By Roohi Kulkarni Kale*
Having a pooch is one of the best experiences in life, but that experience can turn sour if the cute puppy is peeing all over your new carpet or he just doesn’t want to calm down and sleep! If your adult pooch is still peeing everywhere, biting on furniture, or barking excessively, he may be bored, frustrated, or just not trained. In this series of three articles, we will see what a day in your pooch’s life looks like and how to make it a happy one!
When you get a puppy or if you are about to get one, he must have a set routine that matches with yours comfortably. By doing so, both you and the puppy know what to expect at what time and be prepared for it. Most importantly, having a schedule helps toilet train a puppy fast and minimizes accidents inside the house. In this first article of the series, we will be looking into all aspects of toilet training.
What should your puppy’s schedule look like when he comes home? Ideally, a puppy should come home not before eight weeks of age. At eight weeks, he will be eating four times a day, and his day can be divided into four parts revolving around those meal times every four hours.
This Is What a Good Schedule Looks Like for a New Puppy…
Wake her up about half an hour before his mealtime, and take him straight to the designated toileting area. Once your puppy has done his business, it’s time for food! Encouraging good behaviour and habits during meal times helps to train your pooch fast and build a great bond. After food, it is playtime and free time where your puppy can explore the area. This time must be supervised so that the puppy does not wander off to new areas and has toileting accidents. After about an hour and a half, take your puppy to the toileting area again for a quick break before nap time. Wake him again half an hour before the next mealtime and repeat the process till he sleeps for bedtime at night.
How to Correctly Toilet Train Your Puppy
SCHEDULE: Keep a journal tracking the above-mentioned schedule and note when the puppy wants to pee after and before meals, so that you can direct him to the correct area at the correct time. You can only toilet-train your puppy if he wants to do his business. Use first pee in the morning to do this effectively when you know puppy would definitely want to pee. Also, when you get your puppy home for the first time, take him to the area and spot, you want him to pee on. This will ensure that your puppy knows right from the beginning what his toileting area is.
REWARD TOILETING AT CORRECT PLACES: When your puppy toilets at the place he was designated to, you must let him know he has done the right thing by praising and rewarding him with three small treats right after he finishes doing his business. This way you can put toileting on command as well. Putting toileting on command comes into use when you are visiting new places and your pooch doesn’t know where to pee or when you need him to do his business quickly.
SUPERVISE: A pooch will want to toilet after waking up, after eating food or drinking water, and after moments of excitement like playtime or the arrival of a loved one. Actively, take your puppy to pee immediately after these incidents. During free play time, watch your puppy and see if he is seeking a place to pee and immediately direct him to the correct toileting area.
SURFACE AND AREA: No pooch likes to pee where they eat, drink or sleep. In apartments, it often becomes difficult to take him outside at the correct time; hence it is helpful to create an indoor toileting area to avoid accidents. The puppy’s area should have his bed, water bowl, and a grass patch/pee mat/newspapers etc., so that after waking up he will walk and feel a different surface to relieve himself. These areas should be constant, accessible, and easy to find from the moment the puppy arrives. It is impractical for us to take our puppy out to the garden every time if we stay on top floors. Make a toilet area that is easily accessible like in a balcony or a bathroom and slowly transition downstairs and outside when the puppy develops more bladder control. It also comes of use when your dog is sick or the weather doesn’t permit you to take your pooch outside. As the puppy grows up and you start taking him outside, also provide a cone or pole for your male pup in your indoor toileting area to mark on.
Mistakes to Avoid
PUNISHMENT: A puppy has very little bladder control and would pee frequently. If sometimes he pees in the wrong place, we should never punish him by yelling or smacking them with a rolled newspaper, hitting on the nose, or any other form of punishment. A puppy does not understand exactly what he has done wrong and can vaguely associate the punishment with anything he might be doing at that moment. He could have peed hours ago and now be happily chewing on his toy when he gets yelled at making him think that you don’t like him chewing on that toy. He may associate the act of peeing in front of you as something you don’t like and as a result starts hiding and peeing in hard-to-find places. This results in the puppy becoming scared of you and damaging your bond with him. The best way to avoid this situation is to catch him circling or indicating otherwise that he wants to pee and immediately take him to the correct toileting place. If you find pee or poop after hours, the only thing you can do is clean the space up with a good enzyme cleaner so he doesn’t want to pee there again.
TOO MUCH SPACE TOO SOON: When we start having success in toilet training, we allow our pups more space and freedom. However, if you stop supervising too soon, the puppy will find newer spots to pee on and will not develop bladder control making toilet training very difficult.
CLEANING WITH A STRONG-SMELLING FLOOR CLEANER: Puppies find comfort in familiar smells and the strong smell of floor cleaners especially on top of where their pee smell was is very disturbing for them. Hence, they pee in the same spot again to get their familiar smell back in that area. To avoid this repetitive toileting in the wrong spot, clean the pee with a dry cloth and then clean the area with an enzyme cleaner like your clothing detergent which also smells familiar to them.
GIVING A VARIETY OF PEE SPOTS: We have different kinds of flooring and carpets at our home. A puppy will try to pee when he is playing and walks on a surface that feels different. Remove all carpets, doormats, and rugs that are accessible to the puppy to reduce mistakes.
If you have a puppy or an older pooch who is not getting toilet trained despite doing everything right, it is a good idea to consult a vet for finding any underlying health issues and a trainer and behaviourist if things become difficult for you. Avoiding toileting mistakes and actively directing to the correct toileting area each time is the foundation to quickly and effectively toilet train your puppy.
* Author is a Certified Canine Trainer from Canines Can Care (India). She is also certified as a Canine Trainer & Behaviourist from ‘The Northern Centre for Canine Behaviour’ (UK). She specializes in companion dog training, therapy dog work & aggression after completing specialized courses for the same. She also has a Post-Graduate Diploma in Animal Protection Laws form NALSAR. Recently she became a Canine Groomer from Akil’s Pawsh Pawz (India).
Roohi has pioneered the concept of pet dog training with reward based, positive reinforcement methods in Nagpur. She helps match families with the correct puppy for them and guides them from the very beginning of puppy keeping. With Coach the Pooch dog training, her aim is to help pet owners build the best bond with their dogs through communication, compassion & commitment.
You can find her at:
Instagram & facebook: @coachthepooch