Looking after a puppy is very rewarding, but challenging. Two of the biggest challenges are housebreaking and teaching your puppy to sleep at night. Fortunately, you can use your dog’s natural instincts to housebreak him. Teaching him to sleep at night is a little trickier, but you can achieve this with bite-sized training sessions.
Housebreaking with Pad
Place the pad on the floor and encourage your pup to stand on it. Use a command just before he steps on, like “potty” or “toilet.” As soon as he stands on the pad, give him a treat.
Observe your puppy and monitor his routine. Note how long after eating, drinking and waking it takes him to need the toilet.
Note the signs that your puppy needs to go. These may include circling, pawing and whining.
Place the pads in a suitable area of the home, away from distractions. A laundry room or anywhere free from foot traffic and noise is a good choice.
Watch your dog, using your understanding of his routine to react if he needs the toilet.
Gently guide him to the pad and give the command to make him stand on the pad. Wait for him to go, then give him lots of praise and fuss. With sufficient repetition, he’ll learn that relieving himself on the pad has a positive outcome. If he doesn’t make it to the pad or has an accident elsewhere in the house, remain calm and ignore him. Scolding or punishing him after the fact is pointless as he won’t link his accident with the consequences.
Sleeping at Night
Put toys or a food treat in his sleeping area. This may be a basket, bed or crate. Allow him to investigate at his own pace.
Praise him enthusiastically and play with him as soon as he puts himself in the sleeping area. This teaches him that the sleeping area is a great place to be.
Walk away. If he follows, ignore him for five minutes. The trick here is to make him associate the sleeping area with receiving attention. If he gets attention in the sleeping area and away from it, he won’t make the distinction.
Close him in. Either shut the gate on crate or shut the door to the room his bed or basket is in.
Leave him alone for two minutes. If he whines or barks, don’t respond. Time your return with a period of silence. Lavish him with praise and fuss when you return. By doing this, you teach him that periods of time spent in the sleeping area always end with you returning to him. But by only returning when he is quiet, he won’t be inclined to whine or bark for attention.
Gradually extend the period of time you shut him in the sleeping area until he is totally comfortable with the sleeping area. In the meantime let him sleep in your room. Each night, move the crate, bed or basket farther from your bed until it is out of the room.
Simon Foden has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He began his writing career after graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in music from Salford University. He has contributed to and written for various magazines including "K9 Magazine" and "Pet Friendly Magazine." He has also written for Dogmagazine.net.