammonia to clean with, they will not do the trick. Thorough cleaning is key to housebreaking success.

The majority of dogs get housebroken. Most become pretty clean in the house by four months of age (or sooner) with our help and then become reliable without our help at around seven months.

by Sarah Wilson, MySmartPuppy.com

2 Comments

  1. Hi, my puppy is 4-5 months old and she has been so stubborn with her potty training. I usually wake up around 10 and i pick her up and carry her outside so she can go and she will go. Then i feed her in her cage afterwards with a small bowl of water, and i only feed her food and water twice a day. I take her out constantly to go to the bathroom with my older dogs (which have truly adopted her in the pack, they play all the time). Closer to night time she will go outside and do nothing after i walk her for 45min and then come inside and pee/poop. Its been driving me insane! This has been happening every night for a week, and its gotten to the point where she won’t go and ill bring her in and she will actually jump all over my husband and pee all over him. Im trying to crate train her but she just screams and screams… Im so stressed out by all of this please help! If i knew a structured system on what i should do i think that would help but I’m trying the most of what i can. She has extreme separation anxiety and i don’t know how to kick that either.

    • Sorry you’re having such a hard time. There are a LOT of issues here so find good local training help to get this sorted out. Your vet or local humane society should have some suggestions.

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