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One of the most important lessons you will learn while housetraining your pet is that accidents will happen.  Be prepared for that and don’t get discouraged and give up too soon.

There are several different methods but one of the easiest ways to housetrain is with the use of a kennel or crate, especially if you are a working owner who has to leave their pet alone during the day.

The first thing you will need to do is to purchase a crate or kennel that is the appropriate size for your pet.  You want something that is going to allow your pet to rest comfortably, however, you don’t want it to be so large that your pet has room to use the bathroom at one end and then be able to stay at the other.  This is because crate training is based on the premise that puppies are unlikely to eliminate in or near an area used for rest.  

Once you have your kennel/crate you will need to introduce your pet to it gradually.  Set the crate up and leave the door open. More than likely your pet will want to explore what it is and go in there himself.  But if he does not, take your pets’ food bowl and sit it right in front of the open door of the crate.  Gradually move the bowl inside the crate until your puppy has to go all the way in to get it.  You might want to pick a short phrase like ‘kennel up’ that your pet will associate with going in the crate.  Eventually your pet will go right in when you use what phrase you have chosen.

You will need to set a routine for you and your pet to reinforce the training.  Starting out first thing in the morning you will need to take your pet out of the crate and straight outside to go to the bathroom.  When your pet is using the bathroom outside, PRAISE HIM constantly so he will begin to associate that using the bathroom outside is a good thing.  When you bring your pet back inside, you can feed him his breakfast and allow him some time to play. When your puppy is finished eating, remove his bowls.  This will hopefully start to encourage your puppy to eat within a reasonable amount of time and then play.  Your puppy will need to be taken back outside to use the bathroom again a little while after eating and after his bowls have been taken up.  When you bring him back in this second time, it should be time to kennel him while you go to work.  DO NOT put his food or water bowl in the crate with him, and don’t forget to repeat the phrase you have chosen to make him go in the crate.  (You may also want to choose a short phrase or a word to use when you take him outside to the bathroom.  This will eventually cause him to associate what you are saying with relieving himself.  This will help to make him go out and finish his business quickly instead of running around and playing first.  You will appreciate this when those cold winter mornings come around.)

Younger puppies do not need to be left in the crate all day without going out at least once during the day.  They are simply too young to be able to ‘hold it’ that long.  You will need to make arrangements in the beginning for you or someone to let him outside to use the bathroom during the middle of the day.  As your puppy gets a little older, he will be able to wait longer in between times.  

When you return home in the evenings, take your puppy outside first thing and don’t forget to use the word or phrase you have chosen. When he comes back in, you can feed and water him. When he is finished or after you have allowed enough time to eat, you can take up his bowls. About 15 or 20 minutes after he is finished eating, take him outside again. (Don’t forget to praise him every time he uses the bathroom outside!!)  Now he can have some time to play and interact with you and the rest of the family. Depending on what time you fed him dinner, you may want to allow him to have a little water during this playtime.  But remember to take it up at least an hour before you plan on putting him to bed.  When it is time to go to bed, take your puppy outside right before you are ready to put him in his crate for the night. (Because everyone’s schedule and puppy are different, the amounts of time between feedings and playing and going out may be different.  You may need to take your puppy out more than once or twice between feedings and kennel time.  Or depending on what time he ate dinner, he may need to go out more than once before going to bed, especially if you have allowed him to have his water bowl during playtime.  This will take some getting used to but eventually you will learn your puppy’s schedule and he will learn yours.)  When you bring him in this last time, put him in his kennel for bed.  Do not allow him to have any food or water after this last bathroom break.  (Always remember to use your phrases and praise him when he uses the bathroom outside and even when he goes in his kennel without a fight.)  Then you will get up the next morning and start the whole routine all over again.

Listed below are some simple basic rules to remember:

1.      Never lose your temper with your pet

2.      Do not reprimand your puppy for having an accident unless you have caught him in the actual act.  If you do catch your puppy having an accident in the house use a stern voice to correct him by saying ‘NO’. Then immediately take him outside to finish what he started. (Don’t forget to praise him when he finishes his business outside.)

3.      Praise, Praise, Praise your puppy when he uses the bathroom outside

4.      Don’t forget to consistently use the phrases or words you have chosen for kenneling and for going to the bathroom outside.

5.      Follow your routine you have started with your puppy.

6.      Be consistent with your rules and routine

7.      Be patient, accidents WILL happen

If you are having trouble housetraining your pet or have additional questions, you may contact us at the Animal Care Hospital, 731-285-6270.