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Beagles are intelligent dogs but easily distracted by their nose. It is a common mistake made by many Beagle puppy owners, that they pop their pup in the yard for half an hour and expect them to potty train themselves. Unfortunately, the chances of a Beagle learning that outside is the place to pee, when left to his own amusement, is very slim indeed.
Once outside, the beagle pup is far more likely to fine-tune his digging skills or track that intriguing scent around the garden. Indeed, his ability to be distracted is such that he'll probably forget all about that achingly full bladder...until he's brought back indoors.
Down this road lies disaster with a puppy who comes back inside to toilet on the carpet. Instead, follow our training tips so he successfully learns to toilet outdoors.
Training a puppy to pee outside is part of potty training. It is of great benefit since when a dog pees on earth or grass, there is no clearing up to do. Most of the work lies in teaching the puppy that the appropriate place to relieve himself is outside. Once he understands this, most dogs will go and sit by the door or scratch at it to tell the owner they need to go out. Thus, specific training to ask to go out is usually not needed.
Each dog is an individual and some learn this skill relatively quickly, while others take weeks or even months. What is clear is that the more consistently you apply the rules, the more likely the dog is to learn. However, if the dog is extremely resistant to potty training, then he should be checked by a vet in order to rule out a medical or physical problem.
To teach a Beagle to pee outside, it's helpful to have:
- A yard that is close to the house, preferably with an area sheltered from the wind and rain
- A collar and leash
- Tasty treats
- A treat pouch so that rewards are always close to hand.
The Basic Potty Training Method
Understand the idea
The backbone of teaching any puppy to pee outside is basic potty training. This teaches the young dog to control his bladder and bowel, and hold until he has access to the appropriate place to toilet.
Prevent peeing in the wrong places
Peeing is habit forming and pups love to go back to a place they previously soiled. This can work for you during training (by presenting the pup with the correct place) or against you (when the pup pees indoors and marks out his own toilet. Prevention depends on thorough deoderization of previous accidents. Blot up as much of the pee as possible with disposible towel and then clean and disinfect with an appropriate product.
The other part of prevention is watching the puppy for signs of needing to toilet, and immediately taking him outside. Any sniffing or sidling up to furniture can be a prelude to peeing, so don't take any chances and take him straight out to the toilet spot.
Confine an unattended puppy
Dont give the puppy the chance to pee in your absence. Crate train him and pop him in when you need to leave the room or leave him unattended.
Praise a pee in the right place
When puppy does pee outside, say "Yes" in an excited voice and then reward him. This helps him link peeing outside to good things happening, so that he wants to save up his pee and spend it for treats outside.
The Do's and Don'ts Method
Don't: Use a cleaner containing ammonia
Many household cleaners contain bleach or ammonia. Unfortunately, both of these contain constituents of urine and can accidentally amplify the scent of a puddle rather than remove it. Be sure to chose a cleaner that is ammonia or bleach-free.
Don't: Punish accidents
Puppies live in the moment. If you punish him for peeing in the house, he won't understand what the punishment is for. This will only serve to make him wary of you and could even inhibit him from peeing in your presence, thus making training harder rather than easier.
Do: Give plenty of opportunity to pee
Young puppies have poor bladder control and when they've gotta go... they've gotta go. Increase the chance of this being in the right place by presenting him with the toilet spot outdoors every 20 - 30 minutes. Also increase the 'hit' rate by taking him out immediately when he wakes up and around 15 - 20 minutes after eating. These are all peak times that puppy may need to relieve himself.
Don't: Leave puppy outside by himself
A puppy outside alone equals puppy playtime. He's likely to get distracted and find a stick to play with, and forget to do his business. Then when you do eventually bring him indoors he's even more desperate for the toilet and uses the carpet. Instead, accompany him outside and gently focus his mind by encouraging him to toilet and discouraging playtime.
Do: Be patient
Puppies are all individuals and learn at different rates. Some learn quickly, other more slowly. It is a rare pup that is properly potty trained ahead of 12 weeks, so don't be discouraged if your baby dog seems slow on the uptake. Also, if he suffers a setback, such as being sick or having vaccinations, his potty training may slip for a few days. If, however, the dog doesn't seem to be catching on at all, then have him checked by a vet in case he has a urinary infection or an anatomical problem.
The Wider Outdoors Method
Understand the problem
Sometimes we can be so good at teaching a puppy to use a toilet spot outdoors in the yard, that they believe the yard is the only place they are allowed to toilet. This can make walks frustrating as the dog holds on for the entirety of the exercise, only to return home and toilet. Careful planning and a wider strategy can prevent this over-clean habit.
Up and out
Once your puppy is protected by vaccination and allowed to walk on the sidewalk, adopt a slightly new strategy. Immediately when he gets up, (and his bladder is full from overnight) pop on his collar and leash and take him outside into the street. Hopefully he will relieve himself out of urgency. At which point say "Yes" excitedly, and when he's finished give him a tasty treat. This helps broaden his horizons to the concept of peeing outdoors in general, rather than outdoors in one spot.
Praise peeing on walks
Beagles have a fondness for sniffing and following scents. Many of those enticing scent messages require a reply in the form of a quick pee on top of them. When your young Beagle does this, let him know how clever he is so that he decides this is a great idea in future.
Avoid returning immediately
However, there is a flaw in rewarding pees on walks. If you praise the pup and then immediately turn to home, he may reason that emptying his bladder means an end to the walk. The clever chap then decides not to relieve himself until the last possible moment, in a bid to get the longest walk possible. This is easily avoided, by making sure you continue walking for a while after he's peed, so that he doesn't make this connection.
Use a collar and leash
It helps toilet training (be it in the yard or on walks) if the pup is on a collar and lead. This is a good way of concentrating the dog on sniffing for a pee rather than investigating an interesting leaf or digging a hole.
By Pippa Elliott
Published: 02/06/2018, edited: 01/08/2021