The first week with your new puppy is the most important week of its life! From the first minute it enters your home you need to begin house training. Those cute little quirks or habits it develops as a puppy may not be so cute in a year or so. Chew-toys and potty training are crucial to prevent any future accidents or destructive chewing or problematic behaviour.
Let your puppy get used to being alone, leave him or her in a safe space when you go out with toys, a comfortable bed and access to a secure ‘toilet’ or garden area with water. Although it may break your heart to begin with (as it may cry), this will prevent problems like separation anxiety or excessive barking in the future.
Putting your pet on a set feeding schedule and getting it into a routine will also prevent accidents. An hour after feeding your pup, it is usually time to go potty. Take your puppy outside and ensure that they walk around the garden until they go, thereafter it is recommended to make frequent trips outside to avoid any accidents and get your pup used to going outdoors.
Before a dog relieves itself, it often sniffs and walks around in circles – this is your cue to pick it up and take it outside or interrupt the behaviour. Once your pet does ‘go’ in the garden – praise it and make a big fuss. Dogs love pleasing you so the bigger the fuss, the more likely they are to do it again, however if it does mess indoors do not scold it. Ignore the behaviour and clean it up quickly, Milton’s sterilisation liquid or white vinegar is brilliant for eliminating the scent and does not damage carpets or material.
When you are home and cannot pay full attention to your puppy or at night, confine them to a smaller safe area. Provide the puppy with its bed, toys and lay down newspaper or potty training pads. Confining them to a smaller area will be easier for you to train them and manage any mess or accidents that may happen.
If you choose to let your puppy sleep with you or in your bed, be prepared to wake up when he or she needs to go, take it outside just before bed time. Dogs do not usually do their business where they sleep however accidents can happen. Remember, sleeping with a puppy may be exciting when it is still cute and small, but this is a behaviour you are teaching it for life.
Routine, patience and persistence is key! Good-luck!