I’ve just been reading an article about house training puppies called Errorless Housetraining by Dr. Ian Dunbar. I kept saying “Brilliant!” and “Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?” all the way through it. Want to read it yourself? The link will open in a new browser window.
In a nutshell, Dr. Dunbar makes house training sound so easy. Most of his advice is quite like that on my own potty training dogs page, but there are some (brilliant) variations and explanations. He points out that puppy house training is very much about timing and describes a 1-2-3 process for doing it. He talks about how and where to confine the puppy while he is learning, and outlines an approach to expanding the area the pup can be free in as he gains control. Since one very good way to confine the puppy is via crate training, he talks about that too. The article recommends a particular reward when the puppy does its stuff — and that was one place where I said “Brilliant!” again.
Something that I hadn’t thought about much is the rate of speed to get a puppy outside when you are taking him out as part of his house training routine. Sure, if he was seeming ready to do something on the carpet, I would advocate getting him outside rapidly! But Dr. Dunbar makes a really good point: he says to regularly run quickly with your puppy to the area you want him to use, because if you dawdle around, he may urinate or defecate before getting to your chosen destination. He adds that the rapid movement will be shaking the puppy’s internal organs, making your pet more ready to do his stuff immediately when you stop. Now, if you can’t really run for whatever reason, just hustle along at the best rate of speed you can manage! Pretty soon you will have a house trained dog, and then you can slow down.
In case you haven’t come across his name before… veterinarian, researcher and long-time dog training teacher Ian Dunbar has done a tremendous amount to bring dog training to a new level. His dedication to positive dog training has had ramifications that have spread all over the planet, radically changing the ongoing dialogue about the best methods to train a dog.
Dunbar’s DVD, Sirius Puppy Training, is a classic. I still remember the first time that someone bought the program through my link on this site. It was the very first thing I ever sold from this site, and I burst into tears — because I had helped a puppy have a better start in life. I would never meet the puppy or know anything about it… but my webpage had created a connection. That was one of the defining moments for me in my ongoing dedication to working online.
Errorless Housetraining is adapted from Dr. Dunbar’s useful paperback, Before and After Getting Your Puppy.
In summary, if we could all house train our puppies with the clarity of mind and humor that this article brings to the subject, that would be very nice indeed!