Lack of housetraining is one of the few things that a business or place of public accommodation can exclude your Service Dog for, so it’s vital that Service Dogs in Training master proper bathroom habits quickly and early. Here are some tips and tricks on how to rapidly housetrain your Service Dog in Training (or any young puppy).
Set Up a Schedule
What comes in, must come out. Feed and water your SDiT on a set schedule so you can (reasonably) predict when your puppy will most need to go out. Feed your puppy of a morning, and for very young puppies, again in the afternoon, and pick up water by about 6 to 8 pm so that your puppy will be able to comfortably sleep through the night without accidents. For puppies younger than about 12 weeks of age, you will need to wake up sometime during the night to take them outside.
Keep treats to a minimum until you know your puppy’s elimination habits. Use meals for training, and train during meal times so that you don’t have to worry about your puppy needing to “go” multiple times due to scattered food intake throughout the day.
Keep Eyes On Your Puppy
WATCH YOUR PUPPY. This can’t be stressed enough. If your puppy has an accident and isn’t ill, then it is 100% your fault. Always, always, always keep eyes on your puppy. Puppies who are sniffing excessively, holding their tail funny, circling or otherwise acting “off” need to be scooped up and immediately taken outside.
If you cannot keep your eyes on your puppy, then your puppy should be crated or tethered. There are no exceptions. This includes puppies who are in the same room with you, but you’re busy doing something else. Crate or tether them. To learn how to best utilize a tether for raising and house breaking a Service Dog in Training, check out this article.
Utilize Management Tools
Management tools include a properly-sized kennel, a tether, leashes, xpens or other tools that allow you to keep a close eye on your puppy and manage his movement and space. Puppies naturally like to keep their area clean, which is crating and tethering are vital to house training.
Lots of Service Dog programs utilize bell training. A popular brand is Poochie Bells. Bell training allows your puppy to communicate with you when they need to go out, and thus they can earn a bit more freedom more rapidly.
Take Your Puppy Out On Leash
Puppies who are just let out into the yard often will begin playing and forget what they went out for, and then, once brought back in, they have an accident. Take your puppy out on leash to do business, and then remove the leash (if you’re in a safe, enclosed environment) for playtime. Pottying should always be done on leash for two reasons: it keeps your puppy focused on what they should be doing when they first go out, and it allows you to teach a “Go Potty” command, which is vital for Service Dogs.
Offer Ample Opportunities For Success
In the very beginning, take your puppy out every hour or two, no matter what. Set an alarm on your phone so that you don’t forget. Puppies need to go out before they’re crated, after they wake up or come out of their crate, while switching activities (for example, after playing and before snuggle time, a puppy needs to go out), after eating or drinking, and whenever it’s convenient for you to take them out, whether it’s on schedule or not.
Time between outside trips can be gradually increased as your puppy gets older and is able to “hold it,” and mature puppies can often go several hours between trips.
Special Notes Concerning SDiTs
When it comes to public access training opportunities for very young puppies, it’s vital to keep outings very short, with opportunities offered to potty outside just before beginning the outing, every 30-45 minutes during the outing, and at the end of the outing before going home. Always set your puppy up for success.