House training your four-legged companion involves time and patience and each puppy or dog will progress at its own pace.
The key method to adopt here is one of positive reinforcement. Firstly, you need to show your pup the area where it should do its business, and each time the pup toilets in the designated area, immediately reward with a treat or verbal praise. In order to prevent mistakes from happening, it is important to both diligently supervise your dog while it is indoors and take it frequently outdoors. This will speed the learning process and prevent any accidents from occurring in the house.
Please be wary of reprimanding your puppy as it will only complicate your house-training efforts. Excessive reprimands may in fact lead your puppy to become secretive in its toileting. Puppies are also likely to need to toilet within half an hour of eating, drinking, sleeping and playing and every three to four hours during the day.
If your puppy happens to have an accident indoors, clean the area thoroughly with a non-ammonia based cleaning product - these can be found at your local veterinary clinic or pet supply store.
Some puppies may take longer than others to become successfully house-trained, however, most accidents usually occur when the owner forgets to regularly let the pup out to do its business!
As mentioned above, puppies respond well to positive-reinforcement based training. It is important to acknowledge that dogs cannot possibly know which behaviours are right and which are wrong - it will be up to you to teach them. Take the time to show your puppy what you want them to do and reward them with a treat, praise, or a game each time they do the right thing.
If your puppy is behaving inappropriately you should attempt to re-direct them to something else and reward them when they begin to engage in more appropriate behaviour. For example, if your puppy is chewing on the furniture, re-direct him to an appropriate alternative such as a chew toy. Alternately, you may find that ignoring the undesirable behaviour and rewarding the correct one can also be a very effective way to train your puppy.
Regular socialisation and training, from as early as eight weeks of age, is an important factor in raising a well-behaved and socially acceptable dog. New puppy owners will benefit from enrolling their pups in a Puppy Pre-school class as soon as they bring their four-legged friend home.
Puppies will be puppies, but undesirable behaviours such as barking and digging, can be reduced if you keep your puppy entertained. Regular play-times, walks, short training sessions, quiet ‘quality time’ and mentally stimulating toys can keep your dog busy and out of mischief.
You should be aware that some problem behaviours do not become apparent until your dog reaches adolescence and/or sexual maturity. Prevention is the key, and enrolling your dog in training classes and socialising your dog from an early age will go a long way to avoid problems in the future.