Sunday, September 19, 2010

Housetraining for Labrador Puppies

You finally caved in and picked up your first Labrador puppy. In all of the excitement, you realize that you have no idea of how to properly discipline and housetrain your new pup. No matter how cute his puppy eyes are, it is vital to establish potty training right from the bat. All puppies are different, and housebreaking your puppy could take anywhere from 12 weeks to 5 months. Housebreaking means that the puppy does not have an accident inside the house for 12 consecutive weeks. Even if the pup has an accident after 11 weeks of doing their business outside, the process must start all over again at week 1.

In the beginning, it is a good idea to confine your dog to a small space indoors where it will not have a chance to wander and start bad habits around the house. Having a crate to put the dog in when nobody is watching is a good way to control where it may roam. The most important aspect of housetraining your Labrador puppy is keeping it on a schedule. As a young pup, the schedule should be set at every two hours to accommodate the dog’s undeveloped bladder. As the dog matures and gets used to the schedule, a gradual extension of one hour at a time will help train the dog to hold it longer. Eventually, your Labrador should be able to wait eight hours between bathroom breaks.

Aside from establishing a dog potty schedule, the process of training your Labrador involves awarding the pup for good behavior. You will want to put your dog on a leash and take him to your designated dog potty spot according to your schedule. Using a phrase such as “Go Potty” and repeating it before and immediately after the dog goes to the bathroom will help your dog learn to go on command. When your dog is successful, praise him and possibly give him a treat. Knowing a treat is the reward of going potty will be an incentive for them to go faster next time. Leave your dog outside for another 10 minutes, just in case they weren’t 100 percent successful the first attempt.

When you bring your puppy home for the first time, it is very important to take it directly from the car to the designated potty location and establish the command. If the dog doesn’t need to go, let him eat and drink and then return immediately to the same spot. Do not let the dog run freely until it has successfully gone potty. When your dog does have an accident inside the house, the only effective punishment is a stern “Bad Dog”. Only punish the puppy if you caught it in the act and know for sure it didn’t try and warn you by waiting by the door earlier. Clean up the mess quickly and don’t let the dog visit that spot unsupervised; he is likely to repeat his business and start a bad habit.

A big thank you goes out to Amanda for sharing some wonderful housetraining advice for Labrador Retriever puppies.

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