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Potty Training, Housebreaking and Disciplining Your Puppy
You should start training and disciplining your puppy right from the start. A couple of things that puppies do by nature are bite, chew, pee, poop, sleep and eat. One thing you do NOT want to do is break your puppy's trust when training them where to do these things. The first person he/she sees many times is the person they bond with. Puppies love, accept and trust you to take good care of them. When puppy does something wrong, if you yell, scream, flail your arms in the air or throw things at them as you call their name, you are actually defeating your goal. Puppy is now starting to fear coming to you. You need to use a low tone firm assertive, "No!" and lots of happy sound praises to differentiate between the things you want him/her to do and not to do.
When you get your new baby, we will have already been working on the potty thing with pee pee pads. Some litters will have been litter box trained, others might go in and out of the doggie door or go outside when it is good weather. I always ask about every 2-3 hours, "Who needs to go pee-pee?" then we all go out to the backyard. When each person goes, they get a happy sound or a clap with a "Good girl or boy." Once returning inside, if they did their business, they get a small treat that rewards their behavior. While they are young, it might be necessary to take the treats out in your pocket for immediate reward so they can associate the act of their business and the treat. Consistency and repetition makes the biggest difference. Figure out what you expect of your puppy and stick with it. You can start to form a routine by taking puppy out as soon as he wakes up, before and after meals, after a round of play and at least once during the night if they are young. Some puppies will be able to sleep through the night, others will need to go half way through the night. Try to always take him/her to the same spot and use the same cue phrase or word.
While inside, if you see your puppy looking distracted, walking in circles, sniffing the ground very quickly, darting back and forth quickly, then know, he is about ready to squat and go potty. Pick puppy up, take him to the potty zone and tell him to "go potty" or "go pee pee" Don't forget to reward and praise puppy when he/she does something you like. If puppy goes inside and you catch him/her in the act, tell him, "No, no" and then take him outside to the spot and use your key words. You may have heard or been advised to rub puppy's nose in the potty mess, but this is bad advise for a havanese. First of all, it is unsanitary, secondly, you have just broken your safety trust with your little one. If you don't catch puppy in the act, just clean it up and wait for the next opportunity to teach. Believe me, it will come.
Some methods I have used are the disposable diapers, pee-pee pads whether paper, or cloth, exercise pens, litter box and a cardboard box. All have been fairly successful. Your puppy will have already had some pee pee pad experience training. As for the diapers, it's just that. Place the diaper on the little puppy. When you are ready to go out, remove the diaper and use your key words in your favorite spot. Upon returning indoors, place the diaper back on the puppy. There are some diapers that have removable liners, others are completely disposable. Unfortunately, there are a couple drawbacks using them. First, it can confuse a young puppy and secondly, if left on puppy wet, it can cause a urinary tract infection or skin rash.
As for the cardboard box or exercise pen, get a box and cut the top and bottom out, leaving only the sides. Put puppy inside the box, lined with newspaper or a pee pee pad until puppy goes. If you are wanting to start bell training, ring the bell as you are placing the puppy in the enclosed potty area. Praise puppy and remove puppy from the box. When wanting to train puppy to go out side, do the same process, but pick up puppy and take him outside and place him in a little enclosed area in the grass. Just remember not to leave puppy alone. They will be rather small and a big bird could see them as prey (a good meal). There are mesh tops that can cover the expen for protection from big birds from swooping down to carry puppy away.
If puppy is having a hard time knowing what you would like for him to do outside, take an old used pee pee pad piece that has been peed on and place it in the enclosed area. It will not take long for puppy to learn what you want him to do in that spot. Being consistent and placing puppy in the enclosed area every time puppy awakens, after a nap, about 15 minutes after eating or drinking or whenever puppy is looking for a spot. Eventually, you will be able to remove the sides or walls of the enclosure and puppy will go to the pad/paper on his own. Later, you can keep moving the pad closer and closer to the door until the pad is outside and puppy understands no potty inside. This process will take some time, partly for the fact that their little bladder will be about the size of a pea. At first, they will need to go about every hour.
For those families that do not have a fenced in backyard, I recommend having some kind of temporary exercise pen set up to where you can take puppy out immediately in the mornings, set puppy in and stand waiting for a completed job. Remember when teaching puppy what outdoors is for, do not go outside and pick up a toy or start to play. Puppy needs to learn that when they go outside, it is time for their business to be done. I usually set my puppies down, look away, using a birds-eye side view to watch them as they are pottying, and then once I see they did their business, I praise puppy and THEN play outside. If they get the idea that they are suppose to play when they go out, this could be very frustrating. You could be there for hours trying to get puppy to potty and then just as soon as you bring them back in the house, they will have an accident. Consistency and repetition is key to your success.
Not every dog communicates to their owners in the same manner. Some may grunt, bark, twirl, stare deeply into your eyes, some paw at your leg, some bounce up and down like a ball.... part of successful potty training is helping establish a method for your dog to communicate with you, recognizing your dog's communication sign, and acting on it quickly and appropriately. If you are teaching your puppy to use a bell to communicate their need to potty, you will need to hang a sting of bells at the door where you expect puppy to go out to potty. Each time you take puppy out to potty, you will need to ring the bells. At some point, puppy will realize that the bell is rung right before potty time and start to ring it themselves. After a period of time with puppy ringing the bell to communicate, you can take up the pee pee pads, allowing puppy to communicate his/her need to go outside. When this happens, you have mission accomplished. Oh happy day. It is called house trained.
If you want to continue to allow puppy to potty indoors, there are some fancy litter box containers, or pad holders on the market. If you are wanting to switch to a litter box, eventually change the pads or paper to the pellets keeping the box in a consistent place. Remember, when accidents occur, and they will, never be harsh or hit puppy just say, "no, no," jingle the bell and take puppy to the potty zone. And always, always, always, praise puppy when he does it right.