Sunday, January 1, 2017

To Pee Pad or Not to Pee Pad

How to House Train Your Puppy to use Pee Pads

Canadian winters often with wind chills of -30°C or lower are best enjoyed from the warmth and comfort of the indoors. However, life with a young four-legged companion usually means going out in any weather condition. Woe is the naked dog ... especially a small naked dog.

The temptation to teach your puppy to go on a pee pad is strong. Really who wants to house train a puppy in the dead of winter? Standing outside for five minutes or more waiting for your puppy to do his business is nobody's idea of fun and it's definitely not fun for your puppy.

Training with pee pads can create habits that are difficult to break for your dog. Pee pads can tell your dog that it's ok to relieve himself on any absorbent surface in your home. Repeated use of a pee pad in the same area conditions your dog to do his business there with or without a pad. Challenges aside, sometimes pee pads are a necessary evil in the house training of a puppy. Here are some suggestions for making them work; 

Always follow puppy house training rules.  Puppy’s need to be taken out approximately every hour,  when they wake up, finish eating and a few minutes after play.  Most puppies suddenly stop moving around and start sniffing right before they go.  Every puppy is different but if you are observing your puppy you will soon learn his/her cues that they are about to eliminate.
  1. Establish a pee room. Naturally the bathroom is a perfect pee room!
  2. When your puppy has to pee, take him to the bathroom, put down the pee pad. (At first, you can cover the whole floor with pee pads and then remove pads reducing to only one as habits are formed);
  3. Close the door to confine puppy in the bathroom with you in there.
  4. When your puppy relieves himself, praise and reward  him with a treat usually I use their kibble.
  5. Clean up the mess and leave the bathroom. Don't forget to close the door behind you. Keeping the bathroom door closed at all times, helps the dog understand that the bathroom is the place to go to relieve himself and that he needs to let you know when he needs to go.

As the weather gets warmer, you can start taking him outside when they go to the bathroom door. Eventually, they will start asking to go potty at the outside door instead of the bathroom door. The key is to keep the bathroom door closed so he never gets an opportunity to go potty in the bathroom for at least six months after the last time you allowed it.

You can use the same technique to train your dog to use a litter box. Dog-sized litter boxes and special dog litter are available from your local pet store. Treat the litter box the same as a bathroom in your house. Don't change the location of the box, put an x-pen around it. If he enters the litter box, don't let him out until he performs his business. Once he's done, reward him and let him out. It's about shaping behaviour.

What other methods have you tried in meeting your dog's bathroom needs? Let us know by commenting below!