Housetraining the Border Collie

When you first bring your pee and poop machine home, clip on his leash and carry him to the predetermined waste elimination spot that you and your family have chosen. Let your pup eliminate his waste and then take him inside. Now that you have established his elimination spot remind the family that is where your pup should be taken each time he has to eliminate.

Next, bring him inside and place him inside his pen. This is particularly important if you have other pets and dogs inside your house. The pen acts as a barrier so that the first interactions are not frightening or god forbid, harmful. This allows the pup gradually to become accustomed to your other pets and humans inside the house.

The pen should already have been set up in the chosen spot where he can be close to the family. If on carpet then a tarp should be laid down and then covered with newspaper and pee pads. Inside should be chew-toys, crate, water bowl, and a soft bed or blanket for him to rest and sleep. This will be your pup’s new home for much of the first months while being housetrained and crate-trained.

Do not over handle your puppy during the first hour’s home, because he needs to adjust to the new surroundings and all the creatures inside, let him approach using his own will. Additionally, when you do take him out of his pen to begin gradual socialization and let him explore, your house should be completely puppy-proofed to avoid injury to him. This should have been done prior to you bringing your puppy home, but it’s a good idea to perform a second check for exposed electrical cords and anything he might be able to put into his mouth and cause him to choke or do self-harm.

It is a fact that dogs are a bit particular about where they “relieve” themselves and will invariably build a strong habit. While housetraining your puppy, remember that whenever he soils somewhere in the house, he is building a strong preference to that particular area. This is why preventing soiling accidents is very important; additionally thoroughly cleaning the area where the defecation or urination has occurred is tremendously important. When your puppy does relieve his self in the house, blame yourself not your pup.

Until your puppy has learned where he is supposed to do his business, you should keep a constant, watchful eye on him, whether he is in his crate, on a mat, beside you or in his pen. During housetraining, some people will tether their puppies to their waist or to a nearby object. This allows them to keep their puppies in eyesight at all times.

– When your pup is indoors but out of the crate, watch for sniffing or circling, and as soon as you see this behavior, take him outdoors right away. Do not hesitate.

– If your pup is having accidents in the crate, the crate may be too big. The crate should be big enough for your puppy to stand up, turn around, and lie down in. If crate accidents occur, remove any soiled items from the crate and thoroughly clean it.

– Keep your puppy confined to their specific gated puppy area where accidents can be easily cleaned, such as his pen or section of bathroom, pantry, laundry, or similar. Do not leave your puppy confined to their crate for hours upon end. You want their crate to be an enjoyable place that they find safe and comforting.

– Set a timer to go off every forty-five minutes to an hour so that you remember to take your puppy out before nature calls. With progress, you can increase the time duration between elimination outings.

– A good rule of thumb for elimination outing frequencies is as follows

Up to six weeks of age, elimination every 45 minutes – hour.

Two months of age, around two to three hours.

Three months, four hours.

Four months and up – around five hours.

These times will vary a little with individual dogs.

– If your pup doesn’t do his duty when taken outdoors, after a few minutes bring him back indoors and keep a close eye on him. One option is to keep your pup tethered to your waist so that he is always in eyesight, then try again in 10-15 minutes.

– While you are away, if possible, arrange to have a person to take your puppy outside to eliminate because this will greatly speed up the housetraining process.

Establish a Schedule

– You should take your puppy out many times during the day, most importantly after eating, playing, or sleeping. Feed your puppy appropriate amounts of food three times per day and leave the food down for around fifteen-minutes at a time, then remove it. You can keep a pups water down until about eight at night, but then remove it from your puppy’s reach. This will help with accidents and waking up less in the night to bear the elements while he does his business.

– When you hear him whining, take him out for elimination once during the night. Puppies can usually hold their bladders for about 4-5 hours during sleep. Dogs do not like to soil their own area and only as a last resort will they soil their crate or bedding.

– Gradually, your puppy will be able to hold his urine for increasingly longer lengths of time, but until then keep to the every hour schedule unless he is sleeping, but always take him out after waking. Having your puppy’s excrement and urine outdoors will put your puppy’s housetraining on the fast track.

Consistency Is the Mother of Prevention

Until your puppy is reliably housetrained, bring him outside to the same spot each time, and always leaving a little bit of his waste there as a scent marker. This will be the designated relief spot, and if you like can place a warning sign at that spot. Remember to use this spot for relief only and not for play. Bring your puppy to his spot, and when you see him getting ready to eliminate waste, say something like “potty time,” “hurry up,” or “now.”

As your pup is eliminating, do not speak, because it will distract him and potentially interrupt full elimination. Instead, ponder how much fun it will be when he is playing fetch and running back to you. When your puppy finishes, praise, pet, give a top-notch treat, and spend about five minutes playing with him. If he does not relieve himself, take your pup inside, keep an eye on him, and try again in 10-15 minutes.

If your puppy eliminates in the house, remember, that it is your fault. Maybe you went too quickly. If you see your puppy relieving himself in the wrong spot, quickly bring him outside to the designated potty spot so that he can finish there, then when he is done, offer praise for finishing in the correct spot.

If you find a mess, clean it thoroughly without your puppy watching you do it. Use a cleaner made specifically for pet stains so that there is no smell or evidence that you have failed him. This way it will not become a regular spot for your puppy and a new regular clean up chore for you. Regular outings should keep this chore to a minimum.

This Question Rings a Bell: Can I teach my puppy when to tell me when he needs to go out?

– Yes, you can! Hang a bell at dog level beside the door you use to let your pup outdoors. Put a dab of easy cheese or peanut butter on the bell. When he touches the bell and it rings, immediately open the door. Repeat this every time and take him to the potty spot. Eventually, he will ring the bell without the food on it and this will tell you when he needs to go outside.

Be careful here, your puppy may start to ring the bell when he wants to go outside to play, explore, or other non-elimination reasons. To avoid this, each time he rings the bell, only take him out to the potty spot. If he starts to play, immediately bring him in the house reinforcing that the bell means elimination only.

Now that the schedule has been established and you know what you are supposed to do, keep in mind that puppies can generally hold for a good one-hour stretch. Adult larger breeds of dogs can hold their bladders longer than smaller dog breeds and some small dogs cannot last the night before needing to go outside. Most adult dogs generally do not last longer than 8-10 hours between needing to urinate.

Housetraining completionranges from six months to twelve months. A dogs personality contributes to the training length of time. By four months most puppies often know to wait, but might still have issues. Many puppies are housetrained by six to eight months, or mostly trained by six months with occasional accidents lasting a further few months.

All dog owners are much happier after this training is completed but keep in mind that scolding your dog for doing a natural thing is not going to help you in housetraining. Rewarding him for the outdoor eliminations and avoiding indoor accidents is your gateway to success.

Of course, when you see your pup about to pee or poop indoors, a quick “No” as you sweep him up to take him outside might temporarily cease the activity so that you can whisk them outside before any waste hits the ground or possibly your hand and arm. Then as previously mentioned, praise at the beginning of the outdoor elimination then remain quiet.

It isn’t as difficult as it might seem. Being active in housetraining will definitely speed up the process, but it does take a few months for puppies to increase their bladder abilities and to learn. Too often new puppy owners are not around enough to follow the protocol efficiently and this regularly leads to housetraining taking longer. Some dogs learn suprisingly fast that outdoors is the only acceptable place to eliminate waste, but their bodies haven’t matured to catch up to their brain function, so please practice patience and understanding.

~ Paws On – Paws Off ~