Understanding Your Puppy's Behavior During Potty Training Understanding Your Puppy's Behavior During Potty Training

Are dogs born with puppy potty training instincts? Puppies are born with many instincts: protect, submit, hunt, and guard territory, to name a few. Specific dog breeds inherit ancient instincts like herding, tracking, pulling, or pointing. Even with those oodles and oodles of instincts, unfortunately letting you know when he has to go potty is not one of them. That's why we potty train puppies.

The good news about puppy potty training is that dogs want to please their owners, so with a heaping helping of puppy praise for good behavior and none for the bad, plus a daily dose of training consistency, you can successfully potty train your puppy very quickly. This successful recipe does not include screaming, yelling, pulling, hitting, or any similar method that is abusive. This scares your puppy, and in fear he will no longer wish to please or obey your training commands. At that point, you'll basically be speaking to the paw. You are all the puppy has, so always treat him well and educate yourself on proper and humane ways to potty train your puppy. The end result is a happy, well-behaved puppy that will truly be your best friend (and pee outside - bonus).

A Clean Routine
Here is something to ponder about puppy potty training. Whether we like to admit it, we are all trained, but for ego's sake we call it a routine. A routine of many people is to rise and shine, gussy up, spend the daylight hours working, going to school, or raising tots, work out or watch TV in the evening, and then sleep and repeat. Speckled throughout our day are "sub-routines," which are good and bad habits and instinctive reactions and decisions.

With the addition of a new puppy to the household, puppy potty training needs to be added to your daily routine. You're not only training your puppy, but you're training yourself as well. Anyone who has enrolled a pup in a puppy training program soon realizes the class is really for them - not the pup.

Read the Signs
Puppy potty training starts with getting to know your new puppy and understanding his behavior, because like people, puppies have unique personalities, quirks, and mannerisms. This means your puppy is going to send specific signs, unique to your puppy, indicating he has to take care of business. Your assignment - identify those signs! Your floors will thank you.

A sign can be anything from your dog looking at you with a tilt of the head and a cute look when you ask, "do you have to go out?" to a change in behavior such as playing more aggressively with other dogs when nature calls. You can always train your dog to notify you in a different manner, but until then, you must know how your puppy acts when nature calls. This is not only a learning time for your puppy, but for you as well. Your puppy will learn what you want him to do (go outside), and you will learn how your puppy communicates and when he is telling you he needs to go outside.

A puppy is not going to do what you want, when you want, just because "you own him." The key to puppy potty training is to praise good behavior and ignore or correct the bad. An example of rewarding would be if your puppy has an accident in the house in between his scheduled outdoor time. Correct the behavior by saying "no" in your command voice, taking your dog outside, and praising and petting him after he goes outside. Soon your puppy gets the picture that its makes you happy when he goes outside.

A Light Load
Many states, by law, don’t allow a puppy to be separated from his mother, or offered for adoption, prior to eight weeks of age. For this reason, most new puppies are between 8-10 weeks of age when you can take them home. However, many puppy potty training programs have age requirements of about four months. You can start training your pup at eight weeks, but don't forget, his concentration level and bladder are both small, and neither will last long.

During those first few weeks you need to carry him to the spot you want him to pee. Do this first thing in the morning, immediately after waking from a nap, after play time, and after eating - basically every hour. Trust me, it is easier to carry your pup outside and start puppy potty training early, rather than trying to correct bad habits later.

A Potty Training-Free Pup
Everyone wants a cute and cuddly pup, but a huge advantage to dogs in shelters, or older dogs in need of new homes, is that they are already potty trained to some extent, and at the very least have larger bladders and can hold it longer. Often it just takes a few days to figure out their schedule and signs. If you adopted a younger or adult dog, you will need to evaluate what training he already has, learn his behavior and signals, praise the good, and then retrain behavior that must be corrected.

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