Four Frequent Puppy Toilet Training Mistakes Owners Make
Puppy toilet training can be a difficult task if not done correctly. Many myths from old-fashioned methods still circulate, making it difficult for owners to decipher the correct way to potty train their puppy. Here are the most common mistakes and methods to correct them.
Mistake One: Rubbing His Nose in It
Dogs have a memory of about 1.3 seconds. To correctly reward or punish for a behavior and have your dog associate that reward/punishment with the behavior, it has to happen in 1.3 seconds. Thus, if you rub your dog’s nose in the mess hours later, he has no idea what you are doing. It doesn’t help and just serves to make him a little more frightened of you, which will hamper your relationship. If he makes a mistake in the house, he had too much house freedom, which is your fault, not his.
Mistake Two: Too Much House Freedom
Just as you wouldn’t give your 12-year-old the house for the weekend, you shouldn’t give your puppy free reign without supervision. For potty training to be successful, your dog has to know where it is okay to go. How can they know that if you aren’t there to show them? If you can’t supervise your puppy, he needs to be in a crate or in a small, fenced off area with enough room for a bed, a water dish and a pee pad. This may sound cruel, but it is just like keeping your baby in a crib. Your puppy can explore when you are keeping an eye on him. When you see him start to sniff or you know it may be that time, you lead him to the door and take him out. Praise him for relieving himself outside. This way, you are setting him up for success, not failure.
Mistake Three: Getting Angry
Do not yell at your puppy if you catch him going in the house. Don’t punish. He didn’t know he wasn’t supposed to go there. Instead, clap, make a distraction and run him to the door. If you punish, it may make him afraid to go to the bathroom in front of you. Then, he will get better at hiding in your house or be afraid to go in front of you outside when you want him to go.
Mistake Four: Ending Training Too Early
The biggest mistake people make when potty training is thinking they are done when they aren’t. A few days of success does not mean your puppy is ready for complete house freedom. The training should continue until the puppy is 4 to 5 months old or older. If there is one accident in the house, you moved too quickly. Go back to square one. Your dog is not relieving himself in the house to “teach you a lesson” or because “he was angry at me for being gone too long.” Dogs don’t seek revenge. He just didn’t know better.
Potty training isn’t easy. It requires a great deal of patience and consistency. But by avoiding these common pit falls, you are well on your way to success.