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Potty Training Schedule
The Fine Art of House Training A Puppy

Puppies, like human babies, are cute for a reason. Nature gave them those round little bodies, wobbly legs, and curious eyes to make them completely appealing and lovable - even when they've just soiled the new carpet for the third time that day.

During a puppy's first months, he may seem to do little else besides relieve himself. He does it after he wakes up, after he eats, after he drinks, and after he plays, and possibly while you've started reading this. It doesn't matter if it's 4am - dogs can't tell time. Nor does it matter if the latest destination for your pup is the heirloom rug - they are lucky enough to not understand monetary value. To successfully train your puppy to do anything, especially the rules of house breaking, you need to understand how puppies think.

Dogs instinctively don't want to soil their own bed. To house train, you are expanding the idea of their bed to include your whole house. The frequency with which your puppy has to go WILL lessen as they age.

The first step:
Buy an appropriate size crate (just large enough for them to stand, turn around, and lie down - if you have a large breed you can buy the crate they will need as an adult if the spaces between any wire is not dangerous for their toes, and just use crate dividers to keep the space smaller until they need more), the idea being they will not want to soil the space they want to sleep in. You don't want them to be able to potty at one end and still nap at the other end. They should be crated at night and during the day when you are not right there to supervise. Many people don't realize that a crate mimics a "den" for a dog, and they can actually enjoy the sense of security that the enclosed, private space provides. But having said that, your puppy should not be confined all day! They need lots of supervised time with you and the family for exercise, learning and bonding. If you can not be home all day, you need someone to let them out at regular intervals. A young puppy will need to "go" every couple of hours. At 4 months he should have sufficient control to make it through the night and several hours at a time during the day.

You will need to establish a daily routine a soon as your puppy comes home with you. Every morning, open the crate where your puppy has been sleeping. He'll be excited to see you, but don't make a big fuss - instead, pick him up, put on leash and collar, and take him to his designated spot. Give him a verbal cue of "go potty" or "do your business" and wait. It may take them a little while to pick upon the whole routine, but consistency is very important! When he goes on cue, tell him "GOOD!". If it's been several minutes and he hasn't gone, pick him up, return to crate, and repeat everything again in 5 minutes. Follow this procedure after every drink, every meal, every play session, and several times in between. Keeping a schedule will help him understand what is expected, as well as help you learn to read his habits and know when he's really GOTTA GO.

Don't let them confuse going out to eliminate with play time or walk time. Take him to the same spot every time on a leash and collar. If he just wants to play, return to the crate as described before. If he goes, then you can set off on a walk. Your puppy's elimination spot should be convenient for you as well - bad weather or you not wanting to put on your shoes are not excuses for confusing your pup.

Even after months of training your puppy could still have an occasional accident. If you catch him, say "NO" quickly, pick him up and take him to where he's supposed to go. If you don't catch him in the act, all you can do is clean it up. Punishment after the fact is only going to scare and confuse him. Dogs live in the "here and now", not the "five minutes ago". Rubbing their nose in a mess or anything else you may have heard WILL NOT teach them to potty where you want.
If you need to clean an accident, cleaning the area is important. An enzyme cleaner such as "Nature's Miracle" or "Simple Solution" will break down the molecules that cause the odor. These products are found at pet stores. Usually the products at the grocery store are not designed to remove the odor - it's only covering it up to human noses. Avoid cleaners with ammonia - don't make the area smell like a good potty spot for your puppy.

You can continue to utilize the crate to keep your young dog safe. It is also helpful while your puppy is teething to keep your things safe!

Keep with it, and remember he's only a puppy. Eventually the routine will be so well established that your dog will go to the door or to you to be let out to "go". For now, enjoy puppy hood - it doesn't last long!


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Dreams Dogs offers positive dog training services to clients in the Coachella Valley from Palm Springs to Indio, including Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta and Desert Hot Springs. Victoria Stilwell of television's It's Me or the Dog has started the only global network of research-based positive dog trainers. Lori is the only dog trainer in the Palm Desert area endorsed by Victoria Stilwell's VSPDT.  Her education from Moorpark's Exotic Animal Training Program and over 19 years experience sets her apart from most other dog trainers.
But having said that, your puppy should not be confined all day! They need lots of supervised time with you and the family for exercise, learning and bonding. If you can not be home all day, you need someone to let them out at regular intervals. A young puppy will need to "go" every couple of hours. At 4 months he should have sufficient control to make it through the night and several hours at a time during the day.

You will need to establish a daily routine a soon as your puppy comes home with you. Every morning, open the crate where your puppy has been sleeping. He'll be excited to see you, but don't make a big fuss - instead, pick him up, put on leash and collar, and take him to his designated spot. Give him a verbal cue of "go potty" or "do your business" and wait. It may take them a little while to pick upon the whole routine, but consistency is very important! When he goes on cue, tell him "GOOD!". If it's been several minutes and he hasn't gone, pick him up, return to crate, and repeat everything again in 5 minutes. Follow this procedure after every drink, every meal, every play session, and several times in between. Keeping a schedule will help him understand what is expected, as well as help you learn to read his habits and know when he's really GOTTA GO.

Don't let them confuse going out to eliminate with play time or walk time. Take him to the same spot every time on a leash and collar. If he just wants to play, return to the crate as described before. If he goes, then you can set off on a walk. Your puppy's elimination spot should be convenient for you as well - bad weather or you not wanting to put on your shoes are not excuses for confusing your pup.

Even after months of training your puppy could still have an occasional accident. If you catch him, say "NO" quickly, pick him up and take him to where he's supposed to go. If you don't catch him in the act, all you can do is clean it up. Punishment after the fact is only going to scare and confuse him. Dogs live in the "here and now", not the "five minutes ago". Rubbing their nose in a mess or anything else you may have heard WILL NOT teach them to potty where you want.
If you need to clean an accident, cleaning the area is important. An enzyme cleaner such as "Nature's Miracle" or "Simple Solution" will break down the molecules that cause the odor. These products are found at pet stores. Usually the products at the grocery store are not designed to remove the odor - it's only covering it up to human noses. Avoid cleaners with ammonia - don't make the area smell like a good potty spot for your puppy.

You can continue to utilize the crate to keep your young dog safe. It is also helpful while your puppy is teething to keep your things safe!

Keep with it, and remember he's only a puppy. Eventually the routine will be so well established that your dog will go to the door or to you to be let out to "go". For now, enjoy puppy hood - it doesn't last long!

The first step:
Buy an appropriate size crate (just large enough for them to stand, turn around, and lie down - if you have a large breed you can buy the crate they will need as an adult if the spaces between any wire is not dangerous for their toes, and just use crate dividers to keep the space smaller until they need more), the idea being they will not want to soil the space they want to sleep in. You don't want them to be able to potty at one end and still nap at the other end. They should be crated at night and during the day when you are not right there to supervise. Many people don't realize that a crate mimics a "den" for a dog, and they can actually enjoy the sense of security that the enclosed, private space provides.
Hours of Operation:  Scheduled Classes and by Appointment Only
45090 Golf Center Drive, Unit B, Indio, CA
760-899-7272
Hours of Operation:  Scheduled Classes and by Appointment Only
45090 Golf Center Parkway, Unit B, Indio, CA
760-899-7272