Information Sheet: Housetraining Your Rottweiler

Housetraining your dog is easy for you and your dog if you follow some simple guidelines. Most puppies are incapable of much control until they are around 12 weeks of age, However, with proper timing and following a schedule, you can start with puppies as young as six weeks.

Things you will need:

(1) A shipping crate of a size to fit your dog when he/she is an adult. It should ONLY be large enough for the dog to stand up comfortably and turn around;

(2) A designated "toilet area". This will need to remain the same until the dog is fully trained;

(3) A designated "toilet training word";

(4) Your puppy's favourite treats.

(5) A non-ammonia based cleaner for any accident spots; One formulated for pets works the best. (We use anti-bacterial sprays)

(6) A schedule designed to meet your puppy's needs;

(7) Time and patience!

The Crate

A fibreglass type of crate used when shipping by air is best, or alternatively you can use an ordinary fold up cage, fitted with a plastic tray/base. . This will become the puppy's "den" and - believe it or not - he will grow to love it. The puppy will remain in his crate at ALL times when you are not giving him your full attention.

This is very important. The crate must not be too large. The puppy should have enough room to stand up and turn around. If it is too large, you will defeat your purpose because the puppy will relieve himself in one end and lie in the other. For most young puppies, you will need a crate divider. These are very helpful because you can buy a crate which will fit your adult dog and use it while he is still a puppy. They are available through most good pet shops, or pet trade stands at championship shows, alternatively order one out of a canine paper such as Our Dogs or Dogs World.

The Schedule

The next most important thing is the puppy's schedule. A young puppy will need to go out every three hours - after each meal, after he drinks a lot of water, after he wakes up, and after playtime. It is often helpful to keep a diary of what the puppy "does" and when. You will see a pattern after about a week and this may be helpful in establishing a schedule.

The Designated Area

When the crate door is opened, PICK THE PUPPY UP and CARRY him to the designated area of your yard that will be the "toilet area". You must always take him to this same area for potty time. Take a favourite treat of his with you. STAY with the puppy and have him on lead if possible. Do NOT play with him. The puppy should learn from the beginning that this is not playtime or walk time, it is "potty time."

The Designated Command

The instant the puppy begins to relieve himself, say the word that you have chosen for your toilet training word. It can be "go to toilet", "hurry", or anything you like. Just pick a word and don't change it! As the puppy is eliminating, repeat your chosen word in a pleasant and praising tone of voice.

Positive Reinforcement

When he finishes, give him a "treat" and praise him profusely! Take the puppy back inside for food, playtime, etc. Remember to take him back outside after food or playtime. After 20 minutes, it's back in the crate for both rest and reinforcement. Continue this cycle until the evening.

After Dark

I personally withhold food and water after 8:00 p.m. This seems to help the pup stay clean throughout the night. At bedtime, move the crate to your bedside, or near to other dogs. Make sure the puppy is in a draft-free area and has plenty of warm bedding. (A cold puppy is soon a "wet" puppy.) Most puppies will settle in fairly well if they are near your bed, or close to other dogs so that they can see them. When the pup wakes up in the morning, he will kick up a fuss to go out. Remember your toilet spot and treats!

KEEP TO YOUR SCHEDULE!

Help! My Pup Doesn't Get The Concept!

If you should catch your puppy in the process of eliminating in the house, clap your hands and say, "NO!" Pick him up and take him out to his spot outside. If he finishes there, praise him. When you go back inside, put the pup away so he cannot see you cleaning up his accident. DONíT HIT OR SHAKE, YOUR PUPIF IT MAKES A MISTAKE.

If you discover an accident that has already happened, put the puppy in another area and clean up the spot. Do not scold or reprimand your puppy in any other way. If he goes in the house, you fell down on the job. It is your responsibility to see that he is in the right place in the right time. If you scold or strike your puppy, it will not help your puppy get housetrained. It will, however, teach your pup to be afraid and to mistrust you.

Nearly Zero Defects

When the time comes that there have been no accidents in the house for two weeks straight and when you can tell that your puppy is learning what "Go potty" means, you may begin extending his "free time" out of the crate. If there is an accident, you may have gone too fast. Remember that this is a baby you are dealing with; he cannot progress any faster than his maturity level will let him.

What About An Older Dog?

The process for older dogs is very much the same. Remember - even dogs who are supposedly perfectly housebroken may have several "accidents" as they get accustomed to their new surroundings. Often too, dogs of both sexes will "mark" their territory so that any possible predators are alerted that this is now their "turf".

On the other hand, an older dog with seldom need to go out every three hours. A more realistic schedule for an adult dog is upon awaking. Most dogs (like people!) will urinate within several seconds of waking up. Many will have a bowel movement within minutes of waking up.

Allow the older dog an hour or so free in the house. Then out again at lunch and another hour or so of free time. Back in the crate. Out again around dinner time which is usually when the dog will both urinate and defecate again. If so, your dog can hang out with the family and watch TV or lounge with you until bedtime. Take him out to his potty spot and then back in his crate to sleep. Otherwise, use the same methods and schedule using the same spot, the same potty word, the same cookies, etc.

This Dog Is Hopeless!

Correctly and consistently using this method of training I have had no failures - and neither will you. Each and every dog has been reliable within three weeks of beginning his training. When your dog does the "right" thing, remember to stay on your schedule & use plenty of praise and rewards. And, if your pup "forgets", be sure that you don't let him see you clean up after him. If you do not see ANY results after 4 - 5 weeks, you may need to seek the advice and services of a professional dog trainer, or vet to rule out any health defects.

A Final Word About Crates

Be sure that anything you leave in the crate cannot be chewed up and choked on. Unless supervised I personally never leave anything in the crate with my dog except water.

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