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Housebreaking 101

I met a sweet pup this morning. She is an adorable girl but her parents are having some difficulty with her house breaking. Yes, I said her parents are having difficulty with housebreaking. They are first time pet owners. I was jealous, remembering what it was like when I got my first dog. It was so much fun picking out a new bed, toys and collar. Now my dogs just get what was left from those that came before them. As first time dog owners, they had some unrealistic expectations of their pup; such as expecting her to go through the night without a potty break. Many a Winter night, I’ve spent out in the dark and cold trying to convince a puppy to go potty. They think it is great fun to have mom all to themselves! And to be out of their crate! Woo hoo! It reminded me that while simple, potty training is not always easy. A few simple pointers can go a long way. The first step is to establish a routine for your pup. Make sure she eats the same times every day, the same food every day. Take her out 30 minutes after a meal and every couple of hours. Just by the odds of it, she is going to potty outside and you can give her all the praise in the world. This is the best possible thing she can do for you at this point in her life! Keep her in a crate at night and during the day when she can’t be closely supervised. To calculate what is reasonable to expect from a pup, take the number of months of your pup’s age, i.e. 3 months old and add one to it, 3+1=4. That is the number of hours you can expect your pup to be able to go without a bathroom break before making a mess. Also, don’t give her the run of the house! Less space is better for a puppy. She needs to be within eyesight for the first few weeks, or even a couple of months. If she can go potty out of sight, she has too much freedom. Also, be sure to take her out to potty after every play session and every nap. While not exhaustive by any means, these few pointers can start you on the right track.

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