House Training, House Breaking, Potty Training

What Does the Puppy Recognize as His Den?

There are a few things the Doberman Puppy owner must understand before attempting to house training a Doberman puppy. The first thing to understand is that when a puppy owner finds a mess the only thing he can do is punish him self. Bringing the puppy back to the mess and scolding him will only do harm and can actually cause more messes by inducing stress. Remember, the puppy is only a few weeks old. He doesn’t have any idea how that mess got there! Give him a break for crying out loud – how smart were you at 12 weeks of age? ;-)

The next thing to understand is that very young puppies don’t always know when they need to go, even after they start leaking. Likewise, excitement can cause a sudden leak. The simple act of eating stimulates the puppy’s bowel. This means that almost as soon as the puppy eats – he poops. Instinctively, dogs do not want to soil the den. The question here is what the puppy’s den association recognizes as the den.

With understanding of the basics, it’s easy to understand why crate training is so helpful in house training. With only enough room in the crate for the puppy his self, he will certainly have a den association with it and instinctively not mess inside.

When removing the puppy from the crate bringing him outside immediately. After being in the crate for some time the puppy will likely have to go. Getting him outside before he does will accustom him to only messing outside. Likewise, bringing the puppy outside right after he finishes his food will also catch him outside when he needs to go.

With a young puppy, the key is getting him outside before he even knows he needs to go. To reinforce this behavior, the Doberman puppy owner should praise his puppy after he empties outside.

On these trips outside a keyword command should be given such as “outside.” As the puppy matures and is better able to recognize his need to empty, this command can be used to quickly get the puppy outside. When the puppy is out of his crate the person watching him should watch for potty signs. Sniffing the floor and walking in little circles is a sure sign the puppy need to go outside.

When potty signs are displayed, the “outside” command should be happily given and the puppy let outside where he will be thoroughly praised once he potties. If the puppy is caught in mid-potty in the house or just before in a squat position, a “no” command may be given with a quick follow-up of a happy “outside.” If the whole system fails and the puppy empties in the house, it’s still good practice to chase him outside.

If let out often enough, most puppies will naturally avoid messing in the home. A puppy messing in the house even after just being outside may be a sign of a problem. Stress and anxiety can cause this as can certain physiological problems.

Very young puppies, regardless of their den association, often will pee in their crate; usually in their sleep. This is a good reason to have more than one puppy bed so one can be in the wash and another clear, dry, and ready. Pooping can also occur in the crate of a young puppy. Puppy owners should ovoid feeding before leaving the puppy in the crate for long periods. However, water should always be available. Denying water in an effort to extend time between potty breaks is dangerous due to dehydration.

Male Doberman puppies need to be watch closely as they go into puberty, around six or eight months of age. Their instincts will start demanding that everything they hold dear should be marked, this includes their beloved family who ever now and then may get a sprinkle. Correcting this again requires watching the puppy closely. Only when he lifts his leg and is in the actual act of peeing in the house should he be corrected and ordered outside.

Female Doberman puppies also have a time when they become leaky. As they come into their first heat, also usually around six or eight months of age, they may become confused with what’s going on back there and take a pee in the house.

Once house broken, a Doberman will unlikely mess in the house unless other problems or changes exist. Just as people are each individuals, dogs too are individuals and each react to stress differently and are stressed by different things. Changes in the home or changes in the level of care often cause stress to dogs and may result in a mess.

Physiological problems, besides causing stress, can also cause messing in the house. Female Dobermans who are suffering from urinary infection will often urinate in the house. Also certain parasites, poisons, infection, and other illnesses can cause intestinal irritation which will result in diarrhea, which will inevitably occur in the home regardless of the dog’s efforts. If such problems suddenly occur or persist, the dog should be examined by a veterinarian. If no physical problems exist, the problem may be stress.

If stress is a possible cause, the Doberman may require more attention from the family and reassurance. Often the cause of stress in dogs is from changing family circumstances. Dobermans are especially aware of the emotional state of the family and need support just like the people. For example, our male Drayko has gotten diarrhea when I have been sick or in recovery from a medical procedure.

Often it is convenient to train a house-broken dog a clear way to indicate he needs a trip outside. The usual indication is whining, barking, or just a certain look. We have known some Doberman owners to teach their dogs to ring a bell.

Training this behavior is simple. Place the bell where it is easily accessible, often close to the door. Give the “outside” command. This will likely cause the Doberman to perk-up and run to the door. Before letting him out, without allowing the bell to ring on its own, encourage him to tap it with his nose. As soon as the bell is rung, by you or the dog, immediately let him out.

Soon, the Doberman will catch on and learn to ring the bell on the way out. If the Doberman does not take the next step, and Dobermans are often a step ahead, stop using the “outside” command. When the Doberman starts to indicate, in whatever way, that he needs outside, walk him to the bell. Once he rings it happily give the “outside” command and let him out.

Soon, when the Doberman needs to get outside he will ring the bell ring. Use care not to allow the bell to become a plea for attention. No treats or praise should be given for ringing the bell. All the bell should achieve is an opening of the door. This same technique can be applied to a number of other indicators.