Common Mistakes to Avoid when Potty Training your Puppy

So you decided to do it; get that puppy you’ve been wanting. You paid for the shots and vaccinations, bought a big bag of dog food and a room full of chew toys. Now comes the hard part; potty training. There are as many myths and misconceptions about potty training as there are different breeds of dog, and it is important to know what to avoid.

Every breed of dog is different, and some are more stubborn than others, and some particular puppies are smarter or more defiant than others. Each puppy will have its own unique personality, which is part of the reason why we love our puppies in the first place. It is important to be patient with your little fuzzy bundle of joy.
If you want to avoid the pitfalls and mistakes to avoid, do your homework and be prepared. Let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes you can avoid when housebreaking your puppy.

1. Rubbing their noses in it

This is perhaps the most damaging and biggest mistake that people make while potty training. It is an old method that has been proven incorrect for some time now, but people still use it. Rubbing your dog’s nose into his mistake is humiliating and confuses puppies. During the formative months when your puppy is learning what is acceptable and what isn’t, it is important to show what is correct, as opposed to punishment.

2. Spanking

Spanking a puppy that doesn’t know that he has done something wrong or what exactly he has done wrong is a very bad idea. Again, show the puppy the right place to go. Association and conditioning are huge parts of training your puppy, and if after he or she makes a mistake and potties in the house, she is spanked, they start to associate pain with going potty.

3. Crate training

Crates seem like convenient ways to make sure our untrained puppies don’t destroy our shoes while we are at work, and to prevent them from using the bathroom in the house. However, it is no substitute for training, and can be inadvertently abusive. Consider a couple of things happen when a puppy is confined to a cage or crate all day.

One, once they get out of the cage, they will have hours of spent up energy and frustration they will need to let out. They will be very happy to see you, and probably run in circles jumping, and wanting to play. With the excitement of being let out and seeing you, they could urinate from sheer excitement. Combine this with the possibly of getting punishment for urinating, and you have a toxic cocktail of mixed signals.

The second thing is, if your puppy does urinate in the cage, they will be forced to be on top of, or mere inches away from their own waste for an extended period of time. This goes against how dogs are hardwired, which is to leave waste far away from where they sleep and live. It may seem like a good idea to leave your puppy in a crate because they either go to the bathroom in their crate and it is in one location, or because they will be forced to hold it for a long time. Good dogs and dedicated or clean-minded puppies will hold it for hours, and this can cause serious damage and cause urinary tract infections or worse. Leaving your puppy in their cage as punishment or in their crate overnight sends the wrong message as well. Crates aren’t designed for puppies to live in them, but for a safe place, their place where they can be safe and find refuge. It is like their bedroom.

There are great methods for potty training our little loved ones, and a little research and patience goes a long way towards getting your puppy comfortable, and properly trained. Remember that puppies are very much like little people, and many dogs are very intelligent and loyal for life. Many of the rules of respect and treatment for people are applicable to animals as well, so never hit, or yell at your puppy. You’ll find that with time and nurturing, your life, and the puppy’s life, will be much more fulfilling in the long run.

By: Grecia Baques
Diane Johnson writes about a number of her interests including four wheeling, shopping, and online classes.

By Guest Author

Puppy Education is a site dedicated for dog owners on how to train and look after their puppy. If you have a puppy and would like to share your own experiences and knowledge, you can write for Puppy Education.