- Set a schedule for your puppy when you begin housebreaking. Try to get up at the same time each morning, taking your puppy outside right away. Feed your puppy at the same times each day and take him outside immediately after eating.
- Watch your puppy for signs such as sniffing, circling and pacing – these usually mean it is time to go. If you see these signs, take him outside immediately. If you catch him in the middle of an accident, say “no” firmly and take him outside to finish, praising him if he does. Never punish him by hitting or pushing his nose in the mess! This will only teach him to fear you. If you find an accident in the house, but do not catch him in the act – do not punish him. He will not associate the punishment with the action and will only become confused.
- Pick a word for the action, such as “outside” or “do your business.” Use this phrase consistently so he will learn it as a command. Always bring your puppy to the same area outside while housebreaking. The odors in this area will encourage him to urinate and defecate here again. If he does his business, praise him.
- When you are away from home, your puppy should stay in a crate, or kennel. You may buy a larger crate for your puppy to grow into, but place a divider in it so that it is only large enough for your puppy to turn around and lie down. Instinctively, your puppy will not want to soil his own area. Be careful not to let your puppy stay in the cage for more than 4-6 hours, or he may have no choice but to relieve himself. If you are away from the house regularly, as many of us are for work, return home in the middle of each day to let your puppy outside. Arrange for someone else to let your puppy out if you will be unable to come home.
- If you choose not to crate your dog when you are away from the house, set him up in a room with a non-absorbent floor. Place training pads at one end of the room and his bed and toys at the other. Generally, dogs prefer to urinate on absorbent materials, but they tend to avoid doing so in their own beds. Ideally, he will gravitate towards the training pads. This method may take longer than the crate method.
Praise him when he behaves.
Keep a solid routine.
Never punish him physically when caught in an accident.
Do not correct him unless you catch him in the act.
Housebreaking may take several months, so don’t give up. Remember that your puppy wants to please you, he just needs to learn how. Be clear with him when you praise or correct his actions. Eventually, you will see results.