How to train kitties, puppies

Dear Porky,

I am planning on adopting a new kitten.  How do I go about litter training her?

Linda

Dear Linda,

Thanks so much for adopting.  We wish you many years of fun and happiness with your new companion.

Here are the steps for litter training a kitten:

1. Put litter in a litter pan and put it somewhere that the kitten can find it.  Period.  End of story.

Seriously, kittens are born with such a strong instinct to cover their eliminations that they begin to do it almost as soon as they can get up and walk around.

They may develop issues with using a litter pan because of illness or later behavioral problems but it has nothing to do with “training.”  So you can relax about that and concentrate on acquiring enough cat toys.

Dear Buddy,

I am planning on adopting a new puppy. How do I go about house breaking him?

Joe

Dear Joe,

Thanks so much for adopting.  We wish you many years of fun and happiness with your new companion.

Question. Why would you want to break your house??? Oh, you mean you want to HOUSE TRAIN your puppy!

Sorry to worry about semantics but breaking and training are really different concepts.

House training your new puppy can be relatively easy and very successful if you devote the appropriate amount of time and patience to the task.

Your first task will be to teach your puppy where you want him to eliminate (go to the bathroom) by accompanying him every time he goes outside. Select a specific area where you want him to go that is easy to get to. Your puppy will become familiar with this place as he recognizes his odor from previous eliminations. Make sure to energetically praise your puppy after he eliminates in the proper area. You may want to offer a treat to your puppy as soon as he finishes eliminating. You may want to use a word during these excursions  that he will associate with going potty.

Make sure to take your puppy outside for a bathroom break after eating, drinking, sleeping or playing, basically every time he does anything at first. Develop a schedule of mealtimes, play sessions, confinement periods (for sleeping or rest) and trips outside to the “bathroom” to adjust your puppy to a fairly predictable elimination schedule. Putting your puppy on a schedule will help him learn the routine of going potty outside much faster.  You cannot take him out too often at first, but you will begin to see behaviors on his part that signal his need to go out.  You have to pay attention.

Preventing accidents indoors is the most challenging part of house training your puppy. To avoid this, you need to constantly supervise your puppy. When you are not able to directly supervise your puppy, confine him to a small, safe area. This can be a room or a crate. Always take him outside to eliminate just before you confine him.

If you are leaving your puppy home alone every day for long periods, you may want to consider hiring a dog walker so there are no unexpected accidents. Teaching a puppy to eliminate on papers or puppy pads gives your puppy an extra confusing step. Successful house training requires frequent outdoor bathroom breaks. Figure an hour for each month of age and add an additional hour to the total to determine how long he can go without a break. For example, an 8-week-old puppy can stay in the crate for about three hours.

Every puppy that has been house trained has made a few mistakes, be prepared for them! Punishing your puppy is the least effective way to correct his behavior. When you catch your puppy in the act of eliminating indoors, you should correct him with a mild, startling distraction such as clapping. Immediately take him outside to finish eliminating. Correcting your puppy more than 30 seconds after elimination is ineffective because he will not understand why he is being corrected. Never rub your puppy’s nose in his mess – you will only teach him to be afraid of you.

If (and when) your puppy has accidents inside your home, he may continue to eliminate at the same spot if he can smell the odor from his previous mistake. He thinks its the indoor bathroom area!  Use an effective commercial product to remove urine and fecal odor from the spot so he is less likely to return to this area.

House training your puppy can be a rewarding and bonding experience for both you and your puppy, but it will require work and thoughtfulness on your part.  Are you sure you don’t want a cat?

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego. Phone is 207-1070. Email is ochscontact@hotmail.com. Website is  www.oswegohumane.org.

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