Tips for Puppy Training: Toilet, Crate, Whining, and Biting
Welcoming Your New Puppy
The day your new puppy arrives in your home is an exciting day for everyone. But your puppy may be frightened and confused. Everything is new and unfamiliar, and she’s probably missing her mommy and brothers and sisters. So handle her gently and quietly.
Make Her Feel At Home
- The key to puppy training is consistency, so at first, confine her to one (small) room or a corner of a room.
- Cover the floor in newspapers and only allow the children to visit her one at a time. Supervise the visits.
- Provide her with a bowl and bed, along with any toys.
- Give her some quite time alone.
- If she whines, don’t rush to comfort her. Wait a little and see if she settles.
- If not, then go in quietly and gently pet and comfort her. Perhaps you could just sit in the room with her, without interacting, until she settles. Don’t make it a constant habit or she will never learn to settle on her own.
How to Stop a Puppy From Whining
It's a good idea to begin training dog early.
- When it's bedtime, settle her in her bed, perhaps with her favorite toy and leave the room.
- She will most likely whine for a while, but don’t rush back in immediately. If she’s still whining after five or ten minutes, go back in and quietly comfort her. Settle her into bed again and leave.
- Training a puppy takes time and patience. You may need to do this two or three times, leaving her for a little longer each time.
- If after the third time she whines when you’re leaving, firmly say “no."
- Don’t shout, stamp your foot, clap your hands, or do anything to frighten her. When she stops whining, praise her.
- Again, you may need to repeat this several times and for several nights before your puppy gets the message. She will eventually understand and settle down.
House Training or Potty Training Your Puppy
My local animal shelter tells me that the number one reason dogs wind up with them is because of poor puppy training, and in particular, poor potty training.
There are two things you need when potty training: patience and consistency. Remember that your puppy doesn't have full bladder control yet, but you can help her develop good habits on day one.
Indoor Potty Training
- Cover the entire floor area in newspapers. She will tear them up while playing but just replace them.
- Puppies always eliminate within minutes of eating so use this to your advantage.
- As soon as she’s finished eating, bring her to the area where you want her to eliminate. This can be just one corner of her room.
- When she eliminates, praise her.
- She will go elsewhere at other times, in fact most of the time, but ignore that. She can’t control it and punishing her doesn't work.
- If you do catch her in the act, lift her and place her in the “proper” place. Then praise her.
Praise the Desired Behavoir
Puppy training is based on praising the desired behavior. Eventually she will begin to go in the designated area more frequently. When you catch her doing that, give her lots of praise. As she does this more and more, you will be able to remove the newspapers from the non-designated areas. But be prepared for accidents. If this happens more than once a day, then you've removed the papers too soon and should use them again for little while longer.
Remember, lots of patience is needed when training a puppy. She’s not being naughty or disobedient; she just can’t help it.
Outdoor Potty Training
Once she starts going in the designated area more often, she will probably have had all her shots. Now you can begin to teach her to go outside. This does not mean you have to start all over again.
- When she goes on the newspaper as usual, lift the paper with its contents and place it in the area of your yard or garden where you want her to go.
- Next time she goes to her usual potty place, take her outside and show her the newspaper. She will recognize her own scent.
- Praise her when she goes there.
- It won’t take long to train her to go in the new location. Soon she’ll be asking to go outside.
Again, please remember, your puppy will not have complete control of her bladder until she is at least six months old. Be prepared for accidents.
Crate Training Your Puppy
If your puppy is going to sleep in a crate at night, place plenty of newspapers in the crate under her blanket.
- Put her in the crate and leave the room.
- Apply the same puppy training rules regarding whining as above.
There is a school of thought that says puppies can be potty trained faster when crate trained. This is because they don’t like to soil their sleeping area. While this may be true up to a point, very young puppies don’t have control over their movements, so you may need to wait until they’re a little older for this method to be effective.
Once they are grown, train them as above with the following changes:
- Always take them to the designated area last thing at night and wait for them to go before putting them in the crate.
- Then, first thing in the morning, go quietly to the crate before they’re awake and take them to the designated area. You should do this early in the morning because puppies almost always need to go the moment they wake up.
- Don’t punish them if they've eliminated during the night.
- Just clean it out and put fresh newspapers down.
It's important to remember when training a puppies that when they eliminate in the wrong place it isn't because they're being naughty, any more than a baby who soils his diaper is being naughty. They just don’t have the control and punishing or shouting at them will not make a difference.
Children and Your Puppy
Enjoy your new puppy. Spend time with her, play with her, and pet her.
If you have children, you know they won't need encouragement to do this. Rather, you will need to supervise them.
- Children, particularly young children, don't always know their own strength and may hurt the puppy.
- The puppy hasn't yet learned rules or manners and may nip them.
- Again, do not shout, clap your hands, or stamp your feet.
- Just say "No!" very firmly. Then as soon as they stop the behavior, praise and pet them.
- Encourage the children to do the same.
- Never hit, kick, or punish a puppy. This will only make them frightened and/or aggressive.
- Reinforce the desired behavior with petting and praising, and your puppy will grow into a gentle and happy dog.