The Irish Blue Cross, 
15A Goldenbridge Ind Est,
Tyrconnell Road,
Dublin 8.
Tel: 01 416 3030
Fax: 01 416 3035

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Toilet Training

This should begin as soon as you get your puppy home. How quickly he learns will depend on you. He should be house-trained within a few months but he may take up to six months to be completely clean. Confining him to a pen whenever you cannot supervise him will help to prevent him from getting into bad habits and make sure he starts off on the right foot.

Shortly after each feed, after playing or exercise, immediately he wakes up after sleeping, first thing in the morning and last thing at night, take your puppy to a particular spot in the garden and keep repeating a chosen phrase e.g. "be clean" to him. Be patient and wait until he has done what is required. Running him up and down and then allowing him to sniff the ground will help to speed up the process. Put a coat on if it is cold so that you are not in a hurry to return indoors.

As soon as he begins, praise him gently and, when he has finished, praise him enthusiastically and play a game with him. If you use the same phrase each time, he will quickly learn to associate the words with the required action. Puppies like children are easily distracted, and once outside they may completely forget what they are out there for.

Having the patience to stay with your puppy is essential. If you leave him on his own, you will not know if he has done what is required or not. Being a sociable animal he will probably have gone straight to the door to get back into the house with you.

If, at any time you notice signs of him wanting to relieve himself e.g. sniffing around the floor in a tight circle, take him instantly into the garden. Keep some newspaper on the floor by the back door and move him over to it if you are too late to get him outside. Always have some newspaper on the floor at night in case he cannot wait until morning. Place a sheet of polythene beneath the paper to stop any leakage and put a dab of the puppy's urine onto the centre of the paper so that the puppy will be guided there if he wakes up to relive himself during the night.

If accidents do occur never tell him off unless he is caught in the act. If you catch him, tell him off in a deep voice. Then encourage him to go outside to your chosen place and praise him. Never hit him or punish him in any other way. Clear up the mess at once and clean the area with a solution of biological washing powder (disinfectant does not get rid of the smell sufficiently) so that he is not encouraged to go there again.

A young puppy will need to go to the toilet frequently. The more often you take him outside when you think it may be an appropriate time, the more quickly he will start to ask to go out. Be patient, he will need time to develop regular habits and you must be prepared for the occasional accident.



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