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       If you have been reading through our training articles, you already have a well-rounded idea of our training philosophy.    


    Puppy housebreaking begins in the whelping box and with the mother of your puppy. Not every puppy is afforded the opportunity to have a “perfect birth to 8 weeks” environment. Knowing where your puppy came from and the environment it was in, prior to it coming to live with you will give you a very good idea of how easy or difficult it will be to housebreak your puppy.

     First let’s talk the ideal environment. The ideal environment is imprinted into the puppy, environmental genetic imprinting from the momma dog. It is learned and imprinted into the young puppy from birth. The ideal environment would be a puppy that is born in a clean whelping box, where the momma dog is a very good mother dog. She cleans her puppies and the environment they are in. The person raising the puppies from birth to 8 weeks is on top of the cleanliness of the whelping box. A puppy that from day one is in a clean environment strives to keep its sleeping area clean. As it has been instilled in them from birth, from their mother and the environment they were raised in. Often times pet shop puppies are known to be extremely difficult to house break. The reason for this, is the mother dog is too often in an overcrowded environment of kennels upon kennels of dogs that are solely used for the purpose of being bred and their puppies sold for profit. The only reason the mom dog exists is to be bred and often times they are forced to have two litters a year, without a rest in between. The momma dog is over stressed and anxious. Most puppy mill dogs, live in small kennels and have no other option but to use the bathroom where they sleep and eat. The puppies are born into this environment. The mom dog cannot keep up with keeping their sleep area clean. The puppy from birth is desensitized to its own filth. When the puppy goes to its new home, it is extremely difficult to even crate train a puppy from this environment as they have it ingrained in them it is normal to use the bathroom in their own kennel and sleep area. Not everyone knows the background of the dog they have. It could be from a rescue, found on Craigslist or some listing on the internet or a well-known reputable breeder.  

      No matter where your puppy came from, you would not be reading this if you did not love your puppy and want the very best for them. If your puppy is having accidents in its kennel, all is not lost. No matter the background of your puppy. You can still take steps to help housebreak your puppy. The first step is choosing a kennel and we highly encourage you to read our article on kennel training. Once you have the kennel picked out. Make sure it is kept clean. Do not give your puppy the opportunity to go potty inside the kennel. If they have accident not all is lost.


1.  Create a controlled environment. It is your home and your puppy. It is like having a small child in your house. You would not give a small child free reign of your home to get into everything. There are harmful things inside your home and also expensive items you do not want your new four legged family member getting a hold of. Go through your home and make it pet proof as much as is possible. Put things up that you would normally put up, if you had a small child in the home.


2.  Kennel your puppy. Read our article on kennel training your puppy. Teaching your puppy to first keep its kennel clean will greatly lay the foundation to a housebroken puppy.


3.  Create a potty schedule. Your schedule should consist of every four to five hours or as your work schedule permits. Expect to wake up at least twice a night.


4.  Science has proven half an hour after a dog eats, he has to go potty. Remember playing gets a puppy’s bladder going. Take your puppy out right after playing for a potty break.


5.  Enforce the three-foot rule! When you puppy is given time outside of his kennel, make sure they are not within a three-foot distance away from you. It is recommended to have them on a leash when they are outside of their kennel, in order to make enforcing the three-foot rule even easier.


6.  Know what your puppy is going to do before they do it. Learn to watch your puppy and know its behavior. Watch for indicators of what it will do next. If they are circling and/or sniffing that is a very good indication they will need to go out potty.


7.  Once your puppy has learned to keep its kennel clean and not to potty, it’s time to get into the actual housebreaking portion. Which means continue to enforce the three foot rule. Prevention is key, do not let them out of your sight when outside their kennel and don’t give them the opportunity to have an accident. Keep them on their potty schedule, so you are taking them out consistently.


8.   Always take them outside to potty in the same spot each and every time. They will smell where they went last and it will help enforce in their mind where they are supposed to go.


9.  Be patient. Do not give them free reign of the house until they are mature, past the chewing stage and completely housebroken. You wouldn’t leave your five-year-old home alone, right? Maybe your fifteen-year-old. Don’t rush your dog’s maturity. When you are away, they have quiet time in the crate. Where no bad habits can be formed. We do not want to give them the opportunity at 12 weeks to develop bad habits, as those same habits you may still be trying to fix at one year and two year of age. Prevent the bad habits from ever developing, with taking control of your puppy’s environment.


10.  If your Puppy has an accident in its kennel, clean it immediately with a pet safe cleaning product. Do not use bleach! We recommend OdoBan, which can be found at Home Depot. For carpet we recommend you clean it right away and with a pet safe product. Remember once they go in the house, they will want to return to that spot each and every time. This is why we want to prevent any accidents from even occurring. If one does happen, be sure to thoroughly clean it in order to prevent your dog from wanting to return to it. 0. Lastly, remember patience and prevention are the key to kennel training and housebreaking your new family member. Stay consistent and stick to your schedule.


Constance Baker

KnightWatch K9 Pet Training

Copyright KnightWatch K9 2019

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