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A nine-week-old black Labrador-Retriever puppy sitting on green turf, wearing a yellow Future Guide Dog vest and looking up at the camera.

Puppy Pointers: House training

By Kezia Gray, Puppy Raising Supervisor

When bringing a new puppy into your home, the top priority is house training. There are numerous things you can do to improve your chances for success.

Before the puppy arrives, choose an appropriate relieving area outside the home and away from distractions. This area should be about 8’ x 8’ and the puppy should be on lead when taken to this area. The puppy will associate this specific area as the best place to relieve when praised for doing so.

If the puppy has an accident inside the home, it is best not to discipline them. Your puppy simply does not understand they are not supposed to relieve in the home. The puppy may decide not to relieve in front of you because the previous time, they got in trouble. The puppy may also refrain from relieving when you are around and wander off to a safer area of the home to relieve.

An eight-week-old puppy may need to relieve as often as every 30 minutes. It is highly recommended that you develop a solid routine of giving the puppy multiple opportunities throughout the day to relieve. A puppy is more likely to relieve at these critical times – and it’s important for you to take them out to their relieving area:

  • First thing in the morning
  • After napping
  • After playing
  • About 15-20 minutes after eating
  • When the puppy is showing signs that they may need to relieve (sniffing and circling)

These are some of the most important things to consider when house training your puppy. You can search online for more house training practices to consider. For example, crate training, introducing a verbal relieving cue and limiting access to areas of the home will increase your chances of success. By taking the time and persevering in the early days with house training, you can speed up the process and save your home from becoming a dumping ground!