Puppies are not out to destroy your house with pee!
The art of Housebreaking in 3 easy steps.
I'm kidding. Unfortunately puppy training isn't one sits fit all, and something that might work one week may not work the other. I will try to narrow down the best possible advice that can help several puppy parents. Since potty training typically isn't a "puppy training" issue and more human routine and consistency, I will gladly give this advice to everyone and focus on the behavior aspect of training for my work when we meet for our training sessions.
Have this be your mantra. Puppies know how to go to the bathroom, what they don't know is that we want them to hold it and not go in our houses or cars or on our laptops, shoes. You know, the works!
Puppies will have accidents. It is part of growing up. They don't know that they are having accidents, all they know is they have to go. For most puppies by the time they realize they have to go, they have already gone. They don't quite get the motorskills and understanding of what they are feeling until about 4 months of age. So for us it is all about management, prevention, and encouraging the right potty places.
The rule of paw is take your dog outside according to age. 1 month=every hour, 2 months=2 hours, 8 months =8 hours. 8+ months= 8 hours and no more than 12 hours between potty breaks. Now, that all changes if your dog is teeny tiny or the size of a pony. This also varies by genetics and kidney function and how much your dog has been drinking. You can religiously take your dog out every hour and they still will seem to come inside an pee. So what do you do?
Crates are not inhumane and they are not punishment. Do you have a bedroom? Let your dog have one too. Dog's typically do not mess where they sleep. Because who would want to sleep in their pee or poop? A crate provides a safe area for your dog to be when they can't be supervised and is an invaluable tool to teaching a pup to hold their bladder. Plus, if you ever board your dog, have them go on roadtrips, fly them, or they go to the vet they will need to be in a crate or kennel. This is a great way to teach them to be calm and not hysterical in one. Find a crate with an adjustable barrier so the crate can grow with your dog. The size of the crate should be big enough for when the dog is full grown. When you size the barrier make the crate just big enough to allow your dog to lay down, sit, and turn around. Any extra will give a spot for your dog to pee and move away from it. Skip towels and blankets because pups are smart, they know they can pee on them and push them aside. Always make going in the crate and being in the crate enjoyable. Dogs will go if they can't hold it so make sure to take them out accordingly.
Wake up, take your dog to potty.
Feed and water puppers.
Take out to potty.
Let play for a few minutes according to age and destruction level( if they can't go 2 minutes without tearing up the couch only play for 1:59) and take out to potty.
Crate for rest time.
Lather, rinse, repeat! up to 3x daily.
I wish it were easier and that easy at the same time.
If you take your dog out and they do not potty, put them back in their crate for a few minutes and then go outside again.
Try to take them directly to their potty area and don't play around outside until they potty.
FEED THEM A TREAT OUTSIDE, RIGHT AFTER THEY PEE AND/OR POOP. Preferably 3 treats each time they go out. And only outside, if you wait until they are in it is too late to reward the potty but high five for rewarding coming home!
Why? What if I told you the Country Fair in town was paying everyone $100 each time you used their restroom. I bet you you'd hold it and go there a few times a day, am I right? Of course I'm right. Dogs do not know that peeing outside is our preferred place, giving them a value to it will make them work to get out there to go. That's where we have to make sure we give them the opportunity to get out there and make it easier to go outside than inside.
Stop right there and erase from your memory bank any ill advice given by families, friends, person who has had that breed of dogs, etc. Yelling, slapping, hurting your dog, putting their nose in it, squirting them with water, rolling them over is all poop advice. The only thing you manage to teach your dog is scaring them to go potty in front of you. Guess that what will do in the long run? They'll be afraid to go outside in front of you too. You'll end up with a dog that becomes afraid of going to the bathroom and they work themselves up to an accident just thinking about going potty. Not a good cycle and that stops now if you want your dog to grow up well rounded and on a good outside schedule. If your puppy is having potty problems inside, increase outside trips, reward outside potty more and rule out medical issues. UTIs are a dime a dozen and if your dog all of a sudden is having accidents, a trip to the vet may be in order. If it is just puppy problems though scoop your puppy up when they are going and put them outside. No yelling, no screaming, no punishing. Then reevaluate how this could have been prevented, because, and I have to say it, it was probably our fault the puppy had an accident.
As pups get older we can increase time for play after potty outside, increase time between breaks outside, and eventually live a normal happy life free of pee puddles making your socks cold and wet when you walk through them.
If your adult dog is having accidents and medical issues have been ruled out, shoot me an email and we can discuss possible causes of this behavior. Good luck and happy Housebreaking :)