I knew next to nothing about how to house train a puppy right before I picked up my first puppy, Linus over 7 years ago. However, shortly before finding Linus I made sure to read the Puppies For Dummies book which gave me the basics of how to train a puppy. I learned a ton of puppy training basics in that book including teaching your puppy to eliminate on command. Until reading that book I had never even heard of teaching your puppy to potty on command and thought that would be an amazing trick to teach Linus not too mention extremely useful.
Fast forward a few years to the time when I started raising guide dog puppies for Guide Dogs of America (GDA). Again, I read about how to teach your puppy to eliminate on command in the GDA Puppy Manual and again in our Puppy Pickup packet. When training guide dog puppies it’s very important for your pups to learn to potty on command because they are out in public quite often and cannot just potty anywhere they please.
Siberian Husky, Alchemy Learning About Potty Training
The good news for me is that I’m glad I learned these techniques early as all my dogs now now how to eliminate/potty on command. When you have a puppy in training it’s very useful to tell them to “get busy” (the command for going potty) before entering a public building like a shopping mall or grocery store. This way you know their bladder has been emptied and the likelihood of an accident inside is very low. It’s much similar to asking your child if they have to go to the bathroom before going on a long car ride. My last guide dog pup, Dublin would always try to potty when I asked him to “get busy” even when he didn’t have to go (usually he’d squeeze a few drops out)
How To Train A Puppy To Potty On Command
Here’s what my Puppy Pickup packet says about teaching your puppy to eliminate on command:
You can teach your puppy to eliminate on command by repeating a unique command each time he is in the act of eliminating. Simply repeat “get busy” in an upbeat tone of voice while relieving him. Be sure not to overly excite or play with your dog during his relieving time as this may distract him from the task at hand. After a few weeks of training, your dog will understand that this word or phrase means to get to business.
Also, please be sure to remove your puppy’s GDA bib or jacket before allowing him to relieve himself. When the bib or jacket is on we want the dogs to think of this as “working” and to be under control in public. Later in training the dogs will be expected not to relieve in harness either.
By the way, the second part does not pertain to regular dogs, but is only for our guide dog puppies. I just thought it might be interesting to show a little insight into some of the little details of raising and training a guide dog puppy just in case you noticed us removing puppy jackets when our pups are relieving.
The Puppies For Dummies book says almost the exact same thing: “…’Get Busy!” after a month of saying this phrase while he’s in the process of pottying, your puppy should be able to go on cue…”
So that’s all there is to it! I’ve always used the command “get busy”, but you can use any command you’d like as long as you’re consistent in using the same command when it’s time for your puppy to potty.
Teaching your puppy the “get busy” command is just one small part on how to house train a puppy, but if you’ve been reading this blog then you probably already came across many other puppy house training articles. There’s also a list of related articles at the bottom of this post to help with your puppy’s potty training and I’ve also put together a resource page on how to potty train a puppy if you need additional information.
Do you have any favorite puppy training tips on how to house train a puppy? If so tell us about it in the comment section below.
In theory crate training puppies sounds simple. A quick note: I often use the term crate and kennel interchangeably throughout this article.
Crate Training Theory: Your puppy does not want to poop or pee in the place he sleeps…put him in his crate (make sure it’s not too big or he’ll pee/poop on one side and sleep on the other) and he won’t poop or pee (unless he really has to). I wrote this article on How To Crate Train Your Puppy In 5 Easy Steps. Of course it’s not always easy to crate train your puppy.
Not long ago I received an email asking me for hints on how to get a new puppy from crying, howling, barking in his kennel during the night. I’ve actually received many emails asking me for similar advice.
Today, I compiled a list of all the tricks and hints I’ve tried with my puppies or heard have worked with other puppies. If you’re a regular reader on my blog then you’ll know that two out of my last three puppies did not enjoy the kennel and barked, howled, and cried throughout the night during their early days. If this is your first night at home with your puppy you also might want to take a look at this article: how to handle your puppies first night at home.
Crate Training Puppies – 14 Useful Tips
Every puppy is different. Some have no problems with their kennel while others (as you know) have a difficult time adjusting to the kennel. To answer your questions: yes, you do need to just leave him in the kennel and yes, expect to be woken up 3-4 times a night during the first week or two. Try to do your best to stick with your puppy and be consistent with his training. Every time you take him out of the kennel and reward him for whining by letting him sleep on the bed he’s learning that whining will get him what he wants.
Puppies are difficult to raise. It definitely takes a commitment. It can take a couple days for him to get used to the crate all the way up to a couple months.
Here are some suggestions you can try that might help you:
- If he’s crying you should try taking him out to see if he has to go potty. After you take him out bring him straight back to the crate.
- Cut off his water and food at least an hour and half before bed time. That way he won’t wake up as many times in the middle of the night.
- Try playing with him a lot before bedtime to tire him out.
- If it’s a wire crate try enclosing it by putting a sheet over it.
- If the crate’s not near your bed try putting it near your bed where he can see you.
- Try sleeping on the floor next to the crate.
- Feed him all his meals in his crate.
- Put some snuggly toys in the crate to keep him company.
- During the day when he takes a nap move him to the crate. You can try this with the door open or closed.
- Try leaving the door open but lying down across the doorway of the crate as if to nap with him, to make him feel more comfortable in the crate, and at the same time make my body block the doorway.
- If he’s in the crate and he’s not crying give him lots of praise.
- Try the heart beat toy. I’ve heard of a toy that simulates the mom’s heartbeat that helps the puppy sleep. Try this toy: Petstages Heartbeat Pillow
- Try the heated toy. I’ve also heard of a toy that has a thing on the inside that you can warm on the inside and insert in the toy. Makes the puppy feel like he’s with one of his litter mates. Try this toy: Pet Stages Warming Soother
- The one that worked for me and Stetson – I was a wreck and I thought Stetson would never get used to his crate. The only way I was able to get him to sleep was to talk to him for 5-10 minutes, telling him what a “good boy” he was when he wasn’t crying (if he did cry I would just keep silent tell he stopped). To try and quiet him down I’d either say “quiet” or “Shhh”.
By the way, if you leave anything in the crate with your puppy make sure he doesn’t start eating or chewing on anything that may be harmful to him.
Try to be consistent with your puppy. Try not to take him out of the crate unless he stops whining even if just for an instant.
One last tip: If you’re lucky enough to pick your puppy out of a litter be sure and bring a plush toy with you and rub it all over his litter mates. Then when you get home and it’s time for bed put the toy in the crate with your puppy. The scent of the litter will make him feel more at home and give him the feeling that he’s sleeping with one of his litter mates.
Best of luck with your puppy. Let me know if any of the above suggestions work for you.
What do you do when crate training puppies?