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Potty Training 101

 

Paper Trained

by 

Scott Sandeman, D.V.M.



Q.)  It took almost 6 months to house train our Labrador Macy 5 years ago.   We thought we did everything right except the kids weren’t as much help as we hoped and my wife was working full time then.  We are considering bell training- will that help our new beagle to learn faster?

A.) “Bell training"  or teaching your puppy to touch or ring a bell by the door you want to go out can be a great trick for your new friend to learn.  It can alert you that an outside potty break is needed without barking or sitting silently by the door-a signal that can be easily missed.  It does not necessarily mean your puppy is going to learn that they need to do their duty outside any faster however.
    All puppies learn at a different pace but the instructions and training are the same regardless. Here are some suggestions to get this valuable lesson learned ASAP:

-Never take your eyes off your puppy! If supervision isn't possible, move your puppy to a kennel or crate. For confinement longer than a few hours, a place for elimination should be provided.  A rule of thumb for the length of time your puppy can be left alone is one hour plus one for every month of age, i.e. a 12 week old should be able to last 4 hours without going.
- Set a schedule for elimination and feed only at mealtimes.  Some puppies may have to urinate 3 or 4 times an hour if they are active.  Always take outside immediately after napping and within 30 minutes of mealtime.
-Don’t make your puppy anxious if an "accident" occurs-loud scoldings only add to their anxiety and can make things worse. Do give a favored treat for appropriately going outside to potty.
    Some puppies are just slower to learn or in some cases, training may be slowed by disease.  In particular, intestinal parasites and diarrhea can make training difficult.  Always have your puppy or kitten examined by your veterinarian in the first or second day in their new home to make sure it is healthy and free of parasites.  This should always be the first step to successful housetraining!

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