Potty Training – The Short Version

Being the breeder of Dachshunds for over 10 years, I can tell you that I’ve tried it all. The Dachshund can be one of the most stubborn breeds when it comes to potty training, so if you can train a Dachshund, you can train anything. Our dog Mitzi was our first and has quite a few accomplishments to be proud of. I dash-snow1won’t bore you with the details, but I just wanted you to know that the owners of the local dog school that we attended, had us bring Mitzi into classes where there are other Dachshunds – to give the owners hope. That being said, the main thing to remember is, you need to be more stubborn than the dog, and the leader of your pack. If you follow the few guidelines I’ll give you below and use the wonderful resource I’m going to provide you with, you will have a successful potty training experience.

I once read an article that said “it takes a human to make a dog soil its bed.”Successful house training depends mostly on you. By using prevention instead of punishment, perseverance, reasonable expectations, and a puppy’s natural instincts, house training can be done in a reasonably short time. If you watched a mother with a litter of pups, you would see that they learn by about three and a half to four weeks, that their bed is not the place to pee. They will leave their litter mates and go to the edge of their pen in order to eliminate.They will not soil their sleeping area unless forced to. Your job is to take advantage of this inbred instinct. You can teach your puppy to potty in the desired area – whether outdoors, on newspapers/potty pads, or in a kitty litter box.

Punishment for incorrect elimination is counterproductive and really has no effect. The whole key to successful housebreaking is confinement. If you’ve gotten your puppy from a reputable breeder, she will be used to confinement and will easily accept it in her new home. The best confinement is a kitchen or laundry room or even a crate. Most breeders introduce puppies to the crate at an early age, so you are merely reinforcing what has already been done. Being pack animals, dogs will instinctively look for small spaces for their den – the dog crate is this den. All of my dogs, love their crates and I usually have several about the house, with doors open, so they can go inside whenever they please.

I assure you; this is far from cruel and is much more preferable to allowing your puppy to roam freely about your house, chewing your belongings and peeing on everything. This sets the puppy up for constant “behavior modification” which will cause no end of frustration for you and emotional stress for the puppy. This is one of the main causes of dogs being ejected from the house, given up for adoption or worse yet, put down. Being euthanized or stuck in “solitary” in the back yard is much crueler than a nice comfortable crate or safe room in the house – and it doesn’t annoy your neighbors.

In our house the crate is king and is responsible for the potty training of our youngest dog, Dasher, at the age of 6 weeks. You read it right – 6 weeks. Now I had the distinct advantage of him being born in the house, but when you get your puppy at 8-10 weeks, you can do the same thing. Remember the golden rule; food or water in – food or water out. At 8 weeks, that equates to about a 2 hour time span at the most. So during waking hours, if you are present, take your puppy outside to the same spot every time, and give whatever command you wish to use. In our house, it’s go potty. Now don’t expect it to happen immediately, puppies like to check out the terrain a bit first. I know this may put a crimp in your life, but hey, you got the dog and you’re the responsible human. Deal with it or have a house that smells like a kennel.

At night your puppy may be able to go 4 hours or more before needing to eliminate. That’s actually pretty good when you consider newborns typically wake more often. I kept a potty pad just outside the door of Dasher’s crate.After all, who wants to run outside in your jammies and bare feet in the middle of January? When he complained, and trust me they will, I took him out and placed him on the pad. He usually peed right away, then it was back in the crate for another 4 hours. This teaches your puppy two things. One: You will always be there for them, instilling a bonding and trust that is essential to further training. Two: The tinkle pad is a good place to potty. This is vital if you are planning on being gone from the house for extended periods of time.You can’t even ask an adult dog to hold it for more than 8-10 hours (although I had a little guy that could go 12). They need to know that there is one place in the house that is acceptable and where they won’t get scolded. I always keep a pad in front of my back door, year around. Sometimes it gets used, mostly it doesn’t

These are just my experiences with very young puppies, but there are lots of other resources out there and I highly suggest you check them out. After all, what works for me may not fit your life style. So there are the main points. Now for the link I promised.  Check out Housebreaking Your Puppy: Dos and Don’ts.  Cesar is always a wonderful resource for puppy and dog training.  Please feel free to leave comments or questions and I will attempt to answer them as quickly as possible.


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