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The importance of thorough housebreaking cannot be over-emphasized, The younger the dog, the more difficult it will be. Some breeds housebreak more readily than others. Unless you do what has to be done, whether direct housebreaking or paper training as an intermediate step, as discussed herein the dog will not learn. Un-housebroken dogs are unacceptable. All the reasons that make dogs worthwhile, enjoyable companions, are destroyed if they cannot be trusted in the house.

There are two basic housebreaking techniques, one in which house-breaking is accomplished directly, and one which uses paper breaking as an intermediate step. Direct housebreaking is by far preferable, but it is not convenient to everyone's life style. If you have a yard of ANY sort just outside your door, it is not only possible but best to housebreak directly. Apartment dwellers may have to rely on the intermediate paper breaking method ... I have a personally had a problem with paper training in that pups frequently confuse newspaper you set out for their use with those you may have set on the floor (or somewhere else) while you answer the phone, etc.

Direct housebreaking is simple. Basically, it involves taking the puppy outside frequently, allowing him to relieve himself, and returning him to the house. Once inside, he is confined to either a large sleeping and living box or crate, or where you can keep a close eye on him, loose, but in a restricted space such as the kitchen (tile floor). In either case, the puppy will be restricted to a small area in which he must play and sleep, an area that he will be extremely reluctant to soil.

If he does soil the area, and accidents will happen, chastise him MILDLY and take him outside immediately to the area he has used before, to remind him that the only permissable place is there. Remember to be fair to him though. A young puppy needs to eliminate OFTEN, so take him out frequently in the early days before he has built up a measure of control. He must be taken out an hour after each feeding. With age he will be able to contain himself for longer periods and the necessary outings will be reduced to approximately four a day, but let him work up to it slowly -- and at HIS OWN pace.

As a young pup, you will take him out a LOT ... and yes, this means with a very young pup, YOU will be going out in the middle of the night, in the rain, the snow, etc., as the pup establishes a schedule and routine of what you want. First thing in the morning (and yes, this may be even before you can relieve yourself!), after they've eaten, after each and EVERY nap (which are many with a young pup), before you place the pup into a crate or place of confinement, before you go to bed, sometimes during the middle of the night, and all sorts of times in-between when or if the pup looks like he might be trying to "find a place" (sniffing the floor, turning in those what will become familiar circles), etc., etc.

As a young pup, you will take him out a LOT ... and yes, this means with a very young pup, YOU will be going out in the middle of the night, in the rain, the snow, etc., as the pup establishes a schedule and routine of what you want. First thing in the morning (and yes, this may be even before you can relieve yourself!), after they've eaten, after each and EVERY nap (which are many with a young pup), before you place the pup into a crate or place of confinement, before you go to bed, sometimes during the middle of the night, and all sorts of times in-between when or if the pup looks like he might be trying to "find a place" (sniffing the floor, turning in those what will become familiar circles), etc., etc.

As a very young pup, you may be taking the pup out EVERY hour or even less, and may need to go out on this schedule round the clock. Relax! This kind of commitment won't be needed forever ... just as your get in tune with the pup's schedule/needs and try to establish a routine while avoiding accidents. The pup will learn to sleep through the night with maturity. As the pup grows, you become more familiar with HIS schedule, these times can be extended ... but ... keep in mind, any accidents will be YOUR fault for varying the routine, not observing, etc. This does not make you a bad person, nor the pup un-trainable, it means you will be to be more observant, go back to what worked best before and stretch to a change at another time.

In truth, we are not really "training" the pup at this time, but adapting ourselves to the pup's needs! In reality, we are helping the pup adjust to our schedule as his body's ability to "hold it" is obtained. Different pups learn at different rates, and their bodies mature independently, so don't compare your pup's progress to that of another ... all will come in time.

There is nothing cruel about restricting a puppy to a box or crate, contrary to what many new dog people think. It is actually a kindness to allow the puppy to get housebreaking over and done with efficiently. A majority of housebreaking problems originate with the "kind" owner who lets an untrained puppy have the run of the house, then the puppy falls into the habit of soiling floors or furniture, and for years afterward he may be subjected to constanct corrections. The choice is between a few weeks (or months) of close confinement or observation resulting in efficient housebreaking, or the possibility of years of dis-satisfaction, accompanied by non-stop corrections. Furthermore, it is not as if the dog is in solitary confinement -- give your puppy plenty of attention and playtime both in and out of his confinement area!

Accustoming a dog to a crate may also be beneficial later if you decided to travel with him -- where you can take your dog with where he might not otherwise be welcome, but is accepted within the crate. In addition, many experienced breeders and trainers who give their dogs free access to crates following housebreaking will tell you that dogs appreciate having a space of their own apart from the hustle and bustle of human life.

Housebreaking in an apartment is a more difficult task. Your veterinarian may advise you not to take the puppy into city streets until his shots fully protect him from diseases he might contract there. On the other hand, it may be difficult to make frequent trips down to the street from a high-rise apartment. Such cases call for the use of the paper training method -- especially in the middle of the night.

Cover the entire floor of the training room, preferably the kitchen with several thicknesses of newspaper and confine the puppy to that area. Wait for him to use the paper, then pick up the soiled papers and replace them. Continue in this fashion for a day or two. Then leave a small corner of the room uncovered and hope he does not use it. If he does, chastise him mildly and put him on the papers, letting him know that this is the one and only place for him to go.

As he seems to understand the paper idea, widen the bare area until you have a paper space equivalent to about two full newspaper sheets. Allow him to use that area until he is old enough to go out to the street. Then begin street walks with him until he learns the street (or whatever designated space) is the proper place for elimination and remove papers (don't forget to keep your dog welcome in the neighborhood, and clean up after him when in public areas!). At that point, watch carefully for any indication of need for relieving himself (he may search frantically for the papers), and take him out immediately.

As with direct housebreaking, keep him absolutely confined (in this case to the paper-breaking area) until the lesson is finally learned.

Also, you can help the puppy control his bladder by limiting water at night. Don't give him water for at least two hours before his bedtime (this is, of course, your bedtime), and make sure he is taken out, or allowed access to the papers just before the household retires.

Don't forget to get up early in the morning with a young puppy to start this process all over again so as not to incorporate soiling habits ... you can always go back to bed after the puppy has relieved himself! Always keep in mind: You are teaching and establishing "good" or "desired" habits!!! If the pup HAS to go, he will ... the trick is being in tune with when he needs to go so you can help control where. Before you know it, the pup will have a healthy and happy routine established to make him a welcome addition to the family. Just remember ... puppy = baby! Babies wear diapers to collect their accidents, puppies piddle on the floor. You don't get mad at a baby or
yourself when a baby soils a diaper ... the same should apply to the puppy!

ENJOY! 

House Training

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