To pee or not to pee? That's a puppy's biggest dilemma. If puppy pads were attractive in the same way as fire hydrants and lamp posts, the whole potty training process would be much easier. Interestingly, puppy pad manufacturers have started adding some special substances to elicit instinctive elimination behaviors.
Attractive Grass Scent
Some puppy pads are treated with a fresh grass scent to get puppies to use them. This scent can be helpful once the puppy is weaned off the puppy pads and trained to go potty outdoors on grassy areas. The familiar grass scent found on the actual grass outdoors should help them get accustomed to using the outdoors as their new potty area.
There's a good reason puppy owners are told to avoid cleaning up soiled areas with ammonia-based products. If you clean a spot where your puppy eliminated on the carpet with ammonia, the puppy will feel compelled to urinate there again and again because urine contains ammonia and smells the same way. Some puppy pads are treated with ammonia so your puppy smells them and believes he has soiled there before and will feel compelled to use the pads again and again.
Some puppy pads are treated with synthetic pheromones in hopes of grabbing a pup's attention and enticing him to soil there when nature calls. (Pheromones are chemicals secreted by animals that trigger responses in other animals who smell them.) These synthetic pheromones are also available in spray form so they can be directly sprayed on pads that have not been treated. However, sometimes puppies are so attracted to puppy pads with attractants that they will "love them to pieces" and tear them up with no mercy.
Attractive Pee Smell
While many pee pads contain one or more attractants, there are also pee pads without them. In this case, you can always create your own attractant. Simply collect a paper towel or piece of newspaper soiled with your puppy's urine and place it on top of the pad. The scent of pee will tell your dog that this is the right place to eliminate. At the same time, make sure you completely remove the scent of urine from places you don't want your pup to go, by using an enzyme-based cleaner.
Adrienne Farricelli has been writing for magazines, books and online publications since 2005. She specializes in canine topics, previously working for the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Her articles have appeared in "USA Today," "The APDT Chronicle of the Dog" and "Every Dog Magazine." She also contributed a chapter in the book " Puppy Socialization - An Insider's Guide to Dog Behavioral Fitness" by Caryl Wolff.