Donna Green, pet behaviour expert: how to house train a puppy

  Posted: 18.09.21 at 08:30 by Philippa Davies

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Donna Green is an East Devon based, professionally qualified pet behaviour expert. She offers dog training and animal behaviour advice to help owners understand their pets better and tackle behavioural problems.

In her latest column, she gives some great advice on how to house train a new puppy.

Getting a new puppy is exciting and fun. One of the first areas you need to start on is house training. I am lucky enough to have a new puppy and am working on this with her. It is also a common area that I am asked for advice about.

It is important to stay positive and be alert. Your puppy will need to go to the toilet on initial waking, this goes for naps and well as after overnight, after meals and also frequently throughout the day, so you must make sure that they have this opportunity.

When they toilet outside, give them lots of praise, make sure you reinforce the use of their name, so they respond to your voice, and also get used to their name. It may become easier when they are starting to go out for walks, again, keep one eye on them and remember to praise them if they go to the toilet. If it is faeces, please do not forget to clear up after them and dispose of appropriately.

What if they toilet in the house?

If they have an accident in the house, they are not being malicious, they have just not learnt the routine. Make sure you do not shout at them or use any negative behaviour as this will scare them. This includes the cruel outdated method of when they toilet in the house, rub their noses in it. When animals are scared, it is the same as us, they are unable to learn. If they regularly get scorned, they are likely to become scared of toileting in front of you and may even hide to complete this behaviour. This happened to a previous client of mine and the puppy used to hide behind the sofa to toilet.

Train your puppy to 'ask' to go outside

To protect your flooring, you may use incontinence pads or newspaper but do not praise them for using this as it will be harder for them to learn to ask to go outside You may wish to attach a hanging bell to your door handle, so they get used to knocking this to alert you to their need to go outside.

If they do have an accident in the house, clear it up with a solution of biological washing liquid, after checking that it will not damage the area first. By using this formulation, you are breaking down the enzymes left behind and they will be less likely to use this area again.

Common pitfalls include:
• During the summer and periods of nice weather, leaving a door open. It is easy to assume that the puppy is house trained but if you do not reinforce the behaviour once the weather turns, you will likely see accidents happening in the house
• Forgetting to praise when they go to the toilet where you want them to
• Not getting the puppy into a routine of toileting

Finally, enjoy your puppy, they are fun but just need some coaxing to fit into our routines.

Disclaimer: if your pet is experiencing problems contact a qualified behaviour counsellor so they can design a programme suitable for you and your pet and work closely with you.

For more information, visit Donna’s website.
You can contact Donna on 07523 202913, or by emailing [email protected]


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