Don't expect perfection from a puppy when housetraining. He will make mistakes and so will you! You need to be vigilant and patient to achieve the desired result.
The best method is to prevent accidents, by anticipating your puppy's needs. A young puppy needs to go outside to relieve himself every time he finishes sleeping, eating and after boisterous activity. He needs to relieve himself every couple of hours.
When a puppy wakes up from a sleep he needs to be taken outside immediately - as soon as he wakes up. He also needs to go outside after eating and activity periods and at frequent intervals during the day. If he has been inside for more than a couple of hours, take him outside before an accident occurs.
It is not enough to just put your puppy outside. You need to go with him to make sure he relieves himself. Otherwise he may just wait at the door to come back inside and then have an accident in the house. Wait with him until he performs and then praise him. To learn, he needs you to reward his behaviour with praise. Make sure he knows how clever he has been. Use a cue word that he will recognise.
After he has had some practice, watch him carefully when he is inside for signs that he needs to relieve himself. These can be restlessness, sniffing the floor or standing awkwardly. Take him outside immediately you see them. You will soon recognise behaviour that indicates he needs to go outside.
Try to always take him to the same area - he will recognise the smell and this will help him understand what is required. Make sure you praise him when he performs correctly. Dogs instinctively return to the same places to relieve themselves, so you must be careful to remove completely all traces of any mistakes he makes in the house. Your puppy's sense of smell is much better than yours, so clean the area completely or he will want to repeat his error every time he passes the spot. Avoid cleaning products containing ammonia. Diluted white vinegar will help neutralise the odour. On carpet use soda water and soak up as much liquid as possible quickly to avoid stains.
Never blame the puppy for accidents. They usually happen because you weren't paying attention. If you catch your puppy in the act, pick him up quickly and take him outside to show him his mistake. Allowing a puppy to have free range of the house is asking for an accident. Keep him in the room where you are so that you will notice when he needs to go outside.
Never punish your puppy for an accident. The old fashioned method of "rubbing a puppy's nose in it" does not teach your puppy anything about where to relieve himself and plenty about unpredictable human behaviour. He will have no idea what you are doing and the punishment will confuse him. He may decide to relieve himself in an out of the way spot when you aren't looking.
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