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Italian Greyhound Care & Information

HouseTraining

   "About Time" puppies are started with housetraining basics already established, and the groundwork laid, to make housebreaking as simple as possible when your new pup arrives home. At 4 weeks of age when the pups start becoming mobile and eating, they are placed in a 5ft square exercise pen in our kitchen. They have a bed, food and water in the front, and paper down to cover the rest of the area. As dogs have a natural instinct to keep their sleeping and eating areas clean, they prefer to eliminate in a different area. At this young (and not totally mobile yet) age, anywhere the pup chooses to go outside of his bed is on paper. As they grow over the next week they will progress naturally to choosing the back corner of their area to eliminate - as far as possible from their food and bed area. Over the next couple weeks, the size of the exercise pen is increased, and the paper is decreased from covering the floor to just an area in the back corner.
   By using this method we use the pup's own natural instincts to not soil their bed/food areas to allow them to paper-train themselves naturally! By the time they are 8 weeks old, they have run of the kitchen, with a determined paper area in the corner, and we have only an occasional "oops" somewhere else.

   Your pup will arrive with the basic foundation for paper-training already established. From that point on, you just need to build on it. To start, when your pup first arrives home in a new and unfamiliar place, go back to the basics by limiting your pup to a restricted area when feeding and for 30 minutes after meals: food and bed on one side, paper or pee-pad in the back. The pup should pick up right away to go o the paper. Then, once he knows where it is, start increasing the area, but be sure to feed close to the paper so he won't have to go far after eating. Once he clearly knows where the paper is, he will easily begin returning to it on his own.

   Paper training is your foundation. Changing from paper to a litter box, or to going outside, is just a matter of steps. Remember, always make changes gradually, and build your new training on your original foundation.
   To change to a litter box from paper, first establish paper training where you will place the litter box, once the pup is accustomed to going on the paper there, put the litter box down, and put the paper inside it. Give it a couple days for him to become accustomed to going on the paper in the litter box, then sprinkle a couple handfuls of litter over the paper in the box. You can gradually add more litter until you remove the paper entirely, and you are litter box trained!
   To train to go outside, leave the paper down in the house for a backup option, and begin taking your pup out first thing in the morning, after meals, naps, and/or when you notice him starting to circle and sniff for a place to go. When he eliminates outside, praise him heavily, and take him back in. In this manner you can make him understand that you are pleased when he goes outside, and soon he should start looking to go out when he has to eliminate. By leaving paper down inside as well though, you provide a backup in the event that you do not get there fast enough to let him out. At least he can still go on the paper (good puppy) rather than messing on the floor (bad puppy).

   Positive reinforcement and consistency are your best tools in training your dog. If you forget to watch him, and find a mess on the floor, DO NOT punish your pup after the fact for your inattention. He will not know what you are angry for. Instead, clean it up, and watch more closely the next time. If you catch him "in the act", make a sharp noise of displeasure, and simply pick him up, carry him to the paper, and then praise him when he finishes there. Praise and treats every time he does right will go much further than yelling when he doesn't. Soon enough you'll end up with an IG that will come running to find you and show you he made a mess where he was suppost to, just because he wants his reward and treat!

   The best training tip I've ever heard when it comes to housebreaking...
Keep a rolled up newspaper handy, and when you find the little pile or puddle on your rug, take the rolled up paper and hit yourself over the head numerous times and repeat "I forgot to watch my dog, I forgot to watch my dog, I forgot to watch my dog". It may not correct the dog, but it will certainly get your attention!

 


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