STEP-BY-STEP HOUSEBREAKING METHODS
Once your puppy has reached 8 weeks of age, that is a good time to start housebreaking him or her; training your pet to eliminate outdoors in a particular place. We advise having a confinement area (a crate/kennel/pen) so that the pup will be encouraged naturally to hold in its waste. We advise against paper training puppies.
Parasite infested dogs are also difficult to housebreak because they lack good bowel and bladder control; make sure your puppy is free of worms and other parasites by having your veterinarian perform a stool analysis.
* To begin, set a rigid schedule for your dog's feedings, and give it a consistent diet; no table scraps, treats or sudden changes in type of food. Puppies should be fed three times a day for the first 3 months, then twice a day thereafter. Put the food down for 30 minutes, and then remove it. They will learn to eat the entire ration as soon as it's available. Leave water out all day, remembering this is Arizona and in the summer pups will need more, but you may remove the water around 7p.m. if they are urinating at night.
* As soon as your puppy has finished the meal, go with him/her to an outdoor spot you've already selected. Give a command such as "hurry up" or "go" in a normal tone of voice using the same command words every time you take it out, so that they will learn to eliminate on command. When the pup eliminates, give it lots of praise and take it inside immediately. You may also give it a treat when they eliminate where you want.
*Take the puppy outside to the same spot as soon as it wakes in the morning; after it finishes playing, napping, chewing, drinking, and eating, and before it goes to bed.
Always go with the pup to make sure they eliminate and so that you may give, praise. Be sure to clean up after them as well.
* If you consistently use the same door, the puppy will learn to go to the door to indicate its need. Sniffing the floor, turning in circles, and squatting indicate that they are about to eliminate; immediately take them outdoors.
* To deal with an accident indoors, correct the pup by saying "NO" firmly but gently, then lead or carry him outdoors to the right spot. Clean the floor or carpet with odor neutralizer (we carry a good one) to prevent them from returning there and repeating his mistakes. No spanking with the paper or other scolding will work.
CREATE AN INDOOR CONFINEMENT AREA
When your puppy must be left alone in the house or apartment, you should confine it in a small area that allows them just enough room to stretch out, lie down, and turn around. There should be enough space for a bed with a water dish at the other end.
Because the pup will go to great lengths to avoid soiling its "nest", the confinement enhances the instinct to stay clean. In addition, puppies feel safe and secure in small, enclosed spaces. Kennels make a good confinement area. Keep the bed out of drafts, and place it where the puppy can hear other family members during the night. If it cries, don't be harsh; first comfort him without taking him from his bed. If his crying continues, give him a chance to eliminate, then return him to the same confined area.
A radio or ticking clock (old fashioned!) may help the pup relax. DO NOT PUT THE PUP IN YOUR BED EVEN IF THEY CONTINUE TO CRY. After a few nights in his or her own bed, the pup will sleep quietly all night with no problem.
* The confinement area should have an easy-to-clean floor; tile-bathrooms and laundry rooms are ideal and should be totally puppy-proofed. Keep all objects such as curtains, electrical cords and cleaning agents out of reach. Prepare a well ventilated, covered box for the puppy's sleeping quarters until he has developed good bowel and bladder control. Again, the natural instinct is to avoid dirtying the nest. The box should be just large enough to stretch in. Line it with shredded newspaper, an old blanket or indoor/outdoor carpet. When you are not directly supervising the pup, it is in the crate.
* Use a child's gate to restrict the puppy; this allows it to look outside the area and keeps it from feeling punished. Do let them sniff about and play in other areas of the home each day as long as someone is there to directly supervise him.
WHAT ARE OTHER HEALTH CARE NEEDS FOR MY PET?
VACCINATIONS: Young pets require a series of vaccinations to insure protection against infectious disease. These are generally given at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age, and then on a yearly basis. For puppies; A Distemper, Parvo combination is given. For kittens; A Distemper and Upper Respiratory is given. Others are available.
PARASITE CONTROL: Regular fecal exams to detect internal parasites. Flea and tick control as needed. Heartworm prevention is also strongly advised.
DIETARY MANAGEMENT: A high quality diet, weekly vitamins, and plenty of fresh water. Avoid table-food or "scraps".
EXERCISE: Very important for growth and social development.
NEUTERING/SPAYING: Best done a 6 months of age.
REGULAR VETERINARY CARE: Young pets age about 14 human years in their first year of life. Regular exams and consultation with a veterinarian will help insure optimal health, and a long happy life.