For many people, happiness really is a warm puppy, and young dogs can grow into wonderful companions. However, turning pups into good citizens requires a lot of care and work, especially during potty training. It takes commitment and patience to teach pups to eliminate in the correct area. Training is even more challenging if owners cannot take animals outside because of issues like poor weather. However, puppy pads can make it easier to teach dogs to go in designated spaces. Pads also reduce the need for parents to clean up messes and remove stains.
What Are Puppy Pads?
Puppy pads work like diapers for dogs, except that pets do not wear them. Pads are substitutes for things like newspapers and litter boxes, which are often used for housebreaking pets. Puppy pads include pheromones that attract dogs. Pads make it much easier to clean up after housebound animals since owners can toss disposable products in the trash. Companies like Pet Parents make a variety of pads, including washable products that are reusable.
Choose a Training Area
Housebreaking a young dog is a matter of reinforcing good habits, and that begins by creating a familiar place where it is okay for them to eliminate. Professionals recommend placing the pad in a safe, comfortable place in the general vicinity of the pup’s bed. With enough positive reinforcement, the dog will get in the habit of stepping on the pad when they need to go. The pad should not be too close to the bed because pups do not like eliminating near sleeping areas.
Many trainers recommend using a crate to give dogs their own place. It should be big enough for the animal to turn around and lie down comfortably but not be too large. Young dogs will instinctively use one end of a big crate to eliminate and then sleep in the other. It is essential to associate the crate with good things, like treats and toys. Owners should take puppies to their pads as soon as they are released from their crates.
Supervise Puppies During Training
According to the AKC, it is critical to supervise pups during the housebreaking process. Owners need to take pups to their pads very often, which can be as frequent as every 15 minutes for young dogs. Parents need to be on the alert for signs that their pup needs to go. Some people set timers to ensure they create a routine. Owners can use long leashes to make sure dogs are always in sight and place pups back in their crates when they cannot be supervised.
Patience Is Essential for Learning
It takes a lot of time and patience to teach a very young dog to eliminate in the correct place. It’s not a behavior problem, as they cannot control their bladders. Dogs’ bladder muscles are not fully developed until they are four to six months old. The rule of thumb is that a pup can typically hold his bladder as long as his age in months, plus an hour. That means a four-month-old dog can hold it for five hours, which includes nights.
Parents need to be ready to work with young dogs for as long as it takes, since every breed is different. Dogs with higher metabolisms, like toy breeds, often need to go more often. However, pups can differ even within the same breed. Parents could find that a second dog is easier or harder to train than a previous pup of the same breed.
Be Consistent with Training
A routine is critical when housebreaking a pup. Per the Humane Society, parents should feed puppies on regular schedules. Trainers suggest putting a food bowl down, waiting 15 minutes, and then removing it. Dogs learn to eat when food is available, which minimizes the chances they will have accidents. It is important to take puppies to their pads after they eat.
Experts also recommend taking pups to pads at least every two or three hours, and definitely upon waking up and after they have been playing. Owners should stand puppies on their pad, ignore them until they go, remove them from the spot, and then reward them.
Do Not Punish Mistakes
Positive training is critical for owners who want to build strong communications with their pets and develop lifelong bonds. As a result, it is crucial to reward new puppies during potty training and also avoid punishment. Trainers recommend keeping a supply of treats near the pad so there is always one ready when a pup does well. Experts also suggest keeping puppies on leashes while they go and unleashing them when they finish. They get a sense of freedom that is also a reward.
When pups have accidents, owners should take them to their pads immediately. Never shout, “bad dog” or punish dogs in any way. All that does is teach puppies to go when they feel safe, usually when owners are not around. When young dogs have accidents, parents can use an enzyme-based product like Mother’s Miracle for cleaning.
Gradually Teach Puppies to Go Outdoors
The ultimate goal of using puppy pads is to teach dogs to eliminate in acceptable areas, usually outdoors. Parents can use a step-by-step process that helps pups build new habits and transition to going outside.
Trainers suggest using a command like “go potty” every time pups use pads indoors and always reward them for going in the right place. Eventually, they learn to associate going in the right place with rewards. Parents can use that training to get dogs to go anywhere by moving the pads. Professionals suggest moving pads closer and closer to the door, and then outdoors. They also recommend decreasing the pad’s size when outdoors so the dog is ultimately comfortable using the ground.
Housebreaking a new puppy is easier with puppy pads. It takes patience and consistency to get pups used to using pads, but a system of rewards makes it easier. Using a crate and keeping dogs on regular schedules also helps. Pads can eventually be used to teach puppies to go outdoors.