Housetraining a cat or rabbit is as simple as initially keeping the pet in a small room or a large wire kennel with a litter box. As soon as they realize there is a litter box, both cats and rabbits will readily use it. Puppies and dogs, however, are an entirely different matter.
Housetraining requires patience, plenty of commitment and, most importantly, consistency. The more consistency, the quicker they will learn.
A regular routine is crucial for dogs. They are creatures of habit and need the structure of knowing when it is time to eat, sleep, play and potty.
When housetraining a puppy, keep in mind that it can hold its bladder for about one hour for every month of age. So a 3-month-old puppy can only hold it for three hours. It will be necessary to let the puppy out during the day. Consider a pet sitter or daycare arrangement until the pup is old enough to hold it for a full work day.
It is important to take the puppy outside frequently, immediately when it wakes up, during and after playing and after eating and drinking. The spot where it goes is the spot it should be brought back to each time, so it gets the idea of why it is outside.
During training, bring the pup outside on a leash, and do not let it just be left to its own devices. Using a key phrase like “go potty” whenever it eliminates will help the puppy to connect the action with the command.
Housetraining is not just for puppies. The above information also works for adult dogs. Though they can hold it longer, it is recommended to wire-crate train or put the dog in a room like the kitchen or laundry room blocked by baby gates when no one is home.
Crate training is done with newspaper thick on the bottom of the wire kennel. Make sure to have a kennel big enough that the pet can stand up, turn around and have room to lay away from where he may potty. Dogs do not like to eliminate where they are confined but will do so if they have not learned to hold it yet.
Wire kennels should be kept inside in a climate controlled home, not in a garage or outside.
As soon as you get home, take the dog out on a leash. Praise it when it eliminates outside, and do not forget to associate this action with a phrase like “go potty.”
Being patient and consistent with a schedule are the keys to housetraining. All dogs can and will learn if given the proper training.
Use crate training for at least three or four weeks with a dog over a year of age. Puppies will take longer. When home, do not crate the dog; rather keep a watchful eye and look for cues that it needs to go outside. Remember: patience, commitment and, most importantly, consistency.
SATURDAY, FEB. 13: Animal Rescue New Orleans Adoption Event at Petco, 3520 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, noon to 4 p.m. Adoptable dogs and information on volunteering and donating. Donations gratefully accepted. For information: firstname.lastname@example.org
SATURDAY, FEB. 13: Off-site Pet Adoption sponsored by the Louisiana SPCA at Feet First, 4122 Magazine St., from noon to 3 p.m. Louisiana SPCA adoption counselors and volunteers will be on hand to help you select the right pet for your family. Call (504) 368-5191 or visit www.la-spca.org for information.
SATURDAY, FEB. 13: Critter Cinema will be held at the Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd., from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Great fun for animal-loving, pizza-eating, movie-watching kids. What better way to end the week than getting cozy with kitties and puppies, enjoying G-rated critter movies, making friends with other young animal lovers and snacking on pizza and popcorn at the Louisiana SPCA. For kids ages 5-10, bring a sleeping bag, pillow and PJs. $35 per child. Pre-registration is required, please call (504) 368-5191, ext. 207 or email email@example.com. For info, visit www.la-spca.org/critter cinema.
SUNDAY, FEB. 14: Adopt a new furry friend during the My Furrever Valentine adoption promotion Feb. 14. On Valentine’s Day, all adoptions at the Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd., from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. will be $14. In addition to your pet being spayed/neutered, up-to-date on vaccinations and microchipped, every adopter will receive a special toy or treat for their new companion. Normal adoption procedures will apply. To view our adoptable animals, stop by in-person or visit our website www.la-spca.org/adoptables.
SUNDAY, FEB. 14: Off-site Pet Adoption sponsored by the Louisiana SPCA will be held at PetSmart, 2900 S. Claiborne Ave., from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Louisiana SPCA adoption counselors and volunteers will be on hand to help you select the right pet for your family. A variety of shapes, colors and sizes of four-legged friends eager to find a new home will be available for adoption for only $14. Call (504) 368-5191 or visit www.la-spca.org for more information.
LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish you can send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact info to firstname.lastname@example.org, in JeffersonParish send to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org and in St. Bernard Parish send to email@example.com.
Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at animal firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.animalrescuenew orleans.org.