House Training Puppies

In this section on house training puppies, you’ll learn how to handle accidents in your house, and many other tips and techniques on housebreaking puppies.

©Photo Courtesy of Chad Crumby

As your Golden Retriever puppy settles into his new home, he naturally becomes more curious and wants to spend more time investigating his new world.

All of that is good, except it seems like he suddenly wants to learn everything when you have him outside, trying to teach him where to go to the bathroom! 

You may have just gotten him out of his crate first thing in the morning, and know that he needs to go potty.

Instead, he decides to chew on a stick or piece of grass.

In this case, use your command again of “Hurry up, go potty”, and give him a very slight, gentle tug on his leash. 

Sometimes this gentle tug is enough to get him to start moving again, and that is all he needs to remember that he does indeed have business to do.

If he is really engrossed and that doesn’t get him to move, simply start walking around, just a foot or two in each direction.  He’ll notice you moving and will want to see what’s so interesting, and will start moving again himself. 

©Photo Courtesy of Scott Beckner

Repeat your command to him and now that he is moving, that should do the trick.  It also helps to guide him to the exact spot that he has urinated in before.

Remember to praise him while he is in the act.

Unfortunately, during the process of house training puppies, there will be accidents.  This is a fact of life!

I personally only use newspaper, and no blankets, in my Golden’s cage while they are young.  Newspaper absorbs enough that if he has an accident, he won’t be soaked, but isn’t so absorbent that he can continue to sleep comfortably.

When your Golden Retriever gets a bit older and does not have accidents in his crate, then I allow blankets and toys. 

As for accidents in the house, here’s the rules to go by.
First, only allow your pup access to one room and no more.  He needs to earn a new room.  Do not allow him to “free roam” all over your house.

This applies to more than just housebreaking a puppy, it also applies to chewing or any other undesirable behaviors.  If your house permits it, keep your puppy in a room, such as a kitchen, that has a floor that can easily be mopped.

©Photo Courtesy of N. Roberts

When good progress in house training your puppy has been shown, then allow him access to another room, plus the one he has been in. 

He will need to learn that the new room has the same rules, and that he still needs to go outside to potty.

Make him earn each new room in your house.  I use baby gates to separate the rooms that haven’t been earned yet.  That way your pup can still see what’s going on in the house, and doesn’t feel isolated during his training process.

While house training a puppy, there are 2 types of accidents.  Witnessed and un-witnessed!

If your pup has an accident and you do not actually see it happen, then simply clean it up, making sure you use the proper cleaner so no trace of smell is left behind.

Do not scold your pup for it, do not put his nose in it, just clean it up.  He will not understand why you are angry at him, relieving himself is a natural act, he’s been doing it all of his young life!

©Photo Courtesy of Jarrett Maxwell

If you scold him, yell at him, or put his nose into it, all you will do is create a fearful pup.  And worse, since he will not make the association of wrongdoing, he may also revert to hiding his messes. 

You do not want either of these reactions in him.

As for the witnessed accidents, these can be a great teaching tool.

When you see him either starting to, or already eliminating, quickly yell, “No, no, no”.  Then snap his leash on and run him outside.  Usually the excited yell of “No, no, no” will make him pause what he is doing for a moment and he will finish up outside where he belongs.

House training puppies has 2 processes.  One is to show him what you want (pee outside), and the other is what you don’t want (pee inside!).  So catching him in the act is still a good lesson learned.

After several days of house training your puppy, you will notice that he will go to the door on his own.  You have to really watch for this, as he will only stay for a second, and then walk off.

This is exactly the response you’ve been waiting for, as it shows that he is starting to understand.  When you see him walk to the door, immediately say your command, snap a leash on him, and go outside!

At this point, it is great if he does urinate outside, but even if he doesn’t, a valuable lesson is being learned.  You are teaching him how to ask to go out. 

©Photo Courtesy of Deb Wiles Zitelli

After a few more times of catching him for a moment by the door, saying your command, and then taking him out; you will notice that he goes to the door and lingers even longer. 

The understanding is there! 
 
As time goes by, and you can see all of the progress being made in house training your puppy, lessen the praise that you give to him, and then eventually stop. 

Just as in potty training a child, we don’t continue to praise them for using the potty when they are teenagers!  :)

Also, when your puppy reaches the age of 3 to 3 &1/2 months old, it is a good practice to have a tie-out for the pup to use for his bathroom purposes. 

Still take him to the bathroom on his leash a couple of times a day, but also let him go outside on his own to do his business.  This is all part of his learning to grow up.




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