10 Housetraining Tips for First-Time Puppy Owners


4. Stop accidents before they happen

It’s a lot harder to break a bad habit than it is to keep one from starting in the first place. The more accidents your dog has, the more that behavior is reinforced in his little puppy brain. The best way to prevent accidents is to confine your puppy when you’re not actively playing with him. Don’t use a baby gate; if your puppy has a whole room to himself, he’s going to find a corner to use as a bathroom. It’s better to use a crate, because puppies usually won’t go where they sleep. If you have a large-breed dog and don’t want to buy two crates, go ahead and get a larger one, but partition it off so that the puppy has just enough room to stand up and turn around. The one exception is if you have a puppy who’s going to the bathroom in the crate; you don’t want to reinforce that habit. In that case, consider attaching the puppy to you with a leash. The important thing is, an untrained puppy should never have unsupervised freedom to roam.

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