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You've finally received the call. The breeder has decided your new furry family member, a 12-week old Doberman puppy, is ready to leave his mom. Beyond allowing your new pup to get used to everyone and his new home, the minute you bring him into your home, it's time to start potty training. Yes, that's right! At 12-weeks old, your puppy is old enough to start housebreaking if the breeder hasn't already done so. Most breeders won't, as it is much better for you to train your dog your own way.
The task is to teach your Dobie that the only place it is acceptable for him to go potty is outside of the house and that at no time is it acceptable to go inside. In most cases, all it takes is a little hard work for you to bring out the natural instinct in your Dobie to do his business outside of the den-- a skill they would learn in the wild by imitating their mother. One thing to keep in mind is that you should always stay consistent in your training methods and maintain a calm, relaxed demeanor. Your dog will pick up on this and reflect it in his own behavior.
No matter which training method you decide to use, the first thing you must do is decide where in your yard your pup will be claiming as his private bathroom. There are a couple of considerations you need to keep in mind. The spot needs to be close enough to the house to avoid accidents, yet far enough away from doors and windows to keep smells outside where they belong. Beyond this, you need a few supplies:
- Treats – You can never have enough of these
- Leash – To take your pup outside on.
- Crate –A safe place for your pup to go when you need to leave the house.
- Cleanings supplies – cleaners, deodorizers, stain removers, all for those tiny and not so tiny accidents.
Other than these items, you just the time and patience to work with your pup. In time, there won't be any more accidents and your pup will be asking you to take him outside.
The On-Leash Method
Find the spot
Choose your pup's potty location in your backyard. Make sure you always take your pup to this spot when it's time to go potty. This will help him associate the spot with going potty and getting a reward. It also helps avoid confusion.
Every half hour
Every half hour, put your pup on his leash and using a cue like "let's go potty", take him out to this spot. Stay there until he goes potty. When he does, give him a treat and plenty of praise.
If he won't go
If he won't go, take him back inside and keep a very close eye on him. At the first sign that he might need to go or 15 minutes later, whichever comes first, take him back out and repeat the process.
Stay on schedule
The best way to potty train your Dobie pup is to stay on schedule. Take him out at certain times of the day such as every 30 minutes. Then take him out after he wakes up from the night or a nap, after meals or large drinks of water, or extended playtime.
Keep working at it
The rest is all about staying on top of the training and working with your pup until he masters the art of not going potty in the house.
The Smells Good Here Method
Time to take a trip to your local pet supply store. You need a spray bottle of potty training scent. Designed not only to attract your pup to a specific spot on the lawn, but also to gently coax him into leaving his own scent there by going potty.
Mark the spot
Choose a spot on your lawn and liberally apply the spray, marking the spot you want your pup to use as his personal bathroom.
Come fly with me
Well, more like come walk with me. Put your pup on his leash, say "let's go potty" and take him straight outside to his designated spot. Let him get a good sniff and then give him a good 15 minutes to go potty. If he won’t go it probably means he really doesn't need to. Take him inside, keep an eye on him, and try again in a few minutes.
When time is of the essence
There are certain times of the day when you need to take him out no matter what. These are first thing in the morning, after any nap, after meals, if he suddenly guzzles a lot of water, after playtime, and just before bedtime.
Keep taking him out
The rest is all about working with your pup, taking him out when he lets you know he is ready and working on stretching out the time between the times he needs to go out until he can go as long as you need him to between potty breaks.
The Hourly Method
Collect your supplies
For this, you need a crate, a leash, and lots of treats.
For the first couple of weeks, you need to take your pup out every hour on the hour. Do this even if he doesn't act like he needs to go out. Be sure you take him out after he drinks a lot of water, eats a meal, or wakes up from sleeping. Make sure you give him plenty of praise and a treat when he goes.
Moving on up
After week two, move the time between taking him out to an hour and a half for the next couple of weeks, this helps extend the time he can hold it before he needs to go.
After week four, increase the time up to 2 hours and be sure to reward him with treats and praise each time he gets it right.
Keep working it
The rest is all about practice and cleaning up any messes he might make during the training process. Keep working it and your pup will soon figure out what is required of him.
By PB Getz
Published: 02/19/2018, edited: 01/08/2021