Toilet training your puppy
Toilet training your dog is one of the most important behaviours to teach your dog to live harmoniously and hygienically in your home.
Do you feel like your dog is not grasping the concept of toileting outside? Do they toilet throughout the home? Do they spend time outside but save toileting for inside the home?
Read on to learn how to encourage your dog’s healthy and hygienic toileting habits.
- Crate or not to crate?
When it comes to toilet training, using a crate to help your dog succeed is a popular method. The crate is an area your dog sleeps and eats in, so typically this is a place they like kept clean. If you can’t watch your dog for a moment, place them inside their crate, as they are very unlikely to have a toilet accident inside their sleeping and eating environment. However, if they were left unattended with free reign of the home they could wander off and have an accident anywhere inside the house. Try to ensure that every opportunity your pup has to toilet is outside.
If you have to pop out and leave your dog unattended, then they can be left in their crate for short periods. Don’t leave them for too long as they are still learning bladder control. If you’re not using a crate, you can use a bathroom or laundry and a puppy pen.
It’s important your dog is not grazing on their food throughout the day, as it makes it difficult to know when they are due for the toilet. Set meal-times makes it much easier for you to monitor their toilet activity and start to predict when your dog will need the toilet.
- Verbal Cues
Regularly take your dog outside on a lead to the area you would prefer them to toilet. Once outside, let them sniff around, do not interact with them. As soon as your dog squats, you can add a verbal cue such as ‘toilet’, so they learn to pair the action with the word. Once they have finished, offer lots of praise and make a big deal of what they have done.
If your dog has an accident inside, don’t punish them or this will cause them to become fearful, and they will hide from you when toileting because they will feel unsafe.
Instead, just clean the area and establish how the puppy had the opportunity to toilet inside.
- Medical Issue
Some toileting issues can be related to a medical issue, especially in older dogs. In cases such as these it is advised to have your dog checked by a vet. In some cases toileting issues can be anxiety-related and once again a vet checked is recommended, and in some cases, the attention of an animal behaviourist will be required.
If you are struggling to toilet train your dog and you’re not sure how to resolve the issues, seek the help and advice of a qualified trainer.
Kelly McFarlane is a Behavioural Consultant with over 20 years of hands-on experience communicating with, training and socialising family dogs. Kelly can work with you and your family to create a personalised plan for you and your dog to address the underlying reasons for your dog’s toilet issues.
Kelly offers both in-home and puppy school classes so she can help families throughout New Zealand.