For those of you how are familiar with animated films, the title of this blog probably has a ringing similarity. Did you guess it? Yes, it’s How to Train a Dragon- a seemingly similar and daunting task to training and housebreaking your new puppy. Training your puppy often involves long nights of cries, distinguishing between chew toys and designer heels, and learning to go outside for potty time. I am the proud parent of a recent addition to the family, Gunner- a not so fluffy black and brown Pomeranian puppy that weighs less than my handbag. I love that little man, right down to when I catch him chewing on my laptop charger and peeing on my boyfriend’s imported rugs, and although I am not much of an enforcer when it comes to obscenely adorable faces, I had to train him and break him of these bad habits.
My boyfriend will probably be the first to tell you that I am not much of a disciplinary and that I will be the first to fabricate some excuse like “He didn’t know that rug was expensive” and “Well at least he made an effort to show us he had to go outside by getting somewhat close to the door.” These are the times he will interject and say, “Hayley, peeing in the kitchen is not remotely close to the backdoor, but nice try.” That was the moment I realized I really had to crack the whip and start training my puppy, but how? I thought it could not possibly be that difficult. I was wrong. I felt like a new parent. I began staying up at night ready articles on potty training and teaching tricks, when to feed meals, and proper reinforcement techniques.
It has been a couple months now and I cannot say that I have converted my little dragon into a complete angel, but he has improved. We still have occasional accidents in the house, but overall the number is getting less and less every week. I recently read an article that stated most puppies are not house broken until they are 6 months old, yet some breeds may take longer. My puppy is taking a bit longer but I still have plenty of hope as he progresses. I will not lie; I did have to cave and purchase doggie diapers online to avoid his random spills on the carpet. This may seem like a copout but I do stick to my regimented potty times so he knows how long to hold it for before outside time. My boyfriend and I also purchased a doggie bell that hangs on the back door. Every time we open the door to take him out, the bell rings, letting him know it is potty time. The articles I read said that puppies begin to associate the bell ringing with potty and will eventually ring the bell on his own to let us know he needs to go outside. I really hope this works because as of now, I am the only one ringing that bell (except for our cat that uses it as his new toy). All and all I think of myself as quiet a decent trainer but I did need a little help. I encourage all owners of a new puppy to do their research and find helpful tips on training.
Here is an article to get you started. Enjoy!