McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

March 1, 2014

PAWS: How to housetrain that puppy

By Joyce McNally
Special Correspondent

McALESTER — You’ve just gotten a new puppy and the most important adventure for the two of you will be housebreaking. It may take a few months, but with patience, consistency and praise, you and your pet will have a successful journey.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, here are some very good tips for you to think about before you start that journey.

It’s a good idea to remind yourself that accidents are going to happen. As your puppy grows and develops muscle tone, it will be better able to control itself. If you see your pal slip, pick it up and put it on a training pad or take it outside.

Give it lots of praise for a job well done when the business has been completed in the appropriate place.

If your pal has an accident in the house, don't rub its nose in it because this will just confuse the puppy.

One of the most effective ways to teach your pup where and when to eliminate is the confinement method. First get your pal set up in a training crate. This should be a special den with some toys and a bed or blanket for sleeping. It’s important that you take the puppy out frequently so it never eliminates in the crate.

If you are consistent, your pup will learn to associate its distaste for soiling in that special place with soiling in the house.

With our training, we always put the dogs out first thing in the morning, before and after we leave the house, and before bedding down at night. We make sure they go outside several times during the day. Keeping our dogs on this type of a schedule seemed to work with our lifestyle.

When you bring your dog to training pads or outside to eliminate, the ASPCA recommends including a collar and leash. The idea is to get the dog used to you being around when it eliminates.  If it doesn’t get used to your presence, the puppy may hold it until it can sneak somewhere in the house by itself.

It’s unfair to confine your dog for longer that it is able to control itself. As a general rule, puppies can control themselves for one hour for every month of age, up to nine or 10 hours.

If you confine your eight-week-old puppy, for example, you’ll need to take it out every two hours.

Keep in mind that dogs usually need to eliminate after waking, eating, and exercise.

Another method to housetraining is using training pads.

If your schedule doesn’t allow you to confine your dog every day, keep it in the bathroom or other small room when you’re not at home. Put training pads at one end and toys and bedding at the other. Some brands of training pads have an attractant to encourage your pet to eliminate on the pad. They are also made with a super absorbent polymer to prevent messes.

Dogs also tend to return to the scene of the accident, so be sure to immediately wash any areas that are soiled. An effective way to remove pet stains and odors is with an all-natural bacteria and enzyme product.

After your dog has been successfully housetrained, you may want to consider installing a pet door, if you have an escape-proof yard. A pet door also helps avoid accidents by allowing your companion to go outside on its own.

As you are learning about housebreaking, keep in mind that it will soon be time to have your pal spayed or neutered. This is a great way to be responsible and help prevent overpopulation at the same time.

Call PAWS at 918-423-7297 to see if you qualify for financial assistance for your pal.

Also remember a pet from the Pittsburg County Animal Shelter will be spayed or neutered and have current rabies shot and vaccinations before it can be adopted.

Joyce McNally is a PAWS volunteer and advocate for prevention of pet abuse and neglect. Comments or questions can be directed to her at