Dogs can get used to doing their physiological needs outside at any age, but puppies are easier and faster to train than adult dogs.
Puppies are cute enough to make you forget and not mind when they have “accidents”, but an adult dog, especially of a large breed, will do its needs in large quantities and this can become a problem to bear.
A study conducted with data from most animal shelters around the world concludes that nearly 20% of abandoned dogs are there because they have problems with doing their needs at home. In some cases, there are some unresolved health problems, but for most dogs, it is a training problem, simply.
It is a real tragedy that great animals with enormous potential for excellent company end up in shelters for this cause, or worse, they end up on the street or even lose their lives, not knowing when and where it is good to let these natural instincts go.
When it comes to puppies, it is quite unfair to be punished for this, because their bladder is not as strong to hold urine as an adult dog can, so in their case, it’s about accidents that often disappear with their growth. The bladder muscles become stronger and stronger.
Just like with us, people, when we work a certain muscle and it gets stronger, when you squeeze something in your fist, you feel your hand getting hard, from your fingers to your biceps, because you’ve been doing it for quite a while.
But babies can’t do that, they hold something very lightly in their hands and often drop it on the floor. Over time, however, their muscles also develop and they reach the point where they can hold something tight in their fist. The same happens with the urinary bladder of puppies.
The more they learn to abstain, the stronger the muscles become and soon they can hold the urine for up to a few hours without going out if they have been trained enough to do so.
It takes many trials and errors before most puppies refrain from doing their needs where they feel the urge, but a little patience is worth it.
Puppies need a break to go to the potty after each meal, nap, and playtime. Depending on age and breed, most dogs eat several times a day. Prevent accidents by anticipating when your puppy needs a potty break.
Your puppy has a small bladder and a limited ability to abstain. In general, a 2-month-old dog needs to go to the potty about once every 2 hours. At 3 months, he can abstain for about 4 hours.
With small variations depending on breeds, as large and huge breeds have a slightly higher capacity and small breeds less, generally here’s what to expect:
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Dogs rely on smell to remind them what to expect. Whether you have a litter box in which to put newspapers or absorbent pads, or you choose a space outside the house, take your dog to do his needs in the same place every time.
Keep the puppy on a leash until he finishes doing his needs, otherwise, he might forget what he wanted, go again to play, and pee on the carpet as soon as he returns home. Take away the leash for a small round of play, if the place allows you to, as a reward for success.
When you think it’s time for the puppy to do its needs, use a “keyword” to name the action. Make sure the whole family uses it consistently.
Once the dog has done the right thing, reward him with enthusiasm, with some delicious food that does not disturb his meal schedule, or with play and praise.
Puppies do not like to do their needs in their own space, so using a crate can be an effective tool to learn the lesson very quickly. A small room won’t work, because the dog can sleep in one corner and turn the other corner into a “potty space”.
If the puppy did not do its needs in about 15 minutes after eating, after sleeping, or after an intense game of play, put it in the crate and try again after 15 minutes.
However, if the puppy does his needs in his own enclosure, at least the dirt is limited to an area that is easy to clean. The dog will have to live with his own mistake for a short time. Next time he will be more determined to do his needs where he has to, and when he is given the opportunity.
Signs that the puppy needs to go outside to meet physiological needs involve: crying, spinning around in a circle, smelling at the door or on the floor, barking at the door, or even scratching the door, all these are signs manifested by the pup trying to tell you that it needs outside. Accidents can occur in puppies for up to one year. The reasons for these accidents can be inconsistent training or changing homes.
If he has already dropped a few drops of urine, lift it up to stop the process, and move it to the place intended for the puppy’s toilet. Also, tell him the keywords and reward him if he has managed to do it in the right place. The important thing is to continue and persevere until you succeed. If accidents are very common, it would be advisable to consult a veterinarian to rule out an eventual medical problem.
Clean the accidents with an enzymatic detergent and avoid ammonia-based detergents, as they will attract the pup to the same place.
The biggest mistake puppy owners can make is to start kicking or screaming at the pup if he has made his needs in an unwanted place. This will cause the dog to associate physiological needs with punishment, and as dogs always want to please people, negative association teaches the dog to sneak out and hide this.
As frustrating as it may be at some point, try not to get angry with your dog while he learns when and where to do his needs.
Timing is the key to understanding cause and effect. Your dog won’t understand why you’re angry if it happens for something he did five minutes ago. As long as you don’t surprise him in the full process, the verbal correction will not work.
People are more motivated to do something for a bonus than on the basis of a threat or punishment, and so are dogs. Once the dog has realized that when he makes his needs right, he will be rewarded, he will strive to avoid accidents and will want to please you.
To be successful in this mission, you must follow the following rules:
The puppy should be fed after a fixed schedule, and between meals, the bowl should be lifted.
As soon as it wakes up in the morning, take the pup outside, or to the place established for potty. It should also be taken out as soon as it has been fed or woke up from a nap. Be sure to take it out at night before bed and before being left alone at home.
Once he has done his needs outside in one place, take him to the same place every time, because the place marked by him will encourage him to repeat the action.
After he has made his needs outside, the walk must continue a little longer.
When he does his needs outside, he must be praised and rewarded, even a long walk can be a pleasant reward.