Potty Training My Puppy

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Dogs are highly social animals who make wonderful pets. They can be effective as watchdogs, are excellent companions for play and exercise, and are sources of affection and comfort. However, with the lifestyle and schedule of the majority of families, dogs must learn to spend a portion of the day at home, while their human family is away for school, work, shopping, or recreational activities. During the times you are unavailable to supervise, the pet may still feel the need to chew, play, explore, eat, or eliminate waste.

Preventing such inappropriate behaviors when you are absent involves both scheduling and preventive techniques. Proper scheduling requires ensuring the pet has had the opportunity to play, eat, and eliminate before you leave it in a confinement area or crate. Prevention involves keeping the pet in a confined area where it is secure, safe, and can do no damage to itself or your possessions.

Depending on the structure of your home, it may be possible to dog-proof the house by closing a few doors or putting up some child gates or barricades. The dog can then be allowed access to the remaining areas of the house. If this dog-proofing is not possible when you must leave, confine the dog to a single room, pen, or crate. This smaller confinement area provides a safe environment for the dog and helps protect the home from damage; it also provides a means of teaching the dog what it is supposed to chew and where it is supposed to eliminate.

Crate training uses a dog’s natural instincts as a den animal. A wild dog’s den is his home—a place to sleep, hide from danger, and raise a family. The crate becomes your puppy’s den, an ideal spot to snooze or take refuge during a thunderstorm.

A pet crate can offer important benefits when training your puppy:

  • The primary use for a crate is house training. Dogs don’t like to soil their dens.
  • The crate can limit access to the rest of the house while your puppy learns other rules, like not to chew on furniture.
  • Crates are a safe way to transport your dog in the car.