Thursday, September 3, 2009

Puppy Housebreaking Resources: Are you Punishing too Much?

puppy housebreaking punishmentWe humans are pretty good at detecting when a certain behavior results in negative consequences, and understand we can avoid those consequences by changing the behavior. Puppies are somewhat capable of the same, but they live and think in the present moment. They do not associate a negative consequence with an action unless the consequence occurs while they are performing the action. When you are housebreaking a puppy, punishing the puppy for accidents in the house is a good example. If you punish your puppy after an accident has occurred, the pup will most likely not associate the act with the punishment you inflicted. If you show him a puddle on the floor and scold him, he is probably just going to be confused and think that’s a bad puddle. So how do you communicate what you expect from your puppy during the critical housebreaking stage? For the most part, it is best to communicate through positive reinforcement rather than imposing too much punishment.

The problem is, we often punish out of emotion rather than the need for discipline in times of puppy housebreaking angst. We are frustrated that the accident happened, because we are putting so much energy into teaching the puppy otherwise, on top of the fact that now we have to clean up the mess. It also doesn't help that the puppy seems perfectly obliviously happy. The most immediate instinct is often to scold the puppy, who is, after all, the source of the frustration. But, what alleviates our anger is not necessarily the same as what teaches the puppy to do better next time.

Puppies learn best through positive reinforcement for desirable behavior. Praising your puppy when he eliminates in the correct place is more effective for training than punishing him for an accident. A firm "no" may be effective in teaching the puppy what not to do, but only if you catch him and say the word during the act. It is important to look for signs that the puppy needs to go, and take him immediately outdoors or to his puppy pad. As soon as he demonstrates the desirable behavior, praise him heavily. Do this every single time he goes in the acceptable place, and he will soon be delighted to go there and please his owner. Pleasing the leader of his pack, after all, is what the puppy is naturally wired to do.

If you have found yourself taking out anger on your puppy during housebreaking, you are not alone. Housebreaking can be quite frustrating, but developing habits that help your puppy understand what to do will be far more beneficial than punishing him after he has had an accident indoors. Housebreaking your puppy without excessive punishment will take plenty of time and patience, but will all pay off in the end!

About the Author: Kerry Perissi is the Founder & Vice President of MEDNET Direct, a leading provider of disposable medical supplies as well as quality puppy pads. For more information and to shop medical supplies wholesale, please visit MEDNET Direct.

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Friday, July 31, 2009

Housebreaking your Puppy Starts on Day One

puppy housebreakingWhen you bring home a new puppy, petting and playing with him is the easy part. What may not be so straightforward is the need to enforce the rules of the household right away, and that includes teaching him where to eliminate. A puppy will learn new behaviors more quickly when he is consistently sent the same message from his leader (that’s you!). Where he is supposed to eliminate should be an unvarying lesson your puppy is taught from the moment he arrives at his new home. Many dog owners teach young puppies to eliminate on puppy pads to make housebreaking easier.

A supply of puppy pads should be on hand before the puppy is brought home. When you arrive home with your new puppy, have the puppy pads already situated in the area(s) where you want the puppy to eliminate. Take him directly to the pad, sit him on it and praise him. This will ensure that he knows where the pad is located, allow him to pick up its scent and help give him a positive association with the pad.

The first step to housebreaking with puppy pads is teaching your pup what you want him to do there, and the second is helping him understand to do so every time. To teach a puppy that a puppy pad is for eliminating, use positive reinforcement. Learn to watch for signs that the puppy needs to use the bathroom, such as sniffing or turning around. Carry him to the pad when he is exhibiting these behaviors, as well as first thing in the morning and after he eats or drinks water. In the early stages, the puppy should be placed on the pad frequently. The first time he eliminates on the pad, and each time thereafter, praise him like he just did the greatest thing in the world.

Even with the convenience of using puppy pads to help train your pup, accidents will happen. The manner in which you deal with accidents can help or hurt your house training efforts. When the puppy has an accident, say “no” firmly, during the act, and carry him to the puppy pad. Praise him while he is on the puppy pad so that you do not give him a negative association that could make him avoid the pad. Send a consistent message every time, and he will soon learn that eliminating on the puppy pad is the desirable behavior, encouraging him to repeat that behavior.

One of the challenges of housebreaking a puppy is that once he urinates in the wrong spot, the scent of the urine in that area will drive him to want to go there again. When that spot is on your sofa, bed or carpet, housebreaking can become more frustrating and costly. However, if he is taught to use a puppy pad from day one, housebreaking becomes easier. This is not to say there will be no accidents, but the sooner he is taught what to do, the sooner he will stop eliminating in undesirable areas.

A common mistake new puppy owners make is allowing the pup to do as he pleases because he is so young, innocent and, let’s face it, irresistibly cute. Enforcing rules on such an adorable puppy may not feel like the most natural thing to do for us humans, but it is critical for the puppy to learn what is expected of him. Attempting to reverse bad habits is more difficult than creating good ones to begin with, which is why house training should begin from the moment you arrive home with your new best friend.

About MEDNET Direct: MEDNET Direct is a leading provider of disposable medical supplies as well as quality puppy pads. For more information and to shop medical supplies wholesale, please visit MEDNET Direct.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Avoid these 5 Mistakes when Housebreaking your Puppy

puppy housebreaking tipsHousebreaking may not be the most fun part of being a dog owner, but the good news is you only have to do it once. Avoiding these five mistakes will help your puppy understand the rules quicker, giving you and your puppy more time for fun!

Five common mistakes to avoid are:
  • Waiting too long before taking the puppy out. Young puppies are unable to control their bladders in the first few weeks of their lives, and need to be taken outside or to their puppy pads frequently. Waiting too long to give your pup the opportunity to use the bathroom will likely lead to accidents in your home. Some important times for the puppy to visit the puppy pad or outside are after eating, after drinking water, first thing in the morning and at bedtime.

  • Missing the clues that the puppy needs to go. Getting in tune with your pup’s behavior and routine will help you predict when to take him out, making housebreaking easier on both of you. Take notice of the behaviors he exhibits just prior to eliminating, such as sniffing around or going to a certain corner, and take him immediately to his bathroom spot.

  • Scolding the puppy for accidents after the fact. Your pup will only understand what he has done wrong if you catch him in the act and make your disapproval clear. Simply saying "No!" in a firm tone while he is in the act will be enough to get your point across. Punishing him for an accident when you discover the evidence later will not help because he will not associate his actions with the problem. Positive reinforcement when he eliminates in the right place will get better results than punishment for unwanted behavior.

  • Slacking off on the praise for good behavior. The power of positive reinforcement cannot be overemphasized when training a puppy. Always, always praise your puppy when he has used the bathroom in the place you want him to, whether it be on puppy training pads or outside.

  • Being inconsistent. Your puppy will learn faster if he is accustomed to a regular routine and receives consistent messages from you. Consistency is extremely important in the early stages of puppy training so that the puppy does not receive mixed signals about what is expected.
If housebreaking seems difficult at first, do not be discouraged. Your puppy is eager to please, and just needs time to understand what it is that you want him to do. By avoiding these five puppy housebreaking mistakes, you can make housebreaking easier on both yourself and your four-legged best friend.

About MEDNET Direct: MEDNET Direct is a leading supplier of disposable medical supplies for the medical and veterinary industries, including top quality puppy pads designed as a training aid for puppy housebreaking. With over 10 million puppy training pads sold, MEDNET Direct makes medical grade pads affordable for veterinary and home use.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Using Puppy Pads to Housebreak your Puppy

Puppy Pad TrainingPracticing the right techniques for house training your puppy will make the process easier for both you and the puppy. Many dog owners train their puppies to use puppy pads from an early age to reinforce the behavior of eliminating in a specific place, and later teach them to apply the behavior outdoors. A puppy pad is an absorbent pad with a leak proof backing that can be used indoors to teach a puppy to eliminate in a designated spot rather than on the floor. Here are some tips to keep in mind when using puppy pads to housebreak your puppy:

Praise your puppy when he uses the pad. Your puppy is eager to please you, and positive reinforcement is the best way to teach him your expectations. When he eliminates on the puppy pad, reinforce the behavior with praise and affection. Petting and talking to the puppy in an affirmative tone will give him positive associations with using the puppy pad, which will encourage him to use it in the future.

Give your puppy the opportunity to use the bathroom often. Young puppies need to eliminate frequently. Your puppy will likely need to go after eating, drinking water and after awaking in the morning or from a nap. Placing your puppy on his puppy pad at the right times can help him understand what you expect him to do there. If you catch your puppy in the act of eliminating elsewhere in your home, say “no” and place him on the pad (dogs live in the moment, so scolding your puppy when you did not catch him in the act will not get your message across).

Get in tune with your pup’s potty routine. Does he sniff around before he goes? Does he go right after eating? If you can predict the times when he needs to eliminate, you can prevent accidents by taking him to his puppy pad to communicate what you want him to do. Keeping him on a regular feeding schedule and removing his water bowl at night will make his potty routine more predictable.

Be consistent. Particularly if your puppy is very young, he probably will not understand what you expect of him at first. Training your pup to use his puppy pad every time will take some patience, but sending a consistent message will help your puppy learn quickly.

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About MEDNET Direct: MEDNET Direct is a leading supplier of disposable medical supplies for the medical and veterinary industries, including top quality puppy wee pads designed as a training aid for puppy housebreaking. With over 10 million puppy training pads sold, MEDNET Direct makes medical grade pads affordable for veterinary and home use.

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