Set up an elimination schedule

Dogs thrive on a regular routine. By feeding and exercising Buddy at about the same time every day, he'll also relieve himself at about the same time every day.

Set a time to feed the puppy that's convenient for you. Always feed at the same time. Until he's 4 months of age, he needs four meals a day; from 4 to 7 months, three daily meals are appropriate. From then on, feed twice a day, which is healthier than feeding only once and helps with housetraining.

A sample feeding schedule follows:

1 7 weeks through 4 months — four times a day 1 4 months to 7 months — three times a day i 7 months on — two times a day tBEft Feed the right amount — loose stools are a sign of overfeeding; straining or dry stools a sign of underfeeding. After ten minutes, pick up the dish and put it away. Don't have food available at other times. Keep the diet constant. Abrupt changes of food may cause digestive upsets that won't help your housetraining efforts. (For tips on how often and how much to feed, look in Chapter 18.)

For the sake of convenience, you may be tempted to put your puppy's meal in a large bowl and leave it for him to nibble as he sees fit, called self-feeding. Although convenient, for purposes of housetraining, don't do it because you won't be able to keep track of when and how much he eats. You won't be able to time the in with the out.

Fresh water must be available to your dog at all times during the day. When left in his crate for more than two hours, leave him a dish of fresh water in the crate. You can also attach a little water bucket to the inside of the crate. After 8 p.m., remove his water dish so he can last through the night. If you work all day and are unable to follow this schedule, see the section, "Using an Exercise Pen for Housetraining" later in this chapter.

A strict schedule for your dog is a great asset in housetraining. If you feed your dog and take him out for exercise at the same times every day, he'll tend to eliminate at the same times every day. After you and your dog have established a schedule, you can project when he'll need to relieve himself and help him to be in the right spot at the right time.

Dog Potty Training

Dog Potty Training

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