Harlequin Haven Great Dane Rescue

Harlequin Haven
Great Dane Rescue

11567 St. Rt. 774
Bethel, Ohio 45106

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Housetraining a Puppy 

Supervise the puppy constantly when he is loose in the house.
Confine the puppy properly whenever you cannot supervise him.
Types of acceptable confinement include:

  • Small portable dog crate.

  • A small area in the utility room or kitchen that has been boarded off so the puppy cannot injure himself or destroy property.

  • Bathroom with floor protected.

Take the puppy outside (on a leash) and praise the puppy when he relieves himself outside. Take the puppy to the same area of the yard for bathroom purposes. Use a verbal command such as, "Go Potty," "Do your business" Say this in a gentle quite tone of voice.  In the beginning this will mean nothing to the dog, so do not become upset when he fails to respond. After 2-3 weeks, he will start to understand if his eliminating if followed by warm, sincere praise.

Keep his bathroom area picked up except for the most recent stool.
Give the puppy approximately 10 minutes to relieve himself. Do not form the habit of waiting 20-30 minutes for the puppy to eliminate. After he is consistently relieving himself within 10 minutes, gradually over a period of several weeks shorten the time to 5 minutes. DO NOT Reprimand the puppy for failing to relieve himself!!

Keep the puppy on a schedule feeding and outside time!
Feed the puppy all it will eat in 10-15 minutes 3 times each day. Do NOT leave food down all day for him to nibble on. Continual input leads to continual output!   If the puppy is fed on a precise schedule 7 days a week, his bowel movements will become very predictable.

Feed a high quality premium food.
High quality foods product much less stools.  You get what you pay for in dog food. High quality foods are priced higher because they have much better quality (and digestible) ingredients. Cheaper foods use poorer quality ingredients which are much less digestible and therefore produce more stools. House training will be much easier if you feed the best foods available. For best results when feeding these foods, they should be fed exclusively - not mixed with other foods to cut your cost.

When to take the puppy outside:

  • After each meal

  • Anytime he drinks water

  • When he wakes up in the morning or from a nap

  • When he plays hard, gets excited, or chews hard on his toys

  • When he gives you intention signals by circling or sniffing

Pick the puppy up and carry him outside if he is small. Do not rush at the puppy and frighten him. Do not yell or threaten him.  Simply get him outside as quickly and calmly as possible.  Young puppies in the 8-12 week range will need to go out every 1-2 hours. Pups in the 12-16 week range will need to go out every 2-3 hours.

If you have taken the puppy out and he does not relieve himself, when you bring him back in, put him back in his crate or keep him on a leash with you and take him back out in 20-30 minutes

Do not let him wander through the house unsupervised after an unproductive trip outside. Sometimes puppies are distracted and actually forget why they are outside or that they needed to relieve themselves.

At Bedtime:

  • No food for 2 hours before bedtime

  • No water for 1 hour before bedtime. Unless he has exercised a lot.

  • Take the puppy outside for a break last thing before bedtime.

  • Place the puppy in the crate. It is best to remove all collars and halters to avoid injury.

Crate Training:
Show no attention to the puppy once it is placed in the crate.

Any attention you show (even yelling at it) simply tells the puppy that if it whines or cries, you will show it more attention.

For the first few nights, you may want to place the crate in a different room where you can close the door so you do not hear the puppy crying or whining.  Once the puppy has learned to stay quiet, many people prefer to move the crate to the bedroom.  Later, after the puppy is thoroughly trained, many people will simply leave the door of the crate open and use this as the permanent bed for the puppy.

Most puppies will make it through the night without accidents if they are confined. But get them out immediately upon waking. The fact that the puppy can go 8 hours at night does not mean it can go 8 hours during the daytime. Don't become discouraged. Some puppies will continue to mess in the cage until it is 3-4 months of age. It still would be better for the mess to be in the cage rather than in other parts of the house.

Immediately take the puppy outside when it is allowed out of the cage.

Crate training depends upon the instinct of dogs to keep their beds clean. Dogs are "den" animals. Their own private place gives them a sense of security. Confinement is not cruel unless abused. A puppy does not want to mess in his bed and then have to sleep in it! The crate should not be so large that he can relieve himself in one end and then sleep in the other, or he will do so. If too large of a crate is used, a divider can be constructed to place in the crate to make it smaller until the puppy grows to the size requiring the entire crate.

Introduce the puppy to the crate as soon as it is brought home.
The cage should be left open so that the puppy can voluntarily enter the cage for food, water, toys, or shelter. By making all cage experiences pleasant, the puppy should feel secure and comfortable in its cage for the crate to remain a positive enjoyable retreat, the dog should never be placed in the cage for punishment. If social isolation or "time-out" techniques are used for punishment, an area such as a washroom, laundry room, or basement might work best.

Never go to a crying puppy, as this would only serve to encourage (reward) the crying.

Corrections for Housetraining Accidents:

Corrections must be made at the time the puppy is in the act of making the mistake!  If you feel the necessity to punish someone when you find a mess after the fact.

  • Punish the person who was supposed to be watching the puppy.

  • Clean up the mistake thoroughly using an odor neutralizer.

  • If the puppy urinates submissively (as he wiggles as he greets you or as he is being punished for a misbehavior) do not punish him because he cannot control that behavior.
    Most dogs will outgrow this as they mature.

Common Mistakes:

Giving the puppy too much unsupervised freedom while loose in the house.

Relying too much on punishment of bad behavior rather than teaching good behavior and trying to prevent bad behavior from happening. That means housebreaking scheduling to get the puppy outside at proper times is much more important than punishing the puppy after an accident happens.

Excessive reliance on punishment will not only impede house training but may also damage his emotional stability.

Remember your puppy is an infant. It is your job to teach it to want to be house trained. Training not only takes effort and attention, it also takes time and patience.  Puppies are just like "babies in diapers" It takes time for them to learn what to do and for their bodies to mature enough to react.

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