Indoor Housebreaking for City Dogs
When living in the city, your only option when housebreaking a puppy may be to train them – at least at first – to use the “facilities” indoors. Some people who live in high rises or work long hours may choose to housebreak their puppy indoors as a permanent solution – or at least a long-term one until the dog is old enough to hold its bladder for long periods of time.
Others may find the risk of infection when taking a new, young puppy outside to pee on the city streets is just too great, and will therefore choose to teach their pup to eliminate inside while they’re younger.
Or if running outside and inside is just too much of a pain for you to do every five minutes, indoor housebreaking may also be a viable option. Hey – most of us don’t have our own yards where we can put the pup until they learn to go outside!
I recently got two puppies and fall into all of these categories! Puppy pads are a great solution to this problem and others swear by a doggie littler box, or – if you have a balcony – creating a grassy area where the pup can eliminate may be a great solution as well. When using a method of indoor elimination, keep a few things in mind:
1. Make sure the space is far away from where they sleep, play, eat and drink. Of course we’ve all heard that once a pup learns to sleep near their own pee or poop, it will be that much harder to housebreak them. Most dogs will naturally want to go to the bathroom in a separate area, so once you establish what that area is, they’ll want to go there.
2. Interrupt your dog if they go elsewhere. Just like you would stop a dog from peeing indoors and run them outside, interrupt them and run them over to the pee pad, litter box, etc. Don’t scare them, though, or they may learn to be afraid of peeing in front of you.
3. Use a command and give lots of praise! When you see your pup going in the designated area, say a command like, “go potty,” and lavish them with lots of love!
4. Don’t try to housebreak using indoor and outdoor training. Obviously if you’re going to be gone for a long period of time and you leave your pup in a confined area, they’ll probably need to go to the bathroom, so providing an area in that case is OK. But on a day-to-day basis, there needs to be consistency in what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.
If you’re pee-pad training, you have to interrupt them every time you see your pooch go to the bathroom off the bad, and reward (I mean, all out, crazy, throw a pee-party reward!) when they go on it. If you’re training them to go outside, you have to be consistent in the times you take your pup out and have a plan for how to handle accidents.
As someone going through this process right now, I’m not going to say it’s easy! But it’s a phase that will pass, and the fun of having a puppy sure makes it worth it!
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