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Housebreaking Tips

I recommend confining your puppy to a defined space, whether that means in a crate or smaller room. When they learn that he/she needs to go outside to do their business, you can gradually give them more freedom to other parts of the house.

You need to follow these steps:

  • Keep the puppy on a regular feeding schedule and take away his food between meals. (This is to get him on a potty schedule) However balance this out by making sure he/she gets enough to eat. Puppies are easily distracted and can walk away before he/she is finished. You don’t want your puppy hungry because it can cause food aggression later. When feeding him on a schedule leave the food down for 30 minutes, if he doesn’t eat all of it right away to ensure he/she has fully eaten what he needs

  • Take puppy out to potty first thing in the morning and then once every 30 minutes to an hour. Also, always take him outside after meals or when he wakes from a nap. Make sure he goes out last thing at night and before he’s left alone. Once you have established a schedule you can move those times farther apart slowly. If an accident occurs shorten the time back to the time they didn’t have an issue. Keep it there until you feel he/she is ready to stretch the time again.

  • Have a key word “Outside”, “Piddle” or even “bathroom”. You can use different phases “Lets go piddle.” Or “Need to Piddle?” Just make sure that the one key word is in all your phrases. This word will resonate and make it clear what it is you expect from him. Over a period of time, you will start to get a response to the word, with barking and tail wagging common signs of comprehension.

  • Take puppy to the same spot each time to do his business. His scent will prompt him to go. This is why I recommend using a leash for awhile, so you can keep them on track and can lead them to the right spots.

  • Stay outside with them, at least until house trained.

  • When your puppy potties outside, praise him/her or give him a treat. A walk around the neighborhood is a nice reward.

  • Once they have the comprehension of going outside, you can teach them words, for the act. Your puppy will pick these up very quickly, and will soon become aware of what you want him to do, and when you want it to happen. You could use something like “go potty” for urination, or perhaps “go poop” when it’s a number two. It doesn’t really matter which words you use, as long as you keep them consistent and only use them for elimination. There will be a lot of repetition, but it does pay off.

A crate can be a great idea for house training your puppy, at least in the short term. It will allow you to watch them for signs they needs to go and teach them to hold it until you open the crate and let them outside.

Guidelines for crate use:

  • Make sure it is large enough for your puppy to stand, turn around, and lie down, but not big enough for them to potty on one side and sleep on another. A small Shih Tzu puppy does not need a large crate made for a lab. It is not cruel to keep them for short periods of time or over-night in one. The smaller size also gives them a safe place. Remember their world for most of their young lives were confined to their mother’s body. They know small areas are safe. A larger place is fun and new but very scary to a puppy.

  • If you use a crate for more than two hours make sure you have fresh water, preferably in a dispenser that can be attach to the crate.