House Training Rules
1) If you don’t catch your puppy doing it, then don’t punish him for it!
2) Praise your puppy when things go right. Don’t let this be a situation where your only action is saying “No” when they are caught in the midst of going potty in a wrong area. If they do it right, let them know!
There are several ways to housebreak your new Australian Labradoodle puppy. With the first, you can put down papers or pretreated pads, encouraging them to use these areas for going to the bathroom. The pads are scented with a chemical that attracts the puppy to use them. Whenever you see them starting into their “pre-potty pattern,” such as walking around and sniffing the floor, you gently pick them up without talking and carry them over to the papers or pads. Then praise them when they go to the bathroom.
When all goes well and they are using the papers consistently, the papers are either moved closer to the door and/or another set is placed right outside the door. The transition is made from concentrating the potty habits to one spot inside the home, to one spot outside the home. Finally, the papers inside are eliminated. The only problem with this method is that for a period of time it encourages the animal to go potty inside the house. In my experience, house training may take longer when using this method.
Another popular method of training involves the use of a crate or cage. The often-stated reasoning is that the animal is placed in a cage that is just large enough to be a bed. Dogs do not like to soil their beds because they would be forced to lay in their mess. While in these confines, most puppies will control their bladder and bowels for a longer time than we would expect. Young puppies, at eight or nine weeks of age, can last a couple of hours, however, we never recommend leaving them unattended in a crate for that long in most circumstances. If the puppy soils in its crate, then you probably did not take it out to go potty enough.
Crate training is an extremely useful tool, but crates should not be overused or your puppy will grow to resent their crate. Puppies should be put in their crate at bedtime after several potty breaks and taken out to go potty first thing in the morning. Given several hours before bedtime to empty their system, puppies are able to hold it overnight in a crate. During the daytime if you must leave your puppy unattended, they should be left in an exercise pen or similar confined area with food, water, potty pad and toys, NOT in a crate. Daytime crating can lead to behavioral issues with your puppy as they protest being confined too often, and is never recommended.
Most people do not recognize the advantages of crate training, and they go further than just preventing the puppy form messing in the house. The puppy learns that when the urge to go pee or poop occurs, they can hold it. This is thought to be the main reason why puppies that have gone through crate training have fewer mistake later throughout their lives.
Using specific and intentional language with your new Australian Labradoodle will help your puppy understand what is desired. It is an excellent idea to always use the same word when it is time to go outside to the bathroom. I like to say “Outside?” Remember, that whenever you use a verbal command or signal, it is important that everyone in the family uses the same word in the same way. This will ensure that the cues and commands remain consistent, so that the puppy does not get confused. Think about the word “Outside” as both a question directed toward the puppy and an indication that that they are going to go to the bathroom. The consistent use of a word or phrase such as “Outside,” will cause the puppy to come to you when it needs to go to the bathroom.
Once outside, I try to encourage the puppy to go to the bathroom right away. I use the phrase “Go potty.” As soon as the puppy does, it is very important to praise them with a “Good dog” and then come back inside immediately. Going “Outside” is an intentional trip that is intended to allow the puppy to go potty. If the puppy were being taken outside to play with a ball or to go for a walk, I would not use the word “Outside”, even though the puppy may go to the bathroom while they are outside.
One of the key issues in housebreaking is that if you do not catch your puppy doing something wrong, than do not punish them for it! Contrary to what you may have heard or read, if you find a mess that was left when you were not there, clean it up and forget about it. Discipline will not help unless you catch the puppy in the act, for they will have no idea what they are being scolded for. Your puppy has peed or pooped hundred of times in the in the past and it was always cleaned up. Nobody made a fuss about it before and the puppy will not put the punishment, regardless of its form, together with something he has done without incident numerous times before. Especially if it was done more than 30 seconds ago! Puppies are just like children, unless something is really fun (and a repetitious act like going to the bathroom is not), they are not thinking about what they did in the past. They are thinking about what they can do in the future. At his point in their lives, a puppy’s memory is very, very poor.
Let’s face it, it was probably more your fault than the puppies’ that there was an accident. If you had been watching, you would have noticed the puppy suddenly walking or running around in circles with his nose down smelling for the perfect spot to go to the bathroom. It is just as consistent as the taxi driver behind you honking his horn the second the light turns green. The puppy will show the same pre-potty routine every time before they actually go to the bathroom.
Again, the same should be said as to your first reaction when you catch your puppy in the act of going potty in the house. It is your fault, for you were not watching closely to the pre potty routine. Do not get mad. Quickly, but calmly, pick them up and without raising your voice sternly say “No.” Carry them outside or to their litter box. It will help to push their tail down while you are carrying them, as this will often help them to stop peeing or pooping any more.
They are going to be excited when they get outside or to the litter box, but stay there with them for a while. When they have finished going potty, reward them with a simple praise like “Good dog.”
In the disciplining of dogs, just like in physics, every action has a reaction and for training dogs these reactions may not be beneficial! If you overreact and severely scold or scare the heck out of a puppy for making what is in your mind a mistake, your training is probably going backwards. With house training this is especially difficult for them to understand as they are carrying out a natural body function. Carried one step further is the idea of rubbing a puppy’s nose into a mistake he made, whether you caught him or not. In the limits of a puppy’s intelligence, they are not going to understand the difference between rubbing his nose in a mess that he left in the kitchen an hour ago verses the mess left by another dog in the park a week ago. Punishment rarely speeds up house training. Often, it makes the dog nervous or afraid every time it needs to go to the bathroom.