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House training puppies

Housetraining of puppies is usually one of the first challenges a new puppy owner is faced with. If puppies are sold at the correct age (8 weeks), the breeder can already play an important role in getting the process started.

Puppies learn a substrate preference, especially around 7-9 weeks of age. They associate the surface they are on with the act of relieving themselves. They don’t really know the difference between inside and outside – it’s all about association of the elimination act (which is self-reinforcing) with the surface or substrate.

Here are a few tips that will assist both breeder and new client to produce problem-free environmentally friendly puppies:

Be prepared
Pups usually need to do their business after a sleep, a meal and a game. Be ready and have the puppy on the preferred surface in anticipation.

Reward good behaviour
Ensure that your puppy is on the surface of your choice when it wants to go, and directly afterwards reward it with a tasty little treat (verbal praise is not enough). Keep lots of little treats handy in different places so that you can reward immediately.

Do not punish
Punishment only teaches the puppy not to do it in the presence of people and increases anxiety. Nose-rubbing, rolled up newspapers etc. are not useful in housetraining. If the puppy does do it in the wrong place, keep quiet and clean up and watch better next time.

Clean properly
When you clean up, preferably use biological soap and water, followed by any alcohol-containing product (e.g. spirits) and not something containing ammonia. This way, you will get rid of all the smells the puppy can smell and you can’t. The puppy will go back to a place it has previously used if there are still smells in that location.