The best way to train your puppy or adult dog to not get the house dirty is through crate training. However, bearing in mind that you can’t keep an eye on your dog all the time, perhaps the best option is a combination of crate training and paper training.
It is important that you spend lots of quality time with your dog. This will help you to train it quicker, and by doing so you will avoid other problems such as separation anxiety, destructive behavior, barking and even aggression.
What is crate training for puppies?
Crate training consists on creating a safe space – like a den – in an enclosed place like a crate or a travel carrier. The crate should be placed in a place you use, so that it doesn’t feel lonely, and be made comfortable with a blanket.
Introduce the puppy to the crate and reward it with treats when it gets in; create as many positive associations – food, toys, warmth – with the place as possible. Once the puppy is comfortable, close the crate for very short periods of time so that it gets used to it. The aim is to train it to feel safe when enclosed. This way, the puppy will have a place to stay in when you’re gone.
However, you need to limit the use of the crate or travel carrier as much as possible. Remember that your dog should not be enclosed in the travel carrier for a long time (never more than three hours); when you have to leave your dog alone for extended periods, leave it in a puppy-proof room instead.
While the puppy-proof room is useful for confining them for long spells, you should only use it when you can’t look after the dog yourself. Try to spend as long as possible with your dog so that it doesn’t feel abandoned, and don’t forget to spend some time together in the puppy room.
Bear in mind that your dog will not want make a mess near its bed, food dish or water bowl – even less in the crate – so make sure that the area where it’s supposed to do its business isn’t near these items. It’s likely that your dog will need to go to the toilet after waking up, after eating, after playing and after drinking water. Make sure you take it to one of the “permitted areas” – the puppy room, garden, park – after it does any of these activities so that it starts linking them.
Don’t punish your dog when it does its business in a forbidden area. Punishment will only delay its training, because it will think that you’re punishing it for doing its business, and not for getting a particular place dirty. Thus, it will learn to make a mess in hidden places like behind a chair or under a bed.
When your dog makes a mess somewhere in your home, give it a thorough clean with a commercial product that eliminates the smell of urine. Make sure that the product does not contain ammonia, because ammonia breaks down in urea, which is contained in urine.
If your dog gets its crate dirty it is because you left it inside for too long, because your puppy has a health problems or because it is still too young to hold it in. In that case, clean it very well and get prepared to retrain it. This will take much more time, so try to avoid this problem.
What is paper training for puppies?
Here you can learn the basics of paper training for puppies; if you want more tips, keep reading!
If you use paper training, change the newspapers as often as possible, at least once per day. Of course, once you start reducing the papered area you can leave some newspapers from the previous day (those at the bottom) so that they retain the smell and encourage the puppy to do it in the same place.
Even if you predominantly use paper training, don’t overlook active or crate training. It’s the best thing you can do to speed up your puppy’s hygiene training. If you only use paper training, it’s possible that your dog learns to not go to the toilet outside of the house. In this case, you’ll have to re-train it so that it realizes it can do its business in other places than a newspaper-covered floor.
Consult your vet before taking your dog for a walk down the street. Even though walks are helpful in hygiene training, it’s not recommended for your dog to be exposed to diseases if it hasn’t been vaccinated.
Never hit your dog with a newspaper or rub its nose against the floor. Whilst these are very common methods, they only serve to scare and mistreat your dog. They don’t help to train any animal at all. Instead, use positive reinforcement and follow these tips for your puppy’s hygiene training.