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52–55 Weeks: What to Expect From Your Puppy

What to Expect at Your Puppy's First Yearly Physical Exam :: How to Determine if Your Puppy is Doing Well on Adult Food :: A Guide to Longer Walks and Short Hikes with Your Puppy :: How to Deal with Housetraining Accidents

How to Deal with Housetraining Accidents

What if you go out for dinner and return to a puddle on the living room floor? It may seem impossible that the puppy hiding in the kitchen could be responsible as he's been housetrained for months. But, just as your older puppy may revert to young puppy behavior problems, he might suddenly seem to forget his housetraining at this age. Actually, a dog does not truly forget his training - changes in the environment are more likely the cause.

Retraining is part of the process but only after the other issues have been dealt with. If you don't take the time to determine what has changed that has caused this problem, it will pop up again later on. Luckily, there are some definite connections with housetraining issues.

Changes that Cause Housetraining Accidents

  1. Children - If there's a newborn in the house or if the older children are suddenly more active and louder, this could throw your puppy off. An accident might also be a cry for attention.

  2. Medical Problems - Have you puppy checked for any medical problems such as urinary infections.

  3. Sounds Outside - If road work has started outside your house or trucks are suddenly delivering to the new restaurant down the block, this could be a cause.

  4. Feeding and Water - Make sure you haven't recently started leaving more water than before when you go out or changed your puppy's feeding schedule.

  5. Freedom - If you've recently started leaving your puppy out when you're gone when he was previously kept in a crate, this can cause confusion.

Solutions to the Changes

Obviously, the easiest way to stop the accidents is to identify the change in the environment and to remedy it. Another simple solution is to crate train your puppy if he isn't already. But sometimes you can't stop the change - you can't get rid of a newborn. This is where retraining comes into it. Working on housetraining with an older puppy is a bit different than a young one. For one thing, it's likely you can no longer pick him up to rush outside if he lifts his leg. Also, it's more likely that he'll have an accident when you're gone.

The Keys to Retraining an Older Puppy

  1. Establish a routine

  2. Praise, praise, praise when your puppy eliminates outdoors.

  3. Make the bathroom spot outside close to the door.

  4. Use the same spot every time you go out.

  5. Use a command such as "Go potty!" every time your puppy starts to go.

But, even if you do fix the changes in your puppy's life and retrain him, you could still have an accident. Look again for any changes in his environment and retrain positively. An occasional accident up to a year-and-half is to be expected as your pup continues to grow into himself. Just remember that cleaning the rug is a small price to pay for all the joy your pup brings you.

Advice from Other Dog Owners 

Tips for Introducing Your New Puppy to Your Cat

We bought a baby gate before bringing our new puppy home and we put it up in the doorway to our rec room. Before bringing him in we made sure the cat was on the other side of the gate, a safe barrier to ensure both were separated but could still see each other. Of course the cat hissed and went downstairs and we corrected the puppy to leave her alone. The cat remained downstairs for a few days, then started to venture up. We always made sure the puppy didn't think the cat was a play toy and soon she was comfortable with him being in the home.

We kept the gate up for months, so that way the cat always had a safe place to be without the pup. We eventually moved the gate to our laundry room and this is where her litterbox and food stays. Cats can do some harm to a little pup so always make sure they have an escape route, and a safe room they can call their own.

~Kathy L., owner of Great Pyrenees

Supplies You'll Need When Taking Your Puppy Home

What does a puppy need?

A crate. In our modern society, even if we are home, other things distract us from the attention an uncrated puppy must have. The only real solution is to crate the dog when you aren't around. The dog may be happier in its den than loose in the house. It relaxes, it feels safe in its den. It rests, the body slows down reducing the need for water and relieving itself.

Chew toys. The pet stores are full of toys that many dogs will quickly chew up into pieces they could choke on or cause intestinal blockages. If you are not there to watch, stick to sturdy stuff such as Nylabones and Kongs. Keep a close eye on chew toys and quickly discard anything that is coming apart in pieces. Rawhide is especially bad because it swells after being swallowed. These problems are the worst with, but not limited to, large, aggressive chewers such as Labs.

Food. Find out what the breeder is feeding. If it is dry chow you can buy readily, I would stick with it until the dog is 4 months old, at that time switching to a dry adult chow for large breeds. If not, try to have the breeder give you a few days supply to use making a gradual change to a dry puppy chow.

Dishes. Empty plastic food containers are good enough. If you want something nicer, buy the spill proof ones.

A collar and leash. You should stay with a flat fabric or leather collar until your puppy is 5 months old. Then you can go with the metal slip collar with the rings on each end. Otherwise you could damage its windpipe. Put it on like this for the usual dog on the left position. Pull the chain through the one ring forming a"P." Facing the dog, slip it over its head. The free end comes over the neck allowing the other end to release pressure when the leash is slack. A five month old's head will still grow some. If you buy one that easily goes over the head, it still should come off leaving the ears when the dog finishes growing. I start the puppy out with a metal leash and switch to a leather one after the worst of the chewing is over and I need more control.

A brush. Start the puppy with a bristle brush. They don't shed much at first, and the bristle brush will remove dirt and help control odor. When shedding becomes a problem later, switch to a slicker brush with the wire teeth.

The number of a vet. It is very hard to evaluate them. Dogs need more medical care than in the past. Many new problems are wide spread.

Obedience training. A good obedience class or book is about you being top dog, not about rewarding standard commands with a treat. Start obedience training the day you get the dog. Build on the foundation of housebreaking. The younger the puppy, the shorter you must keep sessions, only a few repetitions at a time. A few minutes here and there, and by the time the puppy is 4 months old, people will be impressed with what a nice dog it is.

A Dogster bookmark so you can come back for help as needed.

I didn't forget treats, shampoo, and bedding. I seldom use them.

~Richard A., owner of Labrador Retriever

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