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Cleanliness training with a puppy [behaviorist advice

Cleanliness training with a puppy

When a puppy arrives at home, it is a joyful event for the whole family. The puppy fills the whole space with its inexhaustible energy, brings us toys and

squirting on our beloved dance floor! Well, he's only a canine child after all, so he has every right to do so, and we, as new parents, have to roll up our sleeves, clean up and get down to a smart clean training with our puppy. The sooner we start working on the correct behavior of the pooch, the better for everyone, and certainly for our floor and carpets in the apartment ?

If you carry out the cleanliness training correctly and calmly from the beginning, your sweet puppy will quickly get what it is, and you will keep the floor at home and your nerves intact.

  • quarantine
  • Frequent going out with a puppy
  • Be vigilant
  • Rewarding your dog for taking care of himself
  • Command placement
  • Substrate preference
  • Peaceful places
  • Long leash
  • Urine breakdown spray
  • Mats, newspapers, underlays, artificial grass
  • Don't yell at the dog
  • The whole family works together
  • Patience
  • If nothing works


When we take a puppy from a shelter or from a dog kennel or a temporary home, often the puppy does not have a complete set of vaccinations, so breeders warn us to be careful about the toddler and not to expose him to viruses, other dogs and places where there is a large accumulation of potential infection. The puppy does not have full immunity yet and can become infected easily.

This is of course true, but both from the behavioral and physiological point of view it is an equally important time in the life of a young dog, so completely depriving it of stimuli and keeping it "under a roof" is also not necessarily advisable, as more and more behaviorists are saying. Therefore, everything should be done with head and prudence. We will leave the topic of behavioral development and quarantine for another article, but cleanliness training it is good to start as early as possible when your toddler has a flexible mind, absorbs the world and learns quickly.
Therefore, let's train cleanliness, but with the head.

Frequent going out with a puppy

Frequent going out with a puppy

For cleanliness training to be effective, we must remember that the puppy is small, so it has a small bladder. Expecting him to be able to stay home alone for 8 hours while we're at work is hmmm

quite a breakneck idea.

Therefore, the key to learning to cleanse are frequent walks. The point is for the dog to understand that he has to hold out until the next time, and that it will happen soon.

Therefore, at the beginning of cleanliness training, it is recommended to go out as often as possible, even every 2-3 hours. It is known that this rhythm needs to be adjusted. We all work, so it can be difficult during the week, but let's try to keep this rhythm at least on the weekends. And if we have such an opportunity, let's organize a neighbor, friend or petsitter who will come to the dog during the day and take him out when we are at work.

An important note here - if the dog is still building its immunity, then do not lead it to places where there is a high concentration of dogs, where they kill themselves. The quieter the place, the less potential bacteria, the better. We also don't have to take long walks every time, the point is for the dog to understand that the manor is to be taken care of and the house is definitely not.

Be vigilant

Be vigilant!

For cleanliness training to be effective, we need to keep a close eye on our puppy and react quickly every time we see him spinning around the house. Most often, such situations occur when:

  • the dog just got up or is after a nap,
  • the dog ate or drank water,
  • he is excited after having fun, visiting guests,
  • generally agitated.

The dog often gives us signals, we just need to learn to decode them. Walks around nervously, looks for a secluded place, sniffs intensely, wanders around the front door or balcony, each dog has its own ways, but thanks to observation we will learn to be sensitive to them.

When we see that the dog is getting ready to take care of it, gently, without shouting, we take it and quickly lead it outside.

Rewarding your dog for taking care of himself

Rewarding your dog for taking care of himself

Dogs like to be rewarded for their behavior, if we do this, we necessarily strengthen the ones we want. Therefore, if we see that our pooch has taken care of himself on a walk, let's praise him, be happy, pet him and give the dog a treat - let him know that he did the right thing. Of course, let's do it all calmly, let the dog pee in peace, and then praise him, so as not to scare him with your over-enthusiasm, do not stand over him and stress him.

But when the dog does what it needs, let's not delay with the reward, because the dog has to form an association - aha, I did it and it gets a reward for it, so it pays off to do it outside! If we wait too long, the dog will not be fully aware of what he was awarded for.

Command placement

One way is also called command input. So if the dog is getting ready to go outside, we can say "pee" or "take care of yourself" in a gentle voice. If we repeat this text regularly (we have to decide on one word, it cannot be a different command each time, because the dog will not know what we expect from him), there is a good chance that in the future the dog will hear the word while walking he will know it is time to settle down.

Substrate preference

There are situations when the dog walks and walks outside and nothing. Sometimes we just have to be patient and wait. But there are times when the dog develops what behaviorists call ground preference. What does it mean? Let's assume that a dog takes a liking to our beautiful, white, fluffy rug in our house. He peed a few times there and found no other substrate worthy to be pissed off anymore. What about this situation? Well, it's hard to imagine that every time you walk in the park, we will look for a Persian carpet somewhere, because it's quite a breakneck idea. But if such a situation already takes place and the dog refuses to take care of anywhere else, let's look for an equivalent outside, i.e. a soft piece of clean grass. And then let's expand the surfaces and try to introduce new ones, such as sand, compacted earth, carpet of leaves, and so on, so that the dog learns to do elsewhere too.

If, on the other hand, the dog has not developed a ground preference, which is very likely, then let's work from the beginning to make sure that it is able to use any available surface, because it will make future walks much easier.

Peaceful places

Another key aspect is the right place for a walk. This is a very individual matter and the sense of observation will come in handy again. Some dogs like to settle down where they smell other dogs' urine and leave information about themselves, and some need a secluded, secluded place where nothing distracts them. And considering that puppies are able to focus attention briefly and distract easily, I would start by looking for a quiet place where the dog does not have too many stimuli and distractions.

Some dogs, especially the more shy ones, also like to return to places where they have taken care of before, have their favorite lawns and parks, while others have an explorer soul and would like to be in new places all the time. Here we need to experiment and keep a close eye on our puppy.

Long leash

Few people think about it, but sometimes in cleanliness training, it also matters

lanyard length. There are dogs who are unable to relieve themselves and become stressed if they are unable to move away from us to a safe distance. I always recommend a leash of at least 2.5-3 meters to keep the dog free to move, but generally the longer the leash the better.

Since we have discussed the topics of walks, let's go home for a moment and see what we can do there to help the dog learn.

Urine breakdown spray

Use detergents to break down your dog's urine

We cannot avoid the dog from taking care of himself at home. It's quite natural and normal, it's a puppy after all. But what is important is to remove the smell of urine from the house so that the dog doesn't sense it when he comes home, as he may perceive it as a signal that this is a great place to go to do your chores. And that is what we prefer to avoid!

There are of course many methods of urine removal, doggies share them on forums, but we must remember one thing - water alone is not enough, because dogs have a nose that is much more sensitive than us! Therefore, let's use special (non-toxic to the dog, of course) detergents that break down urine particles, and not only mask the smell, or remove it superficially. There are urine-decomposing sprays on the internet, you can also bury them on the forums for dog lovers who give each other recipes for magic recipes of cleaning agents. In general, there is one rule - the more thoroughly we remove the smell, the less the dog will have associations that the house is one big toilet.

Mats, newspapers, underlays, artificial grass

Many people use extra help at a critical time, when their dog is not yet going outside, or when they are sitting for a long time at work. In the past, mainly newspapers were available (which did not fulfill their task, because they soaked easily), then there were mats (recently there are even mats with the smell of grass!), there are also other sleepers, and I even saw litter boxes with artificial grass so that the dog would learn to arrange on the grass. Each solution has its supporters and opponents, as is usually the case. What does it work for? Probably something different for every dog. Here again we have to play Sherlock Holmes and deduce from observation what makes the most sense for our dog.

If the puppy has been trained in breeding to do matting, it is easier for us. If not, we can observe what place the pooch likes to pee and spread the mat there. Mats are usually very absorbent and retain dirt well, so it helps to keep the house in better condition.

When the pooch's quarantine ends, it is worth reducing the number of mats and teaching him that he can do better outside than at home.

Some opponents of mats say that the dog may not want to pee on a surface other than the mat and may even like our carpets. But it doesn't have to be that way, of course. It all depends on the pooch. Some, in turn, make a great toy out of the mat and tear it into small pieces, convinced that they have just made great confetti and we will definitely be delighted when we return home.

Don't yell at the dog

Here is a very important thing that we must not forget when we have a dog. Your puppy doesn't pee at home for malice (as some say!), simply because his organs, including the bladder, are just developing and he cannot physically endure as many hours without pissing off as an adult dog. In addition, from the behavioral point of view, dealing sometimes with a release of tension when the dog is stressed or too agitated.

Therefore, never punish your dog when he self-destructs. Firstly, it does not do it on purpose, and secondly, with such a behavior, we can cause the dog to eat its feces (so-called coprophagia), or to hide in the corners. There is also no bigger misunderstanding than sticking a dog's nose in his urine. The dog does not understand what is happening and why you are doing it. But he will certainly lose confidence in you and it will take much longer to build a bond between you.

If the dog pee, that's too bad. Just clean up after him without saying a word and focus not on punishing him, which won't do you any good, but on reinforcing positive behavior and just show him how he should behave.

The whole family works together

A few final remarks. In order for the dog to learn efficiently, we must be consistent, develop a routine in working with him and the whole family must be

unanimous. If one person works with the dog in a certain way, but the rest does not, or one person uses the X command and the other uses the same Y command, there is a good chance that everything will go wrong and the process will take longer than we would. They wanted. That is why it works well with a piece of paper on the refrigerator with written notes


A very important thing. The study of cleanliness usually continues. It is not enough to repeat certain things once and the dog magically learns that from now on, we only kill ourselves outside. Some dogs learn faster, others take a little longer, even several months, but that's okay too. After all, the dog is not a programmable robot. If our pooch does not take advantage of the lawn just after leaving the cage, let's go with him until he succeeds. If we ran out in pajamas, we'll be cold at the most, well!

If nothing works

It may happen that you do everything right and your pooch still has problems with cleanliness training and prefers to do housework. Then it is worth consulting a good behaviorist who will check if you accidentally make any mistakes or if the problem is more complex. If, for example, the dog has anxiety problems, has not been properly socialized, is afraid of the new environment and does not feel comfortable outside, it will prefer to settle in a safe space at home. So let's work it out on a behavioral level. But it may also be that the pooch has health problems and that is why we fail to train cleanliness, then it is necessary to go to the vet as soon as possible.

I keep my fingers crossed for you and the puppies! Good luck!

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